Babies are miracles. But even with knowing all the scientific engineering that goes into creating a new human being I still had blinders on, because I was so excited to be pregnant. I never gave much thought to the vital organs that were being formed from the moment of conception. Naively, I just assumed that the hardest part was making the baby. When everything checked out after birth I exhaled a sigh of joyful relief. I never seriously considered something happening to the baby after I brought him home from the hospital. Then God said let there be life and I really grew up.
Kids are not excluded from illness simply because it is not on a parent’s radar. They get sick. Then parents get sick from the kid germs. In terms of immunity I rebuilt the Great Wall of China after my first born, because he was sick every time he got better! There I was blowing my nose and coughing my head off right along with him. But those were viruses that we came out better for having had. I didn’t have to worry about the fate of my children when they got ill. As I watched other families around me I realized that was a blessing.
My son’s former travel baseball coach has focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a mouthful of a disease that in layman’s terms hinders the kidneys from properly filtering the blood in his body. The wait time for a deceased donor kidney is roughly three to six years. A deceased donor kidney will last about 10 years. A living donor kidney has a much longer life span. It will last around 15 to 20 years. This young man has a whole new playing field to contend with, and the rules are not fair. Since December 2016 he has been going to dialysis three times a week. Each treatment lasts for 3 1/2 hours. As a parent it is difficult to hear about any child or young adult in such dire medical need.
While my children were growing up I was concerned with colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, ear and throat infections, not organs going bad. I was slow to realize there are scenarios that warrant a bigger anguish. As parents, when any child or young adult is faced with a life and death situation brought on by illness in the prime of their life we can question the fairness of it all, but the answer to why will elude us. So much of the outcome is out of our hands. But there is something we can control—making the choice to be an organ donor. Whether it be kids helping kids or kids helping adults, giving the gift of life back to someone is a moving experience.
Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care book didn’t have chapters dedicated to disease, accidents, drownings, or suicide, leaving a parent taken by surprise when unforeseen circumstances exert a toll on healthy and unhealthy alike. It is heartbreaking to watch a loved one pass, but maybe the unbearable loss can turn into a more bearable pain if you consider and act on donating an organ or tissue. Contributing to the beginning of an end could act as a salve for the open wound on your heart by aiding someone else in need to live.
Spreading the news of organ donation is a no brainer decision, because reaching out to actively help means so much more than just reading about doing it. For all invested parties it is worthwhile to keep an open mind. The opportunity to live on with a deceased loved one is a positive outcome to a difficult situation.