November 3-8, 2015 is KIDNEY WEEK during American Diabetes month.
I was fortunate to have my aunt donate a kidney to me when I was 37. The recovery time was remarkably short, but the time in the hospital is mostly a blur. Still people get their feelings hurt when they ask if I remember their visit. I was on morphine and other heavy pain killers. I know family came from a couple of hours away, but I don’t really remember. Flowers and cards meant so much to my family. But honestly, I remember more clearly the flowers and meals brought after I got home.
After talking with a friend about how people cared for my family while my husband Jeff and I were in the hospital (at separate times) and how friends took care of us when my mother was in the hospital before she died, I have given the acts of kindness some thought. A Bible study group brought us a basket with fruit, candy bars with nuts, drinks and other goodies. They couldn’t visit my mom in ICU, but family and friends took turns sitting with us in the waiting room. The short visits from friends were so nice. Going with us–or forcing us to go–to lunch was a necessary break that we wouldn’t always take. Some people gave us cash, while others provided gift cards for nearby restaurants. Snacks, meals and bottles of water also were welcome surprises! Please don’t misunderstand. GIFTS DO NOT NEED to be monetary or financial. The visits and the kindness of visiting the empty house, watering plants, and getting the mail were immeasurable.
Remember I said in past posts that I was a pet sitter? My goal was to be a concierge pet sitter. Anything I could do from taking the pet to the vet or groomer to picking up cat litter or pet food was on my list. I wanted to take the struggle out of pet ownership. That is exactly what our friends and family did when our family was in the hospital. Mom’s hairdresser came and cut Mom’s hair twice during the nearly four months she was in the hospital. Mom was conscious during that time, and she appreciated the thought to how she looked. Another patient I know was devastated when she woke from a coma after three months, and no one had combed or cut her hair. She had to shave it to the skin!
I digress here, but the hospital stay is not always as few as ten days. Sometimes, patients must return to the hospital because of fever, infection or rejection. And the recovery period of six weeks or so limits the ability to go grocery shopping. Remember my best friend Bridget from the post this past week? She made lots of grocery store visits, including one where I sent her to the store with an expired debit card. She paid out of pocket for (A LOT of) groceries. I paid her back, but not enough for the time and humiliation!
When Jeff was in the hospital, the Red Cross brought service members several lap-size blankets to choose from. Some were crocheted, some were fleece. Others were lightweight. They meant a great deal to him because he knew the love and effort my mom put into the blankets she made for babies. Some infants she knew, and some she didn’t, but she prayed blessings over every child touched by those blankets.
Having said that, REMEMBER the POWER OF PRAYER. Jeff and I both knew prayers carried us through. God provides in the strangest ways. Following Him provides some amazing stories. That’s all I can say! People call just when you need to hear a voice of concern or comfort. They bring pizza when you crave it. They sneak you sweet tea! They send a card that makes you laugh.
Every kindness you extend matters, sometimes to the hospital staff. People remarked to us how much we loved my mom and how many people came to see her. Even if we were too tired to remember, others whom we did not know were moved. Dad was wrong when he said, “No good deed goes unpunished. Romans 8:28 tells us, “We must trust that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
If you or someone you care about is facing dialysis, please share your experiences and concerns. This is a forum for learning and inspiration. Please share your stories and questions. What were your experiences and challenges with dialysis?