Saturday, January 28, 2006

More Memories...

Part 2: More from my diary.

Saturday (28th, 2001),
Sis and I started our day at 4:00 a.m. We all got to pray together before Mom was wheeled out for surgery. Mom was still in high spirits when they had her go from her bed to the stretcher-thing. After she was situated a nurse plopped a cardboard box on the bed beside Mom’s legs. “Here you go! Bond!”

We all looked with surprise. The box was marked ‘right kidney’. The nurse grinned. “A lot of patients name it.” Inwardly I rolled my eyes. Name it what? Suzy?

But Mom announced, “I’ll name it Fast Working.” Well, that was a pretty good name.

“Okay,” the nurse agreed. “We’ll call it FW.”

Mom’s surgery started at about 9:00 and finished at about 12:30. The doctor said that everything went well and that the kidney started working even in the operating room! Sometimes a kidney will go into shock from being in ice and will not start working for several days or weeks, so this is so neat! Poor FW was probably in there going, “Yuck! This place is filthy!”

Once when an older lady was walking by with her husband to return to her room just past Mom’s, I smiled at her and said, “Hello!” I expected her to be to tired to respond, but her face broke out in a huge grin and she told me, “I needed that smile! I was just wondering if I was going to make it [back to my room].” That was fun. I’ve gotten to talk to her a couple of times. It sounds like they are Christians too, because of how she has responded to comments I’ve made about prayer.

Sunday (29th),
Mom was awake and cheerful when Sis and I finally got there. Allen and Mary had come that morning. Mary was crying. She said that on Friday she was praying really hard specifically for a kidney for Mom. That would have been while the doctors were checking out the kidney’s tissue to see who was the best match. My cousin had been especially burdened to pray for Mom last week, too. It has been awesome to hear how so many people had been praying even harder than usual for Mom this week!

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Day Of Memories

Today is a sorrowful day, a day that marks the anniversary of the death of a healthy young adult. A family is grieving, remembering the life of a young lady. But the story does not end there. For, because of a family’s selfless decision, today is also a joyous day, the anniversary of the start of a new life.

You see, five years ago my mom was quite ill. Her kidneys had failed and her dialysis was no longer working well. The disease is hereditary and none of us could give her a kidney. He was on the national donor list, but the average wait is two years.

So we prayed. In fact, on this very day, five years ago, a friend of our said, “Lord, please give Carol a kidney today.”

God said yes.

A young lady lost her life that day. But because she and her family made the decision for her to be an organ donor, it wasn’t the end of her story. And because of that, my mom gained more life that day.

I am going to post some excerpts from my diary entry of that day. You may also enjoy reading a short story, Celebration of Life, I wrote about this which is published in a Faith Writer’s book.

Friday (January 27, 2001),
Talk about an awesome day!! Wow! I guess I’ll start at the beginning. . . :-)
AJ’s baby shower was tonight. We were expecting about forty people at our house at 7:00 p.m.

It was about 6:20 when the phone rang. Mom almost didn’t answer it, but decided that since she was right there she would go ahead and pick it up.

I was mopping the kitchen floor as Mom was talking. She looked at me and pointed excitedly at her tooth (she broke one a while ago but they couldn’t get her in to fix it yet). I though it must be the dentist saying that they could get her in sooner than her current appointment. I thought 6:20 was kind of late for a dentist’s place to be calling, but. . .

As I listened to her side of the conversation, I started wondering. It sounded like they had a kidney. But that couldn’t be. She had only been on the list for about six months. The average wait is two years.

I asked Mom, “Is this it?” She nodded. I stared at her. This couldn’t be it. “They have a kidney?” Wide-eyed, she nodded again, but I still didn’t quite think I was hearing right. I started crying anyway. “This would be really stupid if she gets off the phone and it wasn’t the kidney at and here I am crying!” I thought to myself.

Mom got off the phone but cautioned us, “If my broken tooth has any infection they won’t be able to do the surgery. So it probably won’t happen. I told them I would be there within two hours.”

We went to high gear, despite our shock. “And all the people coming over tonight??”

When we arrived at OHSU, they sent Mom up to get x-rayed [to verify that all was well in her body]. Then we went upstairs to get Mom checked into her room and she changed into one of those lovely, breezy gowns.

Mom had four doctors. It was so funny watching all of them exam Mom. One doctor opens her mouth to look at her tooth and all four bend down trying to see in [without banging heads]. One doctor would be on one side of her listening to her heart beat and another on the other side. They were all talking in medical jargon, so Mom would ask, “What does that mean?” and all four would answer her.

Everything, including the tooth, was fine! Mom was so excited-- she was just beaming. They decided to wait to do the surgery until first thing in the morning because there wasn’t an available surgeon.

