Tuesday, October 2, 2018

IWSG: Oh Brother & Apology from a Bad Blogger


It's time for another edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Be sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh and the rest of the talented writers who are always willing to lend a helping hand.  

                            Oh Brother & Apology from a Bad Blogger

I am grateful to all of the supportive bloggers throughout the years and apologize for not doing a better job of returning the favor. Though I have been experiencing computer issues over the last few months, I have also been trying to adjust to my new role as a professional patient.

I finally took my son's advice to increase my chances of a getting a new kidney by going out of state. I'm currently on a kidney transplant waiting list for a hereditary condition known as Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). The waiting list in Illinois is estimated between five and seven years, so my husband drove me to a hospital in another nearby state for an evaluation.

We were both impressed with the transplant team's thoroughness. Before the visit I had to have several tests to rule out everything from heart disease and cancer to a special evaluation from my dentist. After the visit I had to follow up with more tests. 

I wanted to get everything over with, so last week I saw doctors Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and underwent dialysis treatments Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Hence, I became a professional patient. Fortunately, the tests all came back negative. 

My brother had a kidney transplant more than 13 years ago. After I began dialysis this year he has been working tirelessly talking to politicians, clergy and other local leaders to get the word out on the importance of becoming an organ donor. 

Many countries have "opt-out" policies where citizens are automatically organ donors and those who wish not to have to sign forms to opt-out. He has been on a mission to have this system incorporated in the U.S. but has been met with little support.

Many people are falsely under the impression that their religion forbids organ donation, the state will control their bodies, or an emergency room doctor will declare them prematurely dead in order to use their organs for a friend or family member. 

There's a shortage of organ donors and one donor can save up to eight lives. The need to educate and correct misinformation is vital to increasing the number of donors.

What I've found most therapeutic is the ability to laugh about my experiences. On long days of dialysis, my brother never fails to lift my spirits; although our dark conversations are not for everyone. 

I'll tell him that on the positive side if I'm diagnosed with a more devastating disease, it gives me comfort in knowing that I can stop going to dialysis. And he'll tell me that if the doctors ever say he's contracted an incurable disease and only has a few months to live, he'll travel all around the world. 

Then I'll say, "What if the doctors are wrong and after spending all of your money you find out that you have years to live?"

Of course my brother is saddened by this possibility and tells me that I have ruined his pipe dream.

Meanwhile, the 87-year-old patient to my left and 95-year-old patient to my right just look at us like we're crazy.

In addition to cheering me up, when my brother noticed that another patient was waiting a long time for a ride home, he personally drove him home several times.

This patient spoke little English, so my brother later followed up with our doctor who changed his dialysis schedule to accommodate his transportation needs. Our doctor is always thrilled to see my brother and treats him like family.

Remarkably, my brother still remains humble though he is treated like a rock star at the dialysis center, as well as our mom's nursing home.

I guess things haven't changed that much since I was a little girl and every night at bedtime I would yell downstairs to my parents, "Sorry for being so bad," and my brother would add, "And I too would like to apologize for being so good."