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  • Monday, February 23, 2009

    The kidney, the baseball and the mole...

    Where have I been? Oh, where do I start? I know I’ve been crap at updating this blog recently. I think I’m just too tired when I get home at night. And now I get home a bit later than I used to. With my new job, I leave home at 7:30 am and get home around 7:00 pm. I know that’s not a long, long day, but I’m crap in the morning. So the first few weeks of this new schedule were hard.

    Anyhoo, what’s up with me? Let’s see… there’s the kidney, the baseball and the mole, to name a few. Where to start?

    The kidney. So, my father is definitely going to need a kidney transplant. This isn’t news, but it may be necessary sooner than we had thought. Now, the family is now going through the process of who, when and how. It was decided that my stepmother is going to donate one of her kidneys, if she’s viable. Of course, this led to a “family discussion” about my dad/stepmother’s estate, living wills, advance health care directives, etc. Ugh. All very necessary conversations, but no fun at all. Especially when you’re talking about a mixed family. Step-siblings, half-siblings, etc. We all get along well enough, but it still isn’t the Brady Bunch.

    And of course, me being the attorney, I had a ton of very specific questions. And I was very persistent in getting answers. What a pest. I asked my dad what their backup plan was if my stepmother didn’t pass the health exam. They didn’t have a plan. I told them they needed one. My dad said that he’d just go on dialysis. I told him that that wasn’t good enough. His health is important to and affects all of us. None of us want to see him on dialysis if there is another option for a donor. So they need to discuss that and let us know what they want to do. They agreed. My older brother is a match for a donation, but part of his career is tied to his military service. It seems that he wouldn’t be eligible for certain duty if he was missing a kidney. Or something like that. So my dad said he wasn’t willing to accept a kidney from my brother because he wasn’t willing to potentially jeopardize my brother’s career. I understand where Dad is coming from, but I personally think it’s crap. I don’t think one should sacrifice one’s health because of potential outcome if the donor wants to take the risk. But it’s not my decision. I am also a possible donor (same blood type). But Dad says that he’s not willing to accept a kidney from any of his daughters in their childbearing years because if we were to get pregnant, having one less kidney might complicate the pregnancy. Again, crap. Don’t sacrifice your health and well-being for a “this could possibly happen” scenario where the risk is small and the donor is willing. But again, not my decision. If he won’t accept a kidney from one of us, that really is his decision (although that doesn’t stop me from trying to change his mind).

    Anyhoo, we don’t know who the “backup” is if my stepmother cannot donate. My other brother isn’t a match (wrong blood type). Meanwhile Dad’s health seems to be deteriorating. I don’t know how much is psychological and how much is physical. Knowing him, it’s probably both. He’s a lousy patient who doesn’t handle stress well and tends to blow things out of proportion. So, little things become big things with him. Not helpful now. Not helpful anytime really, but in this situation, it could have seriously negative consequences. State of mind and attitude are so important to physical health.

    As it stands, Dad is scheduled to go to New York City next week for more tests. He’ll have the transplant up there when everything is worked out. Possibly at the end of March. They are planning on renting an apartment short-term (for several months) to make it easier for him to get to his appointments. They’ll probably hire a nurse to help him in the beginning, but after that, I think the kids will be taking turns to help -- taking off work and staying with him; stuff like that. Everyone seemed willing, for the most part. Except my stepbrother, who lives several states south of here. He pretty much said that he won’t be able to help because he has kids and is too far to do anything. And while I know that’s a practical reality, I still felt like he had the wrong attitude about it. And it irked me. I think he should have said that they will do anything they can; it may not be much, but they will try. Instead, they said they probably couldn’t do much. I was annoyed.

    So that’s the issue with the kidney. Please cross your fingers that everything works out well for Dad – that he gets a good match, that the surgery goes without incident (no dropping kidneys on the operating room floor!) and that his recovery is easy. I am definitely worried about him, but I am also the type not to get bent outta shape and upset unless there is good reason. So I’m not too too worried, just anxious. I will worry when there is good reason. Until then, I’m confident that it will all be just fine. Right? Right.

    Next: the baseball.

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