My father told me something the other day: he said I might need to stop writing this blog. He was referring to a post from a few days ago where I wrote about my fear of losing my remaining sight. He told me how my words make him cry as he reads Herheadache . Believe it or not, it’s not the first time I’ve been told something like that.
My cousin told me, at the brunch after my grandfather’s funeral, that I needed to stop writing eulogies and speaking at our grandparent’s funerals, as I had done the same for my grandmother five years earlier. I was surprised at how much I had touched him that day. I needed to give back and speak up for the family who was always there for me and whom I would miss so much.
My father is a sensitive gentle soul and I am not surprised, or else I shouldn’t have been. I have heard him say that before. It doesn’t take much to set him off. Sorry Dad, but I am doing it again.
March is Kidney Health Day and today, March 13th, is World Kidney Day. I hope to utilize this blog to raise awareness about kidney disease and organ donation. I am coming up on 17 years with my father’s kidney. I wanted to take this new platform of mine to remember just where I was 17 years ago at this time.
On this day back in 1997 I was trapped by my need for dialysis three times a week. three times a week I would travel to London, to the old vic campus, where I would be hooked up to a machine which would remove, clean, and return my blood, ridding it of the toxins which had built up since my previous run.
My grandparents would often drive us. My grandma would bring plenty of snacks and my grandpa would remain sitting in the waiting room, just outside the dialysis unit for all three-and-a-half hours. He didn’t mind at all, being the highly patient man that he was. He would watch the television and chat with the other people waiting there.
I had turned 13 one month earlier and this was how I was spending my days. I wasn’t at school with my friends. I was tethered to a dialysis machine, in a unit, surrounded mostly by elderly people, as other teens my age were not suffering from kidney disease like me. I felt like the odd one out, out of place, again, not a new feeling for me.
I would watch soap operas, movies, or play games with friends and family keeping me company. The time began to fly by every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday sure. It became the routine, not feeling 100 percent, but better than the alternative.
Finally, I would be unhooked and stand, making sure I felt steady enough to leave. Often I would dose off on the 30 minute drive home, would have two or three days break and then back to London I would go.
That was then and this is now. I had my family’s unwavering support back then and I know my grandparents would have given me a kidney if they could have. I got through those days with their love and their help. My father gave me a part of himself. Now I have my freedom and my health. He gave those things back to me. He gave of himself, selflessly and eagerly. On this Throwback World Kidney Day Thursday I honour him, my mother, and the other generous donors out there. I thank all the family an friends who make such times tolerable. We who were in need wouldn’t be where we are without your gift to us. You all give us our lives back.
What’s the most selfless gift someone has ever given to you?