June 27, 2020

A Kidney for Love

For the last year, my Partner & I had been waiting patiently for that call from the doctor saying “We got a kidney!” Well…just shy of 1 year since we began the Transplant/Donation process, we received that call on the morning of June 1st, 2020.

Let’s rewind for a little bit of background…

June 2019, my Partner was admitted to George Washington Hospital. He had been ill for a while but it became worse, and eventually we found out that he would need a Kidney transplant. Now, once a patient is placed on the Kidney transplant list, it generally takes about 8 years for a Kidney to become available whether it be from a living or deceased donor. So here he is on this long waitlist, and had to begin dialysis immediately. With Kidney failure, your body does not process foods and beverages as well, you retain fluids which causes swelling throughout the body. 

I spent just about all of my free time from business at the hospital with him during this stay. We’d order food and have dinner together before I went to work at night, movie night, all from his hospital bed. During conversations regarding the situation at hand, the thought “why don’t you see if you’re a match for him, you are a registered donor?” came to my mind. Well, sure enough we began my Donor application and screening process right there on the spot. We had only been back together for a month when all of this fell into our hands, but that didn’t phase me. Donating an organ is something that I’ve always said id be willing to do, and dammit here was the perfect opportunity to follow thru on my word!

Low and behold, I was not a match to be a direct donor for him. NOW WHATS NEXT!? Who else can we test, or who would be willing to be a donor? Though others were sought out for testing, we were presented with the Donor Exchange Program. Through this donation program, the willing donor may still donate their kidney but it would not go to the person they intended to directly donate for. So we agreed to move forward with the exchange program. My kidney would go to another person in need and he would receive a kidney from another willing donor. Did I mention that this is an 8-year waitlist for a Kidney Transplant?

So over the next year, he (but we) dealt with many days and nights of sickness, pain, several falls, ER visits, a few more hospital stays, the list may go on. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night, throwing up everything you cooked and ate the last few hours. Imagine waking up to your partner in a sweat but not able to move or mouth what’s happening to him, because his sugar dropped in his sleep (yes he’s a diabetic, and due for a Pancreas transplant also). Imagine being out of town, having to call the 911 to the hotel in the middle of the night because your partner is unresponsive. The heart ache, stress, emotions, even depression all takes a toll on both your partner and you. Imagine how being sick could possibly affect your relationship. 

In the last year, my partner has now gone through 7 surgeries/procedures. Dialysis port installation and removal, three times each. He fell several times due to a shattered disc at the top of his spine, and the immediately went in to replace that disc. Thankfully, surgery 7 was the KIDNEY TRANSPLANT!!!!!! Yes, that’s right, just shy of 1 year since we got on the transplant list, we got a kidney for my partner! 

June 1, 2020 – Received phone call to schedule transplant surgeries

June 18, 2020 – Partner goes in to receive his new kidney

June 22, 2020 – I picked him up from the hospital

June 23, 2020 – I go in to remove/donate my kidney

June 24, 2020 – Home I go

Being healthy, able & willing to do such a thing for someone you plan to spend the rest of your life with is totally humbling and fulfilling within itself. Some would say, “Why would you do that, what if your last kidney fails?” Well…I’ve never been one to live my life in fear. When it’s my time, it’s my time. Until then, I’m going to continue to live my life freely and if you don’t agree with it, by all means leave me be. It will not hurt my feelings one bit. 

There are so many people who have been waiting years to receive their donated organ. There are also so many people that will never understand the true meaning of “selflessness”. Unfortunately for them, selfishness seems to be the way of the world. Fortunately, I was not raised to be selfish in the right times. Love is how was I bred and Love is what I will continue to pour out. 

Recovery update…

Him: expected, periods of severe pain and discomfort. The new kidney is doing well.

Me: also expected, periods of severe pain and discomfort. Having ONLY 1 kidney, definitely still seems unreal, weird even. 

Thank You…!

 “I’d like to thank everyone who has been there during the entire process. The ones who were there when he has fallen and couldn’t get up, who simply called to say “I’m at work, but I wanted to make sure I spoke to you and at least heard your voice.” The outpouring of love and support has been gratefully overwhelming and it’s much appreciate and has not gone unnoticed. 

To my Mother, QUEEN of AMAZING; To my Father, King of Wisdom:

Thank you for supporting me appropriately in every decision I make whether wise or not so wise. 

Thank You to everyone who has extended their prayers and well wishes throughout this entire experience. I must truly say, we had an amazing support system throughout this last year, and still do. 

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