Sunday, 11 July 2010
Here's to the Kidney!!
Yesterday was exactly a year since Laurie, the transplant coordinator at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, called and woke me up in the middle of the night - to which I stupidly replied, "Oh, hi Laurie- what's up?".
"I've got good news!", she said and my mind thumbed through the possibilities - maybe she found my favorite camera that I lost 6 or 7 years ago on a trip to Texas for our nieces' first communion or maybe she was going to tell me that at Grace's next clinic visit the Usborne book dealer was setting up in the huge atrium at Childrens again and I would be purchasing large amounts of their books. This is truthfully how my mind works when I'm woken up.
Surprised at my silence she almost shouted - "There's a kidney for Grace!".
Grace had been waiting so long that that seemed even more improbable than the scenarios that I had come up with, but it was true and that call set off Grace's marvelous kidney transplant.
After an almost week stay in the hospital she came home loaded with medicines and instructions and warnings and hand sanitizer. She would be on strong anti rejection meds for the rest of her life so that her body's defense system when doing it's hourly walk through, would see that strange kidney sitting there and instead of kicking it to the curb, would give it a wink and look in the other direction. The problem with that is that it would then give the wink to other not so nice things like bacteria and viruses and other creepy, bad for you stuff. We had been through something similar with Grace as a baby when she was on chemo for a brain tumor.
So, we all washed our hands every few minutes and put up signs on the door about how welcome people with colds were and we didn't eat at buffets. But just like every other dangerous thing, the longer you survive around it the more relaxed you become. Soon the giant hand sanitizer bottle that was being pumped every half hour was sitting untouched, the sign fell down and Grace celebrated with a big meal at her favorite restaurant, Golden Corral.
And nothing happened.
Then we noticed something weird. We had a case of Mersa go through the boys - highly contagious - and Grace didn't get it. A round of stomach bug went around the house - we were all sick as dogs, while Grace felt perfectly fine. When the Swine Flu epidemic rampaged in our town and we went to the local hospital for some blood draws, she walked through the coughing, sneezing crowd as if in a bubble. She basically can be counted on to catch nothing.
Life is great for Grace. No more dialysis - her strength has returned and she feels free as a bird. We are so happy for her.
And on this one year anniversary our prayers are with the family of the young man who, in his tragic death, provided this gift of an organ donation to not only Grace but to six other people as well.