Looking Back 

Every year since it happened, I’ve been trying to write a post worthy of the experience. No words can truly sum it up, but this year, I am determined to try. I believe these memories are helpful and heartwarming. I hope you’ll agree.

Before we get started, the purpose of this blog post is to motivate and encourage anyone waiting on some sort of medical miracle. For us, it was a kidney that was perfectly matched to my husband’s body. For you, it could be something totally different. Just know that there is hope.

Let’s get on with it shall we?

Back to the Beginning

 
This starts about five years and a few months before we got the call. My husband, the person who actually received the kidney transplant, was told by his doctor – a nephrologist – that his kidneys had reached the point where they could no longer filter his blood properly even with the help of medication. Our next course of action was to go on dialysis.
 
After dealing with our own emotions concerning what this meant for us, we needed to tell the kids. Since TGIFriday’s was our favorite family restaurant, we decided to take them there to break the news. We ate lots of food and had a great time. Brad, most times referred to as Hubby, broke the news to the kids. They cried. We cried. They cried some more. We cried some more. When we finally composed ourselves, we went home to pack.
 
The kids were put to bed and we headed to the hospital. The doctor had called ahead to let them know to expect us. Once we were checked in and settled, we took a much needed nap. There’s nothing like an emotional roller coaster and fear of the unknown to make you sleepy.
 
Early the next morning, which was March 26, 2010 by the way, orderlies took Hubby into surgery so a tesio catheter could be inserted into his chest.
Insertion took about an hour and since the catheter can be used as soon as it’s put in, the took Brad for his very first dialysis treatment. I was able to visit with him for a few minutes then went back to the room to wait.
 
When they brought him up a few hours later, he was exhausted and in tremendous pain. He had a few bites of food and went to sleep because he was scheduled for another surgery in the morning. The surgeon thought it best to get started on the fistula insertion right away.
 
TO be honest, I can’t remember when I went home to check on the kids. You see, we were pros at the hospital thing. Since we had no family in the area, we were on our own. Each time we’d have to stay at the hospital, we’d fill the house with food and leave explicit instructions on what to do until I came home to check on them or until Dad was discharged from the hospital.  
 
Up to that point, I don’t think I’d ever seen my husband in that much pain. It was heartbreaking and I am sure he was scared. Even before he stepped into what was going to be his new normal for the next 5 and a half years, he was more concerned with us. 

Look Ma, We Made It

The last stop on today’s journey is when we finally made it to the hospital. It would be nice if every patient received such a lovely reception. There was a special suite for transplant patients and their families. It was called Vumi. I am not sure if this service is only available at Jackson Memorial or what, but it was quite helpful. 
 
After we checked in, we were handed a mountain of paperwork and filled it out as best we could. A nurse took us to a room and explained the process and everything they’d do to help make it comfortable for us. 
 
When our room was ready, we were taken upstairs and the nurses wasted no time in prepping him for the surgery. I am sure they drew more than a hundred tubes of blood. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it was pretty close. 
 
We slept very little that night. He was in bed and I was at his side in a recliner. We drifted off to sleep knowing that tomorrow would be better. 

Just Getting Started

 
I hope you’ve enjoyed this stroll down memory lane. This has been a long and difficult journey for us. Once you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness, you seem to shift from new normal to new normal. You don’t go back to the way things were before. I’ll unpack that in future posts. 
 
I’d love to hear from you. Please tell me what you think of the post or share the details of your chronic illness journey. 
 
It all counts. 
 
Your coach, 
 
Sophia
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