A friend of ours used to joke that he thought trailer parks actually cause tornadoes… You know, because whenever you’d hear about a tornado touching down, it seemed like a trailer park was always part of the destruction.
Lately, I’ve started to wonder if a similar type of ridiculous causality is surrounding me. More and more people in my circle keep turning out to be what I call “ooksters,” or people with only one (functioning) kidney.
You already know about me and my stepdad. He’s the reason I started this OOK blog. Both of his kidneys failed, so I gave him one of mine. Two ooksters. Then, there’s my mom, whom I wrote about in this post. Her peripheral arterial disease caused one of her kidneys to shut down. So, that’s three of us.
Then, I changed jobs. And it turns out that my new boss has also donated a kidney. How crazy. Another ookster! And now, as if it’s some kind of weird fad, two of my favorite people are preparing to join the club…
As I talked about in my last post, my nephew Daniel ended up with an illness that caused his kidneys to fail. For a while we didn’t know exactly what condition led to his kidney failure. But now, we know that he has Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). We still don’t know exactly what caused the FSGS. But the good news is that the doctors don’t think it is hereditary. And the even better news is that my dear niece Stephanie (his sister) has offered to donate one of her kidneys to him!
She’s gone through all the testing, which has taken longer than usual during the pandemic. And, they have both now had their COVID-19 vaccines. So, assuming all goes well, in a few days, my oddly growing club of ooksters will grow by two more.
Although I’m sort of making light of things, the truth is that I have giant butterflies flying around inside me. Daniel and Stephanie are in the prime of their lives. Only good things are allowed to happen to them, in my opinion.
They are very close, as siblings go. And they are both artists at heart. Artists give away parts of themselves all the time. But the beauty of this gift is so stirring. It touches me deeper than when I went through it myself. I imagine they will have an even stronger bond as a result of this experience. And every time I think of their pending kidney hand-off and the magic of modern medicine that makes it possible… It still stops me in my tracks, as if I hadn’t gone through it myself.
I’m nervous about their surgeries. But my personal experience suggests all will go well. I’m grateful that we’ll have this special thing in common. I hope it draws us closer still.
I’ll have to come up with a special shirt or handshake for all the people in my ookster club. And maybe a warning sticker to wear for those just getting to know me… Beware: if you hang out with me, you may find yourself giving away, or receiving, a kidney… or some other part of yourself. It seems to happen to the best of us.
- Three More Days – Ray LaMontagne
- Brother – Kodaline
- Lean on Me – Bill Withers
- You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor
- In My Life – The Beatles
- Count on Me – Bruno Mars
- The Mother We Share – CHVRCHES
- Orange Sky – Alexi Murdoch
- My Big Sister – Bare Naked Ladies 🙂
- Brothers and Sisters – Coldplay
- Garden Song – Phoebe Bridgers
- Murder in the City – Avett Brothers
- I wonder what other songs Daniel and Stephanie are thinking of?
A few hours after I wrote this post, my husband was talking to someone we recently met in our little town. She said she’s also a kidney donor! I’m telling you: it’s a thing!
A handshake or a sticker… or maybe a tattoo! I’m sure your niece was inspired by YOU!