This I Believe

Karen - Colfax, Wisconsin
Entered on May 1, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family

Families Are Important

I believe in family.

After my father passed away, my Aunt sent me a copy of family members’ birthdates. She listed when they passed on and what they died from. As I read the information, I couldn’t help but wonder: Are there health problems we should know about? What if there is an illness? Does someone in the family need blood? I believe in family.

As it turns out, about four years ago my nephew really needed his family AND our medical history. He was diagnosed with renal (kidney) failure at the age of twenty-four. He was working out East, and one day he called home and told grandma that his feet were swelled up. The next day he called and said that his legs and feet were swollen, and his grandma Phyllis told him to go to the local hospital.

When Adam was first diagnosed, his mother flew out and after a few more days of testing they came home. Adam had to see the doctors right away, setting up more tests and kidney dialysis. Adam was scheduled for dialysis twice a week and an appointment was made at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. While at the Mayo Clinic, doctors talked about transplants, because what Adam had was not going away. His kidneys were shutting down. I believe in family.

Adam and his mother, Linda, were at the Mayo Clinic when the doctors were performing different tests on Adam. The doctors asked Linda if she would be tested for a kidney donor. She replied “Yes!” They did testing on Linda and found her to be a match. I believe family.

More tests followed and the transplant date was set. Adam and Linda were both going in for surgery. Adam’s sister, step-father, grandma, dad, step-mother, and step-sister were there for the surgeries. His brother, Craig, and I drove down in the evening after Craig was through with work. I believe in family.

When Craig and I arrived we went in Adam’s room to visit, then to Linda’s room as they were on different floors in the hospital. The rest of the family told how the doctors said upon attaching the donated kidney it worked right away which was a good sign. I believe in family.

Adam’s sister, brother Craig, stepfather, and I would have been tested if his mother hadn’t been a match. Adam’s father refused to be tested. This may sound weird since I don’t have any children, but I can’t believe a father wouldn’t do everything in his power to help their own flesh and blood. I believe in family.

Although Adam continues to take medicine every day so as not to reject the transplanted kidney, he needs follow up exams regularly. Adam will probably need another kidney down the road, and I will offer mine if it’s a match. After all, I believe in family.