Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Are you an organ donor?

I've been debating whether or not to discuss organ donation on this blog.  Most Libras avoid conflict because we are the fun-loving peacekeepers in a group.  I rarely discuss politics (even when my father-in-law pushes my buttons).  I rarely discuss money, religion, or any other topic that leads to high levels of debate.  If anything, I go out of my way to change the subject or make people laugh.   But not today.

I just hung up the phone with my dad and, as I write this post, I have tears streaming down my face.
 His kidney is working.

We are no longer in the "waiting for it to wake up, no sign of rejection" phase. We are in the "gotta go pee, everyone cheer" phase.  After three years of dialysis, a heart attack, multiple surgeries and finally a kidney transplant, our family can exhale and begin to heal.  Life is fragile and none of us know what the future will bring.  But the very thought that my father has a chance to see his grandchildren graduate from high school or get married, is enough for now. 

When Dad was diagnosed with full renal kidney failure in Sept of 2009, my brother, my sister and I didn't really know what it meant.  I don't think anyone in the family really did. 
  Dad was on the kidney transplant list for almost two and a half years.  On June 17, 2012, my dad became an organ donor recipient.  The past month has been a whirlwind of emotions for everyone.  My brother is 3000 miles away in Florida, with a new baby, relying on his crazy sisters for information and daily Facetime reports with my parents.  He is the one I call when I need help talking Mom off a ledge and I think Dad is probably the most honest with Patrick.  My sister and I have gotten pretty good about sharing shifts in the hospital, making sure Dad has company so Mom can get a break, or sharing a cocktail together to de-stress the moment.  Of the three of us, I believe she struggles the most with the fact that Dad is so sick.  She keeps a lot of her emotions in and then she explodes.  She just wants him fixed and I can't blame her.  She and my mom are so similar in how they react to things that it is downright scary!  Mom is our foundation and without her, Dad wouldn't be alive now.  She just keeps going and going and has never given up hope that Dad would receive a kidney.   And me?  Well, I'm the oldest with a Type A control-freak nature.  So, I wait to react until we have answers from the doctors and then I decide how to deal with it.  Until there are answers, there is nothing I can do so I try to not worry or fret too much.  I think Mom worries that I keep it all in but I really don't. 

 When it comes down to it, the five of us have tackled this as best as we were able and we are all anxious for this new chapter in our family to begin.

As of this afternoon, the doctor's have confirmed the kidney is working and Dad has a new lease on life. 
Even in our celebration, I have no doubt my siblings and my parents are thinking of the family who lost their loved one.  I cannot begin to feel the pain of watching a loved one remain on life support so organs can be harvested to give life to a waiting stranger.  The stranger who is a dad.  A husband.  A brother.  A son.  The irony is not lost on me that, as we celebrate the kidney waking up, the family of the 44 year old woman continues in their grief.  She will never know the impact she left by deciding to become an organ donor.

But we do.

114,648 people are waiting for an organ.
18 people will die each day waiting for an organ.
1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives.

Please become an organ donor today. 
Please give someone, like my dad, the gift of hope.


  1. I am proudly an organ donor and reading this post about your dad makes me so happy about my decision. Eric is also a donor, and I know that if either of us ever lost each other (God forbid) we would want someone else to have the opportunity at a new life. I know that other family is grieving, but perhaps the only solace they have is in knowing that the woman they loved saved another person. I am SO HAPPY your Dad is doing well and I hope to read only happy, healthy posts about him from now own. Time to celebrate!!!

  2. Hi Michelle. I'm a Libra...and more importantly, an organ donor. I'm so very happy that your dad can pee! Congratulations!! :)


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