Thursday, January 24, 2008

Something beautiful

"The process of life, from youth
to middle age to old age to death,
is to create something beautiful -
the soul."
Ai Ja Lee
The Girls' Book of Wisdom

Friday, January 11, 2008

To Save a Life

I want to give a gift to my cousin Bryan.

Over a year ago, Bryan's kidneys started to fail and he started dialysis; in dire need of a kidney transplant, his brother Harry was first in line to get tested to see if he was a match. He was. Harry underwent several months of doctors appointments, psych evaluations and more doctors appointments. They scheduled the surgery for September 2007 but two days before checking into the hospital, Bryan had a reaction to some meds and had several seizures. The surgery was postponed until November. In November, the doctors decided that Harry's blood pressure was too borderline to hypertension so they nixed him as a donor candidate. Talk about devastation. Harry was devastated that he couldn't help his little brother, Bryan was devastated to be postponed again and the rest of the family was devastated that the search had to start all over.

In December, I sent a blood sample to the Transplant Team and several weeks later they called to tell me I am a match. So, now I am the one going through the process and even though the surgery is still a few months away, every day we are one step closer to getting Bryan the kidney he needs to save his life.

When people hear what I am doing, the first thing most always say is: "That's amazing...I don't know if I could do that." And I can't help but wonder why anyone wouldn't. Yes, it's major surgery, with all the risks that implies, but when I heard that Harry couldn't donate, within 15 minutes I was on the phone to the Transplant Team asking what I needed to do to get tested. And now, knowing that we match, how could I say no and still look my family in the eye? I couldn't.

For as long as I can remember, I have been very vocal to my family and friends about wanting my organs donated after I die. I think my strong feelings about this comes from Daddy dying: in my 10 year-old mind I was convinced that a new heart could've saved him. Now, I am presented with the opportunity to help while I'm still here. And help not just anyone, but Bryan - family- and there is no way I would ever say no.

Am I scared? Yes. Is Bryan scared? Yes. Will I be sorry? Never.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Special Kind of Stupid

It may be a new year, but I'm certainly not any smarter this year than I was last. In fact, I just may be a bit dumber.

Since Saturday was the first day above freezing in a few weeks, Dawn, Mark and I decided to make a day of it. We started in Golden at a local hole-in-the-wall bar where we enjoyed the coldest pitcher of Coors Light known to man. On the way out the door I spotted an ATM. I needed some cash so I stopped and swiped my card. The machine said "Hello kctl, please enter your 4-digit PIN number." And I did: SJXL. And the machine promptly said: "Incorrect PIN." What?! Hmm, maybe it's JSXL, so that's what I put in next. Machine: "Incorrct PIN, dumbass" (Well, the dumbass was implied). I started to do it again, but Dawn (who, unlike me, is obviously not getting dumber as the years go by) said that if I put in another incorrect number the machine would probably keep my card. Okay, so I heeded her wise words and thought I'd try again later.

We continued our day at Coors (free beer!) and as we headed out, there was another ATM so I stopped again...SJLX this time. Machine: "Look, fuckstick, either figure it out or leave me alone!" I couldn't remember what I used the first time at the first machine, so I tried SJXL again. Still no good, go figure. Fine, I'll show you! I don't need no stinkin' cash, I'll just use my debit card for the rest of the day!

I was confident that if I just stopped thinking about it, the right PIN would come to me. I knew I had the right 4 numbers, I just wasn't sure of the order. The day wore on and I still couldn't pull the right combo of numbers out of my ass. On my way home, I stopped at the ATM at my bank thinking that maybe I had it right this time. SLJX. Machine: "Are you serious, lady?! You're blonde aren't you?" Sigh. Guess I'll sleep on it.

Sunday afternoon on my way to meet D & M, I stopped one last time: SXJL. Machine: "Ding, ding, ding!! You finally pulled your head out of your ass and rembered the right combo! Now, I shall reward you with $60 of your own money! Congratulations!!!!"

Yup, I'm a special kind of stupid. Today I will be going to the bank and request a PIN change to something I can remember like AAAA.