After the baby shower AJ left our house and came to see Mom, only she got lost and after a long ended up at another nearby hospital. But it was empty and she got locked/lost inside it. So she was wandering around an empty hospital crying.

When she finally got to OHSU and walked in the receptionist looked at her and said, “Oh, you’re on the wrong floor! We don’t deliver babies here!”
Angela told him, “No, I’m actually here to visit my Mom who is getting the transplant.”

“Oh,” he beamed. “You must be the one who got lost coming from Vancouver.”
It still seems so unreal. The transplant is something that is maybe going to happen in the future, not something that is happening now! What an awesome day! Thank you, God! What perfect timing!

Tomorrow I will post more about the transplant itself. In the meantime, I’d like to encourage you, if you have not already made the decision to be an organ donor, please pray about it. If you have made that decision, please talk to your family about it, as they are the ones who will make the ultimate decision.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!!

My parents have a long history together. It started in 1st grade. Okay, so they don’t remember each other from then, but here it is in black and white--solid proof! Mom is the one in-between the teacher and the sign-holder and Dad is the dark-haired one behind her on the left.

Dad’s family left for the mission field the next year, but throughout his life as the family returned in the summer for furloughs, Dad and Mom had mutual friends.

Their first date was when they were twelve and thirteen or so. A Christian camp they were at had a banquet and then a fireside party. Dad was too shy to ask her to the banquet, but at the banquet he asked her to the fireside (after all, her date hadn’t specifically asked her to the fireside, had he?). The next day word had it that her original date would be waiting around a corner somewhere for Dad…

After a year of Bible seminary, Dad began his own painting business, and after Mom returned from Bible college, they began dating and Mom even worked for Dad. A few years later Dad asked her to marry him and she said yes (as if you didn’t figure that one out, lol). Dad’s parents happened to be in town on furlough at the time. They were headed back to Central America in one month, and they told Dad and Mom that they would be unable to come back for a wedding, so perhaps they should consider having the ceremony right away.

At first Mom decided there was no way she could plan a wedding in four weeks. Two weeks went by and she realized that it was more important to have Dad’s parents at the wedding then to have the perfect wedding. Their wedding was planned in two weeks! So the mother of the bride was wearing pink and the mother of the groom was wearing a clashing red? Who cares, it was a beautiful wedding! :-D

But even more beautiful are the years that have followed that. Thirty-three years of marriage, twenty-nine years of parenting, twenty-five years of home schooling, five years of grandparenting… What a privilege to have parents so dedicated to each other, to their family, and most of all, to their God.

Thank you Mom and Dad.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Radio and Dramatic Readings

One has to wonder how many dreams can come true in so short of a time. If it goes on like this, next thing I know I’ll be married and headed to the mission field in Mexico! (Though at the moment I no longer feel called to go out on the field--my writing is my ministry right now. So maybe it won’t be Mexico… But I digress.)

I have been offered the opportunity to be involved in some radio dramas through Unchained Productions. Some of you know that I have always wanted to try radio. When I was growing up I listened to Adventures in Oddyssey radio adventures and to animated movies and imagined what it would be like to be one of the voices.

Though I have never had the opportunity to try radio, dramatic reading has always been a part of my life. When I was a toddler, both my parents would read to me using special voices for all the characters. As I grew older, reading aloud stayed a part of our life. My family spent many a car trip or Sunday evening taking turns reading out loud or, more often, listening to books on tape. In fact, when my sister and now-brother-in-law were courting, the six of us read aloud the Narnia series.

What cherished memories! I can pictured Dad laughing until tears ran down his face at the escapades of Laddie. I remember the wonder Mark found in the first lion scene of Prince Caspian. How helpful it was when Sis explained the history during A Tale of Two Cities and I can see the twinkle in Mom’s eyes as she figured out what was going to happen next. I can hear the love in AJ’s voice as she recorded a whole tape of short stories for me to listen to when I was sick.

Perhaps through these radio dramas I may get to take part, I will become a part of some other family’s traditions, as they listen together.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Signing Class

Last night I had my second sign language class of this semester. Last semester there were thirty students in the class. This semester there are ten. It’s nice having fewer, though. Not only can I see better (direct vision of the teacher is, obviously, a must for a signing class), but I already know the names of everyone in class.

We have triple the load of homework this semester! When I got the schedule I saw that we have a quiz on the day I will miss class for our family reunion in Mexico. The papers said that the only way students could do make-ups for quizzes was for an emergency like a funeral. So it looked like I would have to stay home. L Well, I emailed the teacher just to check, and she said she would be willing to work with me so that I could go! That is very kind of her, especially since a signing test isn’t just a written test that can be easy to make up.

