I’m sure by now you all know just how blessed I am with friends. I am surrounded by funny, clever, ballsy women who grab life by the throat and shake it until it gives up the goods.
They are astonishingly well read, well travelled and talented. And they are generous in never making me feel less than them, even though I’ve not read as much, seen as much or been as well educated. It might seem like an odd thing to note, but trust me, I’ve know enough folk who would happily try to belittle folk even when they hadn’t got the wherewithal to pull it off (and no, I don’t spend time with them any more.)
For as long as I’ve know her my friend C has suffered from end stage renal failure. This has resulted in her life being made smaller by her illness. Her food choices are restricted to only the blandest of things. Her travel is limited by the need to be close to her hospital. Hospital appointments come thick and fast. She gets tired. And, most recently, she has been on dialysis.
And let me tell you, dialysis is brutal. BRUTAL. Don’t be fooled by the TV images of folk sat around in big comfy chairs chatting whilst the machines do their work. Think bruises worthy of a car crash. Lumps and swellings. Painful surgeries to insert the necessary gubbins.
C has borne this with a grace and calm that I don’t possess when everything in the garden is rosy. Never mind when I’m exhausted, nauseous and in pain. I’m crap with a cold. I cannot imagine how I’d deal with a life threatening illness. Certainly not without complaining…which C never does.
She is pretty bloody amazing, you know.
And on Thursday of last week…she got The Call.
You know the one. The one that has you out of bed in the wee small hours and on the way to the hospital for a day of more tests and interminable waiting.
Waiting for the kidney to arrive.
Waiting to know for sure that it’s all going to go ahead.
Waiting to know if the transplant has worked.
On Thursday my friends and I turned the phone lines red hot as we waiting with her. Constant texts and emails kept the information flowing and our spirits up as we hoped for the best, and tried not to explode with hope and joy.
Late in the night, C sent a final text.
We waited and prayed.
And at a little after 8am on Friday morning, she texted again.
The kidney was in, it was working and she was feeling fine. Sore yes, but most definitely fine.
She’s still in hospital, of course. But is making great progress. Fast progress. She’s on her feet and will be home very soon. We are beyond all words to express how grateful we are that our amazing friend will be well again.
But we have not forgotten the family that lost someone they loved so that we could feel this joy.
They have been in our thoughts and prayers these last few days. We don’t know who they are, but we are humbled by their gift of life at such a heartbreakingly sad time for them.
Most probably they will never read these words, but I hope that in some way they know that across this land there are families and friends of people whose lives have been transformed beyond recognition, and our gratitude and thankfulness is as deep as their grief.
Let’s not forget that we can all change someone’s life. I’m not sure of the position in other countries, but here in the UK, at the moment you need to register to donate your organs.
It’s a really simple thing to do.
It doesn’t take very long.
But should, God forbid, anything happen to you, your organs can save another’s life. And not just one person. But several.
So please, please, please…before you read the next blog, or make another cup of tea, go to NHS Blood and Transplant, or your country’s equivalent, and register to donate your organs. Tell your family members of your wishes, and, if you can, get them to sign up to.