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And, as for the difference between life on dialysis and life with a transplant, imagine having to choose between a sophisticated motorized wheelchair or being able to walk and run.
Now we wait. And there are positive prospects. Ordinarily, I could expect to put in a year to 18 months waiting for a transplant in the crowded Northeast. Other regions — Wisconsin and Florida have been mentioned — move faster. And some transplant facilities will allow a mismatched donor, like my sister or my wife, to donate a kidney to their program — it’ll fit somebody, after all, probably right away. Then I would be bumped to the head of the waiting list for my blood group for the next cadaveric transplant. That might reduce the wait to a matter of weeks.
It’s been tougher on my wife, my sister, and my mother than it has on me. Like a parent watching his kid play tennis, the onlookers can’t really do anything, though they desperately want to — except keep their fears under control. I had my cry, sobbing and bellering “Why me?” against the injustice of the universe, a long, long time ago, when my original kidneys first failed.
All I was ever worried about this time was whether the ICU’s televisions got ESPN, so I could watch the British Open. What I do now is avoid, one moment at a time, picking up the first regretful or sorrowful or self-pitying thought. Like an alcoholic avoiding a drink, I know those thoughts can kill. So one “If only” at a time, I simply do not allow myself to start to think that way.