Friday, May 19, 2006

What Do I Owe For That Kidney?

On our mother's birthday, last December first, my brother and I began an Odyssey

that involved us being poked, prodded, probed, tested, retested and virtually drained of blood and ultimately culminated with a phone call I received this morning. At 8:15 am, I answered my cell phone and was informed by the individual assigned to coordinate our journey through this process that

the results were in and contingent upon my successful completion of a 24 hour period of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, my brother and I have been approved for his kidney transplant, and the procedure has been scheduled to take place on TUESDAY, JULY 25, 2006!!!!!!!!

In my time on this planet, I have had the opportunity to be a part of some pretty phenomenal events: the births of my son, two nephews, and a cousin....the coming together of my entire extended family to plan and execute a blow-out birthday bash for my beloved Grandmother last year....foreign exchange programs which allowed for me to spend extended periods living in Italy and Kenya.....and more backyard Bar-B-Ques, weekends at Grandma's with all my cousins, and more sista-girl sessions with the gurls of my heart than any single individual can possibly expect to have. By comparison, not one of these experiences even come close to the sheer, unadulterated joy and raw emotion I felt as I was given the honor of calling my brother [who I had called fully six months earlier with the news that we were sufficiently similar to be evaluated for potential transplantation of my kidney into his body] with the news that we were now actually qualified and scheduled for the surgery. My brother undergoes dialysis every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1pm until 6pm. As the old Dodge Intrepid commercials used to state, "THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!"

When I got my brother on the phone and gave him the news, I was surprised to find that he was not giddy with excitement like I was when I received the news. Instead, he seemed abnormally quiet, reserved, even reticent. I asked him what was wrong and he admitted that he was scared. Now, contrary to popular belief, I am NOT fearless. In fact, I'm about as scary as they come.....but I'm good at making scared look good! So I asked my brother what he was scared of after trying to convince him that once the kidney transplant was complete his life would once again be his own and that kidney transplants have a great long-term expectancy of 10, 15, even 20 years. He told me he was scared to let me do this and then shocked me by asking "How can I ever pay you back for your kidney?" I was completely taken aback. However, you guys know you can always count on me to have an answer and this is what I said to my brother and it is exactly what I would have wanted to say if I could have planned for this moment:

I am NOT scared at all. Not even a little bit. We are both going to come through this fine and we'll both be able to live a full life. As far as paying me back, this is my thought. If you call and ask me to loan you $150 to pay a bill, then you should feel like you feel right now, you should be stressed about how you're going to pay me back because you can be damned skippy that I will be looking for my money! But a kidney? Dude, you can't pay someone for a kidney because you can't owe someone for a's not a loan! Think of it this way.....remember two years ago when I gave you that blackjack table for Christmas? I was so excited waiting for you to open it because from the moment I saw it, I knew you would love it, it was the perfect gift for you. This kidney thing is like is like finding the perfect gift for you, and when you are given a great gift, you accept it, say thank you, and enjoy it. Now say thank you and let's get this party started!
My brother stopped by my house this evening and I could see how happy he was in his eyes. His step was lighter, and I think, hope, believe that he can finally begin to get excited about his.....scratch that......OUR good fortune!

I love my life, I love my brother, I love my family
Blog family, I Love Y'all too....stay tuned... with 4-6 weeks off from work this summer following the transplant, I'll have plenty of time for posting and reading what you post; so start gearing up to keep me entertained!


DJ Diva said...

Oh Sharon, I'm tearing...That is wonderful...I am so happy for you and your brother...What a gift!!! You have got to be the greatest sis in the world!

Your blog family loves you and we will be praying hard for yours and your brother's recovery. I know God will make it a simple and quick procedure and you will both come out fine. I claim it in the name of Jesus.

Nikki said...

I will pray that everything goes well for you and your brother. The gift of life is amazing.

chele said...

Wow Girl! This is just wonderful. My sister is a nurse in a kidney transplant center so I know what a big deal this is for your brother. He is so blessed to have you. I'll be praying for the both of you.

funnyface said...

I am an avid reader of your blog, this is my first try at writing a comment, so be patient with me. Sharon you are the most unselfish person I know. I know that your family are proud of you and grateful that God has placed you with them. Here is a little something I know your mother must be feeling right now about what you are doing for your brother:
Sharon, there were times when you were growing, I would stop and try to imagine what you would be like as an adult. It seemed, then, like you would stay a child forever. Today I realize that you have surpassed my highest expectations. I am so proud of you and you just remember, God did'nt bring you and your brother this far just to leave you alone. I am so proud of you.

Sharon said...

@ Diva, Nikki, and Chele
Y'all have been hanging with me in the blogosphere since I started this thing back in November and from your blogs, I have received inspiration, humor, and even felt some "wrap your arms around real tight and squeeeeeezzzzzeeeee kinda love". So, y'all know first hand how truly blessed I know my family is to receive this opportunity. Just in case y'all didn't know this, I wanted to say it here, blessings are like lies in a REALLY GOOD WAY; when one shows up, it tends to snowball and become bigger than ever intended. And you three (and so many more of you all who show up around these parts regularly)are definitely part of the extra, and unexpected blessings that have come to me as my "blessings snowball" continues to roll so swiftly down this blog hill! Thanks for being out there to all of y'all.

@ Funnyface
In the words of Shirley Temple...."Oh my goodness!" What a truly lovely thing to say. My mother actually reads this blog pretty consistently and from what I have recently been told, it seems she has been pulling innocent strangers off the street and making them read it too [she's all "look at what my baby wrote...." LOL]. I am blessed in my mother as she has always been the kind to let you know when you make her proud. [What is also a funny coincidence maybe unless you actually ARE my mother, is that your blog name "Funnyface" is my personal nickname for my mother and I usually address her that way whenever I call her on the phone :)] Nevertheless, to have you say what you did, knocks my socks off and I'll always remember it and keep it in a mental file to pull out and replay on one of my "I'm not so sure I'm being all that I can be today days". Thank you for your kindness, and please visit frequently and be as LOUD or as quiet as you like....when I say I Love my blog family, you "background blog stalking quiet types" fall right on up in there too!

safa said...

Oh Sharon, I will be praying for you and your brother through the surgery. My sister went through dialysis and a transplant years ago and I wish you guys much success.

The Sarccastik Variable Why said...

congrats...hope things go well for you...i'll send a special prayer to my boy for u...

**RPM** said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post. I am thrilled or your brother, and warmed by your energy. Take care of yourself and all the love and prayers in the world to you and yours.

safa said...

I've already commented on this post but just wanted to check in to tell you I am awaiting hearing from you on your blog soon:)

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