I'm sharing this story because this is a subject very near and dear to my heart....
And because, April is National Donate Life Month.
My second daughter (now 22) was barely 2 years old when My husband's Doctor's office called asking for him.
When I told her he was at work she said it was imperative she speak to him right away, so I gave her his work number. She called back asking if I was sure he was at work because he hadn't picked up the call. I told her he gets very busy as he's the only one in that department and to call back. The warning bells were going off this was no normal call, so when hubby came home, asked if doctor's office was able to reach him and what it was about. He said it was to remind him of an appointment. 🙄(No it wasn't)
Two days later, he dropped the bomb that I had to take him to the hospital, he was being admitted to the hospital to have a chest catheter put in to start dialysis immediately as he was in kidney renal failure. 😥
The chest catheter was temporary, until they could put in a fistula as my husband now needed dialysis three times a week each session 4 hours.
Our whole world seemed to change overnight. It became a very scary stressful time in our lives....
My husband was put on a transplant list. But there are many people waiting for transplants. We attended transplant classes that walk you through everything from being on the list, donor matches, what to expect if you receive a transplant, how it affects the donor and the recipient.
In the meantime, on top of the 3 times weekly dialysis, there were also weekly trips to the hospital for labs and many doctor's appointments.
Although dialysis was keeping my husband alive, the longer he was on it, the weaker he was becoming. It was so hard to see the strong healthy man my husband was become so tired and weak and sick and in pain. But he handled it with true strength. As sick as he was he still tried to do things with our children and retain a somewhat normal life. He actually switched his dialysis time to 4:30 in the morning so he could be home by 9/9:30 and sleep it off so he could feel somewhat better by the time the girls came home from school .. This went on for 5 years Until... .
It was 2-3 in the morning when the phone rang.( I almost didn't answer because some drunk guy used to mistake our number with what I assume was this guy's booty call chick lol-he even once tried saying "well you sound cute"🤦🏻♀️)
Half asleep I answered and they said it was the transplant clinic and asked for my husband. I woke him, gave him the phone and as my half asleep brain was wondering why they'd be calling about an appointment or anything at that time in the morning, The half awake part thought wait a minute, and then I hear my husband repeating directions where to go and what entrance to come to. And I immediately knew.... He was getting a Kidney!!! Nothing can describe that moment of joy, relief, excitement. But then, the fear also set in as three weeks prior a News Anchor in my city who had received a kidney transplant had died just a year after her transplant from rejection....
It was a mad dash to get the kids up, get them dressed, call my sister-in-law, drop the kids off and get my hubby to the hospital. I was rushing so much I actually dressed in the dark and might of looked similar to this:
We arrived at the hospital at 4 am. Even though we got the call and we were actually there, that the transplant would happen wasn't set in stone yet. They had to make sure it was an actual match and run other tests. After hours of wait, nervous energy, hope and fear... The decision was made....The transplant WOULD take place...
Even being told it would take place, the fear didn't totally subside because due to my husband's heart issues, they said he was at higher risk to complications..... And yes, I started crying... The doctor was so sweet and told me if they didn't think it would be okay, they wouldn't be doing it, but they had to state there was higher risk. Which did alleviate some of my fear..... Although we had been there since 4 am. they didn't actually take him down for surgery until 5-6 pm.
And then it was hours of waiting, pacing, drinking horrible hospital coffee. Thank God my mother was there with/for me through this ordeal as noone from my husband's family was there for him or me.. The hospital actually made a mistake, they were supposed to call the waiting room and tell me he was out of surgery, but she said he had just been taken for surgery... So after not smoking all day, I told my mom if they just started the surgery, I'm going to go out and have a smoke. I barely got outside lit the cigarette, was talking to a woman who's son was in critical condition, when we both froze with fear as there was a surgeon standing at the door looking for someone... And then I noticed it was my mom standing next to him.... My heart dropped and I ran across the parking lot, fearing the worst because if they just started the surgery and the surgeon is looking for me, not good.... But, It was good news because the surgery had just finished, not started... The doctor said the most beautiful words I think I've ever heard "The transplant was successful, everything appears to be working, the new kidney is already producing urine" Again no words can convey the elation, relief that went through me in that moment... It was another hour or so, before me and my mom were able to see my hubby. And even though my husband was not usually one to show emotion or outward affection, he told my mom how much it meant to him she was there and hugged her. I know to this day how much that touched my mom's heart....
Sadly, my husband died 7 years later.
But, thanks to one woman who signed the back of her driver's licence, My husband was given those years he might not of had without receiving that kidney. My children were given more years with their dad. He was given a few years where he felt more like his old normal healthy self before complications from FSGS which started affecting the new kidney, and eventually made the kidney reject and have my husband back on dialysis when he died....
I shared this story to both thank all the people who donate to save lives and so others are aware, when you donate, you're not just saving one life, you're giving that person back to their children, their spouse, their parents, their family. And how important it is to either sign as a donor on your license.
Or make your family or medical power of attorney aware of your wish to be a donor....
As always, Thank you for reading 💜