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.