Last night in class we were working on describing objects using classifiers. It struck me as particularly funny that we were all unconsciously doing sound effects… Like when describing an air pump, “Puuuugh”. LOL

My new carpool friend from class seems very nice. She is also a Christian and was home schooled for part of her schooling. I actually got to listen to Christian music on the way to class (last week I was stuck with rock love songs…). She had on a CD by a group of four young men who sing a capella. They are great! They even do sound effects so it nearly sounds like they have a drum and keyboard.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Imagination in Chores

It seems that when I was quite young, I had a bit of trouble learning the all-important life skill of doing chores when I would rather have been playing (come to think of it, that’s still something that gives me a bit of trouble). So Dad came up with the plan of teaching me how to make work into a game. While I don’t remember that exactly, I do remember as I grew older.

Many were the hours I spent traveling around the world, though in body I was scrubbing floors or washing windows. How much more fun it was to smuggle soap in to Jewish prisoners, than to rub at the dirty dishes! When picking up around the house, I became a mail carrier in a small town, hailing my friends as I dropped off packages. Chopping up vegetables turned into being a cook in a wealthy household, being sure to save large scraps for the poor. While raking the grass I was, of course, a girl in Old Testament times, gleaning the leftover harvest.

The most handy thing about all this came during those times I was in the house alone and something went bump. All I had to do was take up the sword of my imagination and ahah! The would-be kidnapper/assassin/robber was outsmarted by my guile and taken away in handcuffs. Or better yet, he would have a dramatic conversion and turn himself in.

There were drawbacks to my “games”, however… While folding clothes may be an ordinary boring thing to do, it really doesn’t take long. Unless, of course, the jumpsuit tugs you off for a waltz in the corner and then the lacy dress pulls you over to a tea party on the window seat. Sorting socks can be a rather lengthy process, also, when each sock is a character in the drama, desperately trying to find its mate… But most disconcerting of all, I must say, is listening to the weeds scream and threat and whine as you are pulling them, even if the flowers are giving a happy sigh of relief.

But while some in the family might wish, at times, that I hadn’t been granted quite such a thorough imagination, I can’t imagine how boring life must be without it… ;-) So, next time you’re washing dishes and get frustrated over that one spot that won’t come off of the broiler pan, take a minute to build islands and bridges with the soapsuds. But make sure it is only a few minutes. Otherwise your water will get cold and the suds will disappear. Trust me, I know.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

If I had $1,000

This weekend Dad was going through some papers and found some old notes of my sisters and I. Apparently at some point we each made a list of what we would buy if we had one thousand dollars. Since we were quite young they are pretty funny.

AJ generously put down a large gift for each of us before choosing one for herself and leaving some money for savings. Sis's was the funniest, with a huge list of things all crossed out, leaving just one thing and a note to put the rest in the bank.

As for mine, well, here it is. The nice handwriting is AJ's. ;-)

Translation: I would buy three horses, some groceries, an Indian doll, an aquarium, some hay, a piece of property with a barn....And put the rest in the bank.

The Indian doll mentioned is one thing on that list I did eventually buy. My great-aunt hand-crafted beautiful dolls the size and weight of a sixteen month old baby. Some of them, like the one I have, were Native American.

I must say, though, my favorite part of this list is where AJ estimates the cost... ;-) BTW, AJ, I want to know where I can get three horses and property with a barn for less than $5,000!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year 2006!!

I stand tall at the brink of a brand new year
Full of excitement and just a little fear
I turn from the past with a bit of a sigh
Take God’s hand and look the future in the eye

I step in faith, though I don’t know what it holds
I’m just betting this year will break all the molds
We will take on the world and change it for good
I’ll burn my light bright, not hide under a hood

I quiver with excitement and look ahead
This year will be better than anything said
Right from the start to the end of December
This will be a year that we will remember

I stand tall at the brink of a brand new year
Maybe I’ll travel, or perhaps I’ll stay near
It’s farewell to the old, we must say goodbye
Take God’s hand and look the future in the eye

Well, the new year came in with a storm. Literally. A wind and rain storm and now we have no electricity... So much for my plan of spending most of the day writing and such on my computer. I have about two precious hours of my laptop bettery and then... LOL It amazes me how many time I have tried to flip on a light in just the few hours the electricity is off, hehe.

Well, besides what I mentioned in my last post, I just have two New Years' resolutions. But the first one encompasses many things. :-)

1. Be responsible about getting a good schedual and sticking to it.

2. Get a book written and into a publisher.

I pray that the Lord may bless each of you with a year walking close to His side. Happy 2006!