“A cheerful heart does good like medicine,” from my favorite book, encouraged me to get going and meet my daughter and grandchildren at the pool that day last summer. Though hereditary Polycystic Kidney Disease had slowed me down, I had a lot of living to do yet. Besides, snuggle-bug hugs and wet kisses from my grandbabies always cheer me up. No retiring to a rocking chair for this Nana, nor feeling sorry for myself. Besides, I love the water.
Tugging my hand, three-year-old Evan begged, “Slide with me Nana.” Like a trained puppy I obediently followed, wading through the mass of animated children visiting the city pool that steamy June afternoon.
Winded, as usual, after climbing steps, I paused at the top to catch my breath. “It’s our turn Nana,” Evan’s sky-blue eyes sparkled with excitement. I positioned Evan on my lap, wrapped my arms tight around his waist. “Ready?” I asked.
“Whee! I squealed, pushing off into the dark, winding tunnel. Is that me giggling? Around the bend we flew, cool water surrounding us, then splash! We landed in a heap in the refreshing pool. “That was fun Nana.”
“Let’s go again,” I said.
“Mom. Are you sure?”
My daughter’s concern more about me having been placed on a transplant list two months earlier; dialysis imminent with 8% kidney function – than about the sinus infection Id battled for two weeks, on the second round of antibiotics.
“I’m fine,” I beamed. I truly felt wonderful. Cheerful.
“One more time then I’ll watch the baby for you,” I promised.
Several days later my heart sank when my vascular surgeon said a third surgery was needed to complete my fistula. My husband and I had plans to attend a friend’s out-of-town wedding on July the Fourth. Think on things that are a good report,” popped into my thoughts, a line from the book.
“Surely it can wait till after July Fourth weekend, I said with amazing boldness. “Besides, I’m still believing for a miracle, and just maybe I’ll never have to go on dialysis.” He smirked; I smiled, clinging to a favorite line from the book, Faith is the substance of things hope for; the evidence of things not seen.
I bought my dress; Ron made hotel reservations.
The week before the wedding I was relaxing on my recliner on a quiet Saturday afternoon when the phone rang. A glance at the caller I.D. indicated, Texas Call. “Telemarketer,” I grumbled. I’m not answering. Suddenly, an inner voice boomed, Answer this call.
“Hi, this is Heather from Methodist Transplant with good news. We have a perfect kidney match for you.” My body started shaking. Am I still breathing? I’ve been on the list for only two months. “What did you say?” I asked, pushing myself off the recliner to find my husband. After recovering from the initial shock, we called our daughter, prayed then headed for the hospital, a peace that passes all understanding surrounding us.
The staff treated me like royalty. Testing proved my health good and miraculously, no trace of antibiotics were left in my system.
When I was told that the surgeon I’d hoped for, my brother’s transplant surgeon twelve years earlier, was out of town for the weekend, Ron and I began to pray. The book says, “You have not because you ask not.” We asked. Within the hour, the surgeon walked into my room. “I decided to come home early,” he grinned.
The same peace I felt from the moment I received Heather’s call surrounded me throughout the transplant process. My quick recovery amazed everyone, ready to go home four days after surgery. Heather came to see me off. Beaming, she said, “It’s not often I get say we have a perfect match. Your donor could have been your twin.” I wiped a tear. We hugged.
Every day I thank God for my miracle, and for the stranger with a heart big enough to think of others by signing a donor card. Something I’ve done since my transplant.
In honor of my donor and their family, I strive to stay healthy through following my doctor’s instructions, exercising, eating healthy and taking my meds.
It’s summer again and this year two-year-old Emma and four-year-old Evan take turns on the water slide with their new and improved Nana, feeling fantastic and having the time of my life. My favorite book – the Bible.
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