Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today with the story of her recent adventure and how all the stars aligned in her favor.
The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.
Of all the Christmas gifts I’ve received over the years, this year I received the best one ever. It was from an anonymous person. The gift was a kidney.
Backstory—in 2004 I had a severe allergic reaction to topical cat flea medicine. One kidney died right away; the other held on for 10 years. In 2013 it was functioning at 13%, which meant dialysis.
Dialysis is not a death sentence that people make it out to be. The 5 a.m. shift is daunting but once in the chair and bundled in blankets, it was easy to go back to sleep. Three hours passes quickly.
Three years later the long awaited call came in from Portland, OR, VA where the VA does kidney and liver transplants. It’s the #1 transplant center in the nation. I had 3 hours to pack, drive 40 miles to the Fresno VA for my plane ticket and catch the plane. I had little time to contact key people who would watch my house and have my check book to pay the bills.
I was checked in on Friday night; surgery was Sunday afternoon. The doctors were pleased with the donor kidney. My speedy recovery amazed them. I never even took a pain pill. I was released from the hospital on Wednesday and sent to the military lodge to stay.
We are required to have someone to take care of us, make meals, count out daily pills (56) and pretty much play nurse. Most of the vets were men and had wives; I had the daughter of a college friend. We were bussed to the hospital for the many lab tests and check-ups. They flew her in from Utah and neither of us had to pay a penny. Your tax dollars at work.
But we heard that a patient had died from his stay at the lodge. Black mold. Overnight we were transported to the Marriott. I stayed there for just under 2 months. We went from basic necessities to a kitchen in every room, maid service, free breakfast and appetizers 3 nights a week.
I was released just before Thanksgiving. My friends expected me to be frail and I had to convince them that I’d never felt better. I get to eat more things now that I’m not restricted (cheese, ice cream, chocolate!). But the idea of a transplant frightens people. Is it the surgery, a foreign organ inside them, the side effects? People freak at taking lots of pills, but I’m already down to 38 a day. It seems a small sacrifice to pay. My hands shake from 2 of the meds, trying to use scissors is tricky. So is turning a page in the newspaper Yes, I have an impressive scar (which I posted on FB) but I wasn’t planning on wearing a bikini anytime soon.
The message I hope you take away from this post is this: Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Don’t underestimate your resilience. Learn about your illness in order to make informed decisions Concentrate on the positive in every situation. Accept prayers.