Yesterday was pretty much like any other Sunday afternoon, I was online scouting ticket prices for some upcoming business trips when Donna calls me from the grocery store saying she got a phone call from our Kidney Transplant team in Little Rock letting us know to be on alert because a kidney was coming available, everything after that is pretty much a blur… For those of you that might not be aware, my wife needs a kidney transplant –and we’ve been on the transplant list for 2+ years, and have had over 90+ people come forward to be tested to see if they could be a living donor (some are still being tested). When the nurse asked Donna if she wanted to wait for our living donor to finish testing or did she want to take this kidney that was coming available. Needless to say, we want the first kidney that’s a match –after all, she’s in stage 5 kidney failure and has to be attached to dialysis 3 days a week for 4hrs a day… it’s miserable, I promise.
When Donna got home from the grocery store I drilled her asking “tell me what they said exactly!” Well, it wasn’t long after that they called again and asked some questions about her recent medical history (primarily concerning the blood clot that went to her lungs a few months back). Donna gave the nurse her updated history and inquired a little more about the kidney that might be available. The nurse then informed us that our PRA information was out of date and we needed to get that updated ASAP and in order to do that we needed to be at UAMS in the next 2hrs to get that blood work drawn. We jumped in the car and headed to Little Rock and had the blood work completed and headed back home to await “the call”. Well, we waited and waited, all the while getting all of our preparations in order (there’s a lot that goes into getting a kidney transplant). Finally, we got the next phone call… we learned that the kidney was coming from Northwest Arkansas and that we were a potential match –and to stay glued to our phones that they would either call us back that evening (Sunday evening) or the next morning, Monday (today). We immediately packed our bags, loaded Donna’s Audi SUV (fast and easy to maneuver), notified the State Police that we might be speeding toward Little Rock from Conway at a high-rate of speed w/ our flashers on in the middle of the night, and made the necessary phone calls to our family and support team (everyone has their own duties or roles). My parents jumped in their car and headed to Conway from the farm. Needless to say… we were anxious.
Last night I barely slept, Donna was as cool as a cucumber and slept like a baby. With only an hour or two of good sleep I rolled out of bed early this morning and immediately started clearing my calendar for the next few days. We continued to wait on the next phone call… finally, we received a call from the transplant nurse confirming Donna’s medications and then giving us the instruction to “not eat or drink anything” until we heard back from her, and that things were looking really, really good. Naturally, the intensity got heavier for us as we continued to wait for the next call. I can remember my parents, Donna, and I all holding hands and kneeling in our living room floor to pray over the entire situation.
While we continued to make preparations for things like carpet cleaning, dog grooming, hand sanitizer at each entry, and a multitude of other things that have to be done before Donna can come home from the transplant we waited anxiously on the next phone call. After a few hours I began to get nervous and start pacing around, a tell-tale sign that I’m wound up pretty tight. My dad began running the vacuum cleaner, something he’s picked up recently to help him stay busy, it’s kind of comical if you think about it. The entire time we were waiting Donna continued to be as cool as a cucumber.
…okay, I’m going to pause for a second and give you the significance of today, January 10th… some of you may already be aware. It was on this day 5 years ago that we lost our baby girl, Shelby. In the back of my mind I couldn’t help but convince myself that God knew this already and that he was going to allow us to reclaim this day in a huge way by allowing Donna to receive a new kidney. Okay, back to the story…
While we were waiting on the next phone call Donna remained cool as could be. As the time began to pass by I started to grow concerned that the window might be shutting… Well, eventually the phone rang and we all gathered in the middle of the living room floor again and listened as Donna put the nurse on speaker phone. As I’m sure you are already aware, our doctor, Doctor Gerardo Tomayo, decided that it was in our best interest to have a few more tests ran on Donna to make sure she was as healthy as possible… I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. I’ve felt this feeling before… most vivid memory of this feeling was exactly 5yrs ago…
For a few moments we all sat with our heads down and listened to the nurse encourage us by letting us know that we are at the “top of the list” and that we should be receiving another call soon –once Donna passes the tests this week.
I’m not going to lie, I was mad at first –and I was ashamed that I could be so selfish… I mean, someone lost a family member that was donating their organs, I was all but wishing they would hurry up and come off of life support… secondly, someone else was going to be getting their kidney today… of all people I should have rejoiced for them having known how hard the wait has been over the past 2+ years for us, but no… I was being selfish. I expected Donna to be upset, she had every right… but no, she instead took up the role of consoling my mom and I. I’ve said this a thousand times, but I’m going to say it again, my wife is as freaking tough as they come, and her faith is over the top!
It took her several hours but after some intense conversation she ultimately got me, my parents, and her sister, Bridgette, to come around to her way of seeing the situation… This wasn’t God’s timing. God is going to restore her health completely –and we believe that we will have a new kidney soon, but for a split second I personally lost sight of that and had to be reminded.
While we were on our way to the pharmacy today to pick up some prescriptions I was reminded of Pastor Rick Bezet’s message this past weekend about making each day count, it was really inspiring. I got to thinking back on our roller coaster of a day and realized that the hours were ticking away and so far the score wasn’t in my favor, in fact I was already defeated. This next part might sound silly to a lot of you guys but I picked up two paper dinosaurs in the craft section of the store and a handful of acrylic paints and brought them home. Next, we gathered around our kitchen table w/ our son Spencer and we had an arts & crafts night by unplugging everything and painting our dinosaurs. It was pretty therapeutic, it really helped me clear my head and eventually manage to watch the second half of the national championship game.
I wanted to write this post this evening to document the roller coaster of a day we’ve had and to shed some light as to our current status awaiting a kidney for Donna.
- We currently have a top position on the transplant list for any kidneys that come available.
- We have one donor that is being tested again in the next few days.
- We have very compatible criteria (A&O blood type, good PRA, etc.)
- As soon as Donna passes the tests this week we should be ready for the next phone call…
So, it’s not all dreary at the end of the day. We appreciate all of the prayers, text messages, and phone calls. I think one of my facebook posts today had almost 700 likes on it. That’s mind-blowing. Please continue to pray! In closing I want to point out something. Donna and I aren’t strangers to emotional roller coasters when it comes to things that sometimes just drop into other couples laps. I’m not complaining, every time we’ve wagered our emotions and dreams and trusted God, the return has always been incredible. So, we are going to be just fine. It’s the tough times that make you stronger, iron sharpens iron –we know this!
God has this situation…