Monday, July 03, 2017

The First Call ... May It Not Be the Last ...

You really don't know how it's going to feel when you get that call.  I imagined it, sure.  But to hear the words ... "This is Mary from the Transplant Team" ... it's both thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.

When you hear those words you realize how little you are prepared to hear those words.   I had a vague idea that we'd get the call and then go to the hospital.  When the call came in the middle of the night on Friday, I sat there worrying over all the work that was on my desk ... things that needed to be mailed or invoiced or just generally sent out.  I didn't have a bag packed to go to the hospital.   I wasn't ready at all.

Luckily ... or unluckily depending on your point of view ... the call wasn't "for me" technically.  I was the backup ... an understudy.  They had an kidney ... and they had a person intended to get that kidney.  But if that person showed up to the hospital and had an issue ... a fever or too many white blood cells or whatever ... then the Transplant Team would call me back and we'd go in.  The call was to let me know not to eat or drink anything ... and, in general, just to be ready.  They said they would call back in the next five hours or so to let me know whether or not I was cleared.  It's like being called for jury duty ... only it could save your life.

The call came at 1:30 in the morning ... so it wasn't like I was about to order a pizza.  But I might've gotten up and drank some water or milk or something ... so that was good to know.  But the problem is that the last thing you feel like doing at that point, is going back to sleep.  If it weren't for Stoney, I don't know that I would've been the backup at all.  My phone was on vibrate ... and I slept through two calls.  It wasn't until they called Stoney's phone that he woke up and realized what was going on.  I woke up to see him standing by my side of the bed, holding my phone, and telling me, "Call them back, quick!"

It was a work night ... and Stoney had an important meeting in the morning and had to drive to St. Louis.  Now what?  There was no since in cancelling anything ... I was just the backup and probably wouldn't get called in.  But we did need to get some sleep to function the next day.   I think we laid awake for at least an hour ... talking about what we needed to do.  How happy we were both were.  And we talked about how many conflicting feelings you have.  You want to hope they call back and tell you to come in ... but then you're hoping that someone else doesn't get it.  You want to be happy that this is happening ... but you get to be happy because someone else is crying over the loss of their loved one.  It's a spaghetti bowl of emotion ... just a mess of happiness and sadness and confusion.

Since I'm getting ready to go to dialysis this afternoon, they obviously didn't need me.  Mary called around seven on Friday morning to let me know that I was cleared to go to work ... to have breakfast and relax.  The odd thing was that I wasn't really disappointed.  I was happy that someone's life had changed that morning.  And I was happy because this was a sign that we are close to getting the real call.

I know I've been melancholy on here lately ... and so I will tell you the other side of this story.  Getting the call gives you a dizzying happiness that words can't describe.  I ran on adrenaline all day.   I was beyond elated.  But that wears off.  Sitting there at dialysis Friday night, the crash afterwards was hard.  Because you realize how close you came to not having to sit in that fucking chair.  Worse yet, Friday night was hard ... I cramped until I cried ... and then I cried because I almost didn't have to do this anymore.  And that stays with you ... that feeling of loss.  That feeling of ... "I was so close."

I guess it's very similar to the stages of grief ... because you do swing back around.  I'm now in relatively zen space ... my time will come.  I just have to keep eating healthy and keep my cell phone ringer on.  We'll get the call ... and hopefully soon I'll be on here writing about my Prednisone moon face and what it's like to be on every anti-rejection medicine known to man.  Stoney will have funny stories to tell about me putting off pain medicine and then crying like a lunatic because there are stitches touching my skin. 

It's alright ... we have hope ... and that's something to hold onto.

And it just makes me wonder
Why so many lose, so few win
And give me something to believe in
If there's a Lord above
And give me something to believe in

Poison - Something To Believe In


  1. Praying for you, my dear.

  2. My wife and I will say our prayers for you. Hope the pain of it all will soon be over.

    Robert and Darla

  3. Thanks, everyone ... I got a second call but I had to turn it down. I'm about to write a post on the situation.