Friday, April 18, 2008

Kidney

The surgery for the kidney transplant has been scheduled.

It’s Thursday.

Like, in six days.

It was originally scheduled for the following Monday, but I have missed so much work from the race, that I thought it would be better to do it before the weekend, recover over the weekend, and get back to work on Monday. I will probably stay with one of my sisters that weekend, just in case.

My body is now completely recovered from the race – I had some muscles soreness in my calves for the last few days, and my appetite was slow to return, but I am 100% today, so that’s good.

I go in for some testing on Monday, and then into the hospital either Wednesday night or Thursday morning (not sure of all the details at this point).

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any ambivalence about this.

The reason is that it took my brother, the recipient, two months to call me, or even acknowledge that this was happening. I even spent a weekend with him in Tennessee in March for the wedding, and there was not a single word about it. He only called me (two days before I left for Arizona) because my mother prompted him, worried that I would pull out because he hadn’t so much as called me.

She was right – I considered it.

I was angry, frustrated, confused. I submitted to the match testing because I really thought it would help, I really thought my brother would want to live. And I was his sister, after all, regardless of how estranged our relationship had become over the last several years.

When I was going through my initial testing way-back-when, I was sitting in the clinic office waiting for my CAT scan, and I was listening to two men - one a donor and the other the recipient. The recipient was talking about how his donor was also there for testing, and how he couldn’t believe his friend would do this, how he was getting a second chance at life.

I sat there alone, wondering if my brother would ever call me.

He never did.

And I didn't need to hear any multitude of "thanks" or "you're great!" or anything like that. In fact, I don't want to hear that -it just makes me uncomfortable because I am a family member, so donating is what should happen. I just wanted to know it was what he wanted. I started to wonder if my brother even wanted this – if he has just become so accustomed to being a “patient” that he didn’t want to give up that role, or if he was just so sick of being sick that he just didn’t want to go through anything else.

In addition to this, my brother hasn’t really done anything to improve his life since his initial pancreas transplant back in November. He has continued to smoke, hasn’t done a whole lot to care for himself, or to start to live again.

When he finally did call, we talked briefly, and had planned to meet sometime this weekend to discuss things.

At this point, I feel mostly committed to it. I think about the alternative – if I don’t and he dies, can I live with that? That answer is simple – no. Because he will die – that has been made very clear to me.

On other note – I have been anxious to get back in the pool (did I just say that out loud? Man, I guess IM has changed me), and am picking up my bike this weekend. Guess my hope for getting back in to the swing of all things physical might have to wait another week.

So I guess I move from one journey to the next.

Hopefully this one is just as rewarding.

13 comments:

IM Able said...

Be painfully honest with him this weekend. Ask him how this will change his life. Ask for answers.

There are many times when judgment in life is inappropriate and harmful. I don't think that this is one of those times. You asking the question -- what will you *do* with this part of my body -- is very valid, even if he may respond initially to the implicit judgment. Not because you have some new purview over his behavior, but because *you* are at risk of harm or death as a result of the donation.

And even though you feel your familial relationship means you should do this, remember that that needs acknowledgment, too.

Andra Sue said...

I desperately wanted to comment on this post, but I didn't know quite what to say...how to put it into words. So, I'm just going to say "ditto" to what IM Able said, as she expressed pretty much exactly what was going through my mind as I read it.

You absolutely deserve to know that your gift will be cherished and taken care of, as it comes at great physical cost and risk to you. Make no mistake about that.

All my best, no matter how it turns out.

stronger said...

Donating a kidney is what it takes to give your body some down time? :)

Alili said...

IM Able said it so well and you do deserve answers to questions, but you also have to be okay with the possibility of not hearing what you want to hear.

You are so strong and will undoubtedly choose the best path, whatever that may be.

I'll be thinking of you.

SUB6 said...

Like andra sue says it's hard to know what to say. I think I would be a bit more than 'ambivalent' about the whole thing though. Good Luck

The Clyde said...

Wow Megan, that's all I got, talk about a tough situation. I hope you can get it off your chest this weekend. You definitly need to hold him accountable. It's not like you are letting him just borrow your car or something.

Danni said...

Meg,
IM able said it all.
It takes a brave soul to go through something like this. You got it in you.
The best for you and yours. You will be in my thoughts.

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momo said...

meg, i've been thinking about you all weekend and about what i'd do if i were in your position. i have a sister that has abused her body just a bit (well, ok, a whole lot) and who only calls me when she needs something (like bailing out of jail) and then when she does visit me she steals things from me.

i thought about what would happen if she needed a kidney and i was the only match. because, go figure - i KNOW that'd be the way it would turn out. and to be honest, i don't know that i could do it. i guess i would because it would be expected of me - i'm the oldest afterall and have all that guilt expectation thing going on - but i'd be resentful. i know i would.

this is not a decision i think you've gone into lightly and i agree with imable - you need to talk to him about it. soon. now. he has to understand the risk YOU are taking doing this. how it will (because it will) affect your life and how you feel about it and what your expectations of him are.

big hugs to you girlfriend.

Brent Buckner said...

You wrote:
My body is now completely recovered from the race
I doubt that - no 3 hour runs or 6 hour rides for some time (but clearly you have that covered).

As for the rest - well, you get to choose what you'll do and that's about it I suppose. Best wishes.

KrissyGo! said...

I can't anything else except that I will keep you in my thoughts.

Prin said...

I'll be around whatever you decide. It's your body. You decide its fate. A hug. ;)

Go Mom Go said...

Praying for you, Megan.