Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Kidneys and People

Today I won't be talking about a recipe. In this case a kidney recipe. Today I will be talking about human kidneys, so if you are only into recipes, today is not your day. Today I want to talk about something that is extremely important to me: kidney transplant.

It just happens that I have two birthdays: one that celebrates when I was born (I know...it should be a World wide festivity) but also I have my second time around birthday. Five years ago I received a kidney from a diseased organ donor. Today I am alive thanks to that person and I must honor that.

My donor (and I will use "my" with the outmost respect) died unexpectedly and I was given a chance to live my life back to where it stopped 14 years prior. Those were 14 long years of which I spent 7 in dialysis. I have to be honest: dialysis is a great way to keep people going but is not a walk in the park. When I thought that the long 7 years in the  kidney failure clinic was though as I was feeling worst as days past; dialysis took over and yes, I did feel way better but obviously never as I did before the whole ordeal. I had a terrific team of professionals who looked over me in the two stages.  99% of the time I found compassionate and caring people who understood what I was going through. The 1% is not worth mentioning. All my doctors still know me by my name. Most nurses do. I am lucky that way. Now I am taking care by another terrific team who make sure that I keep my kidney healthy and my spirits high. My own family doctor was with me the whole ordeal. He was and is great.

I can't forget -not even for a second- what my family went through. When my world was collapsing in front of my eyes, my family was next to me and they suffered because they love me. My son was a small kid, now he is a man. My wife did everything to keep me going, and I mean everything.  Obviously life didn't turn the way I planned, but at the end, I have a good life. I am very close to my family and they are close to me. I am lucky.

Today I am 5. It has never been a moment when I don't think of the person who gave me more time to enjoy life. I promised I would do it for the two of us and I try very hard to keep my promise. Today somewhere there is a family who is remembering a loved one gone. Today I am celebrating life. Still today is hard to understand for me. Is there a word to say thank you for something like this? I don't know it but I know how I feel: that is the word I want to use.

During the 19 years (today) when I started this long ride I have talked to people, I have listened to people and I have read what they have to say about organ transplant. People are funny that way; most people say they are in favor of donating their organs but only 30% do the proper paperwork, that is, 70% of those good intentions never become a reality. Nevertheless they think about it. They approve it. They want to be part of it. There is also a group of people who are totally convinced that organ transplant is wrong and shouldn't be allowed. Furiously they defend their beliefs and are ready to steamroll anyone who is in favor. I hear them, I listen to them and I read them but I don't understand them. I am sure they have their reasons and I respect that. What I don't respect is what is said about the whole issue. I recall that I was fresh out of the surgery room when I received a call to congratulate me (highly appreciated) but short after the same person sent me a letter saying that he/she was taking his/hers name of the organ donor list because -I quote- "we are not replacement parts". It hurt so much. I love that person but his word choosing was poor and the result was hurtful. Unintentional harm I want to believe.

Life at the end. People at the end. I don't believe that there are good and bad people. I strongly believe that there is people. Just that, people. Today I celebrate 5 years and I want to share my feelings with you all. Donate if you feel is the right thing to do but, if you don't, please think twice before attacking the ones who are in favor. We are people same as you are. Try to understand and walk in our shoes. If that alters the way you think...great and if it doesn't...great too because everybody is responsible of their own destiny. My destiny was altered by the generosity of someone else. Today I celebrate 5 and I celebrate life.

Let's have a Margarita and have a good laugh. Let's enjoy a good meal. Let's do something kind. Let's try no to harm others. Lets be people but let's be good people.