Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hero, saint and friend

Dorothy, with a fruit basket that arrived Friday
afternoon, courtesy of Rick Brodsky and the
Prince George Cougars.
I had dinner with a hero the other night.
Oh, she doesn’t look like a hero; there is no cape, no stylized ‘S’ emblazoned on her chest. And she certainly doesn’t look upon herself as having done anything out of the ordinary.
In fact, she would be embarrassed if she knew that I had even thought of her as being a hero.
But how else do you describe someone who has saved two lives?
She is a wife. She is a mother to two children, both of them married, and both of them having presented her and her husband with grandchildren.
She is my wife’s best friend, has been, in fact, for a long, long time. And, yes, she is a hero. Let us call her Joan.
My wife, Dorothy, was diagnosed with kidney disease in the spring of 1981. She was found to have been born with one kidney. It was malformed and already was performing at less than peak efficiency.
We knew then that dialysis and, perhaps, a transplant were in her future.
In the fall of 2009, Dorothy was told the time had come for her to go on dialysis. At the time, we thought perhaps she might be as much as five years away from it, but we knew for certain that the time was coming — and now this life-changing happening was upon us.
Immediately and without hesitation, Dorothy’s best friend said she would donate a kidney. She already had discussed it with her husband and two children, she said, and nothing more need be said. She was on board and that was that. And, furthermore, she didn’t want to hear any more about it.
Unfortunately, Joan and Dorothy don’t share the same blood type. But when a search for a match proved futile, Dorothy and Joan’s names were entered into the Living Kidney Donor Program’s database.
Joan went through all the testing and was found to be a suitable donor. Eventually, they were paired with other donors and recipients, and here we are, Joan having given up a kidney to an anonymous recipient and my wife having received one from an anonymous donor.
Joan was in hospital for two days and now is back at home, sleeping in her own bed.
Dorothy and I remain away from home and will be for another few weeks. We got great news on Thursday when all the numbers were found to be good, with one that had been causing some concern having dropped substantially since Tuesday. This news was cause for great excitement; it also means we don’t have to go back to the hospital until Monday morning.
When informed of the news, Joan and her husband told us “you have made our day.”
Merriam-Webster defines hero as “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” Its definition for saint is “a person who is very good, kind, or patient.”
Yes, Joan is our hero and our saint. She also is our best friend.
For more information on the Living Kidney Donor Program, please visit right here.


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