Sunday, December 13, 2009

Appreciations (18) – A gift of life…

Appreciations (18) – A gift of life…

Torrey Orton

December 12, 2009

There are gifts and gifts. A broken piece of oneself is special, only replaceable by an unbroken piece of someone else, though the rest of them may be broken beyond repair. Recently a friend fell into potentially terminal kidney disrepair, entering subsequently a future of dialysis and its disruptions for the sake of a survival. This had been a long time coming, he having developed a weakness in years of deprivation. Efforts to find a donor came to nothing workable except on another continent, and then a doubtful fit anyway and too complicated to be assured for so delicate a procedure.

Suddenly, it seemed, his wife appeared as a willing and certified donor and a transplant date was announced. This has recently passed successfully. They were both in a transplant ward at our best local establishment, a hundred meters apart in single rooms, filled respectively, when I saw them, with family and friends. He looked already (four days after the op) markedly better than I last saw him six days before it. The effects of gout associated with kidney failure were already receding. For the first time in a year I could give him a firm hand-shake – did so actually without thinking because part of me knew he was better. Fortunately that part was right.

She looked to have gone in the opposite direction, and agreed she felt so. She noted that her partner could only come up from where he was, while she could only go in the reverse direction, having started from a generally healthy position. I meant to say to her that this is a great thing she has done, but didn't find the words at the moment…didn't quite know them at the moment, though something like them was forming.

It is a great thing to give so much of oneself for another. When telling Jane the outcome of my visit, she wondered if she'd make a similar offer under such circumstances. I wondered if I'd ask her to (no, is my guess now; but, then, what's a guess in the light of a premature death coming up over life's horizon?). She wondered if I'd accept her offer, if she made it (I dunno; probably not, but see previous sentence)… and then wondering about a story of twins she'd known who offered and accepted, she imagined a story where the one originally in disrepair bloomed but the donor began to develop kidney disease and….talk about fate. Wonder is the key – I can only wonder at such a gift. It is incalculable without being in the place and time of need myself.


Nb – Appreciation #17 will follow in a few days. I created both it and this one at the same time but this one got over the line first.

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