The Transplant Call

It happens when you least expect it. The call. The magical call in the middle of the night, where a voice says, "We have a match."

Oh, not to me. I'm still waiting. But it's magical, nonetheless. Two of my people have received the call in the last couple of weeks. By "my people" I mean, my dialysis roommates. We are regulars, meeting at the same hour in the still-dark morning, greeting each other like we're at a party. One of them calls it "the pool." As in, I'm laying around at "the pool." (I am at the mini-spa thinking that someday one of the techs will finally do my nails.)

I've come to really enjoy my companions. We have a LOT in common. Dialysis is a firm constant in our lives, and with it comes all the variables. Each day brings new adventures that our friends and family don't really hear about because it is utterly boring. Did we gain too much weight; carry too much fluid; will our blood pressure crash; will the needles "take" (and if they don't, THAT is another problem); is the flow too low; too high; will we be able to hold off the sites afterwards for just ten minutes; or will we not be able to clot and have to hold off even more (like I do frequently); aud nauseum. (Boring boring boring)

We are very fond of each other and we relate on so many levels. Yet, if one of us ends up in the hospital, we are the last to know - if ever. HIPAA laws prohibit the staff from telling us anything about the others. Yet, we talk to each other all the time and know intimate details about our families, our friends, our bodies. So, when "the call" comes to one of us, that person simply disappears. One day you are breezing in to your "chair" and saying hi to the guy sitting by his imaginary pool, and the next time, he's not there. You ask where he is - and the answer is "I have no idea."

I got that answer a couple weeks ago - and no amount of squinty-eyed looks would break the tech. Four techs in a room full of 20 people (well, now 19), and she doesn't have a clue. Give me a break.

It was only later, when I was leaving with one of my other cohorts, when he told me that the pool lounger got "the call."

Now - why does THAT information have to be so top secret?

I suppose the center is trying to "spare our feelings." Hearing the news that someone received a new kidney has mixed responses. You are happy for them. And immediately sad for yourself. And then you feel guilty about feeling sorry for yourself. And then you close your eyes so nobody can see the sudden tear that slips out. It's a conundrum.

And then some new person arrives and sits in Pool Man's chair. Scared out of their mind. Until you say hi, welcome to my mini-spa.



Looking Through the Mirror

I am looking to my children, watching as they experience the thrill and excitement and pure happiness at expecting two babies in six months. I remember the days, when I carried this son, my second pregnancy. The thrill when I felt the first kick. The moments when I was washed over with speechless awe that a LIFE was growing inside me. I am almost envious. There are things that you permanently give up when you age - being pregnant is one. Carrying inside you a miracle; total and absolute proof of God. I always felt sorry for men when I was pregnant. They have no clue what that is like, only on our word.

I am watching my 30-year-old niece, as she spends her second trip to the island of St. John, temporarily trying out living and working in the island paradise until June. How exciting that is! Isn't it wonderful to have such freedom and spirit as a young woman without hindering yourself with a husband and children. I'm a little envious of her, too.

No - I wouldn't give up my two sweet babies, now men in their 30s. I wouldn't ever give up the miracles I carried.

I "borrowed" my niece just before her 13th birthday and took her to the Oregon coast for a week. My sons were grown and out of the house. She was the daughter I never had. She turned 13 while in my care - my brother kind of sweated that one - afraid I'd return with a yucky snotty Teenager. No matter how I influenced her, she grew into a remarkable young woman, very independent, with goals and dreams and wishes.

I want to live vicariously in both my daughter-in-law and my niece - two young women I love with all my heart. I also want to hold them high, applaud the Heavens for creating such beautiful creatures. Thank you, God, for life, children, adventures, living.

I am looking in the mirror at laugh lines, crinkles, and creases. Signs that I have lived somewhat a happy life. I'd like to do it again. I can't call it a "do over" because I just want to do it again! Maybe I'd put a summer island in there somewhere but I'd also include the wonderful days of new motherhood. It never, never leaves you. They are always my babies.


Being Outrageous!

We need more fun in our lives. I keep wanting to do something silly and outrageous. Like, skip down the sidewalk. Can you imagine? Picture driving down the street and then glancing over at a gray-haired woman, skipping and laughing beside you. I wonder if I can do it.

Or, hanging your head out the window while you are driving - grinning like a happy puppy basking in the breeze.

Then there is my friend's granddaughter who "flies" to grandma's house from the back seat of the car.

A few weeks ago, I went for a walk with the Spokesman Review's (Spokesman-Review)Paul Turner and we greeted people, all strangers. Their reactions varied from suspicious caution to total I-don't-see-any-strange-weird-people avoidance of eye-contact to hesitant greetings back. It was fun. We got a lot of smiles back but generally everyone was self-aware, looking at their cell phones, looking at the space in front of their shoes, concentrating on their navels.

But wouldn't it be fun to wave at people, while you are at the light, acting like the person on the other side is your long lost best friend from First Grade, and then greeting them with "It's Great to See You!" and smile big, and keep on walking. I might get more reaction.

I've got to go - I'm going to take my car through the car wash and then scream like a wild woman when the spidery webs wash over my windshield. YaHOOOOOOOOO.