Find Time to Play – Junior Achievement Award, 7th Annual Essay Contest

By Brandon Albert

Find Time to Play

Find Time to Play - Brandon AlbertWhen I was 5 years old the doctors discovered that both of my kidneys were not working and I had to have surgery to remove them both. I was given one of my mother’s kidneys during the same surgery. I am now 11 years old and I want to tell you my story.

My name is Brandon Albert. After my surgery I moved to the Ronald McDonald house where I lived for 8 months. During those 8 months I did HD dialysis at the hospital. My mom does not drive so that is why we lived at the Ronald McDonald house. My mom lives with her parents in Monterey which is 2 hours away. Then my mom got trained for PD dialysis so I could go home. I did not like PD dialysis because I had to be hooked up for 12 hours every night.

During this time my mother was having problems with drug use but I didn’t know about it. She wasn’t able to take care of me the way she should have. So sometimes I didn’t get dialysis and a lot of the time I missed taking my anti-rejection drugs. During one of my clinic days the Doctors found that my new kidney had died.

Again I was back at Stanford hospital having surgery to remove the kidney. This is when my life changed. A social worker came into my hospital room to tell me that I couldn’t go home with my mom. I was 8 years old. I was so scared and did a lot of crying. I was told that a family was going to come and see me from Carmel which is close to Monterey but I was still scared. On the day that the family came to get me I puked in the car on the way to their house.

After a few days things were not as bad as I thought. My roommate was a year younger than me and Bubba also came to our home from a hospital. He had been hit by a car. This family did a lot of things but I was afraid to do them because of the germs. At my mom’s house I had slept in the same bed as her and was very protected from everything.

This is what I have to say about living a Joyful life.

I had never done any of the following things but now they are a part of my everyday life:
Going to the river to catch frogs and pollywogs; roller skating at a roller rink; riding bikes and skateboarding; climbing trees; going to the Pumpkins festival at Half Moon Bay; going to Fright night at Six Flags; going to Disneyland; going to the beach boardwalk in Santa Cruz; playing laser tag at home at night in the dark; getting ready for Halloween trick or treating; going to the beach bar-b-ques; roasting marshmallows at night in the backyard; having lots of parties at our house.

I even went to the dentist for the first time and it wasn’t so bad. I am now in a regular class at school doing chorus and dance. Before I was in a special day class with no music or PE. I am now working hard to learn at school. I have surprised my family by dancing at Christmas parties and weddings. Everyone says I am a good dancer. I have found that I love to make jewelry for everyone. This year I got to go to the Painted Turtle camp. Swimming was the best.

I am stilling waiting for a new kidney and even though we have to drive 4 hours a day 3 times a week for dialysis, I LOVE MY LIFE!

So here is my advice: live your life like the kids who don’t have kidney disease. Sure, you have a special diet and have to take meds but you can be active and play just like everyone else. So it’s now Friday night and I am going out to play Nerf guns with all the neighborhood kids,

Bye, Brandon.