Saturday, May 31, 2008

What a week!

I honestly can’t remember a time when I felt so much anger toward another person. I hate that feeling! When you are a happy person, anger tends to take its toll on you in ways that are somewhat unfamiliar. Depression is an aftermath that I am currently dealing with. And I keep thinking, if I have depression, what must Dave be feeling? It’s been a tough week.

Thank you to so many of our friends who have called and let me vent (once again) over the phone. I bet you never knew just how fast I could talk?? It’s a West Coast thing. We tend to talk exceptionally fast! :) I really needed you guys this week. Kim…you are my life saver, my sister! Let me know how much I need to chip in for your phone bill! Todd will probably want to kill both of us! Why did God put such good friends so many miles apart???

The one lesson I think I have learned this week, is that God will use even the bad stuff for His purposes. If you-know-who had not come into our lives when he did, we might still be at UCLA, waiting on “whatever we thought we were waiting on” to get Dave on the national transplant list. When we thought we could expedite the surgery at another hospital we got on it, immediately. Cedars ended up having an even more successful transplant program. Now we have things moving ahead with two other possible donors and we are at a place that can handle Dave’s rejection factor. So, all in all, we still owe what’s- his- name a debt of gratitude. (OK, so I’m not there yet….)But I do have faith that God will help us find a way.

We are still waiting to hear about the other’s results. They don’t want to test me unless they have to, which I understand, but am not happy about.

To my other (local) girlfriends….Chinese food time! PF Changs, in either Newport Beach or Mission Viejo. Let’s make plans, soon.

Again...thanks for all the prayers. They keep us going, really!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Scam....Sham....Shake-down ????

I remember hearing those words, "...If something looks too good to be true, it probably is." Being an optimist, I don't usually hold on to that philosophy. I believe that people are innately good. I believe that there is a common brotherhood among men, and that we will strive to do what is right, even when faced with opposition. I know...I have been called Polyanna many times before!

So, how do I take being shaken down for money? It has never happened before, that is until last night.

Dave and I met with our new friend, ("the kidney donor"...I won't mention his name here) out in Riverside to discuss how things were progressing. He showed us his test results, which were stellar! His kidneys virtually function at a 50% capacity on each side, which is a real rarity! Most people have a 60 / 40 ratio, and the donated kidney is of course the lesser of the two. His other results were just as good....a prime candidate to donate a very good kidney!

Then it happened. Something neither of us saw coming. He started talking about money. How a man in NYC had contacted him and was willing to pay $500,000. for the organ. How donating his kidney would adversely affect his health insurance coverage, his life insurance premiums and how he would be worried if he could afford school, should there be a complication. How his dream of being a firefighter would be lost, and how money would at least be something to fall back on.

Stunned, Dave and I just sat there and listened. Of course having second thoughts about donating an organ to another person is normal. We would be surprised if he had not had second thoughts. But the money kept coming up. A lot of money. There was never any talk of money fact he was the guy who said he hated injustice, and that the rich are the ones who can afford to buy organs, and that he was NOT in it for money. We took him at his word.

First, it's illegal for us to buy someone off. Secondly, it just seems a little too strange that all of a sudden there is talk of money....and was this his final offer? Would the amount progressively go up? Should we have brought an attorney into this whole altruistic game? Probably! The weirdest thing was that he told us both his pastor and nephrologist told him not to feel badly about taking money for his kidney. They told him there was nothing wrong with doing that. Now, I may not know what church he attends, but I have worked in the medical profession. There is no doctor that I have ever met or would want to work with who would condone selling one's organs. (Especially a doctor that runs an organ donation program at a leading teaching hospital.) It goes against the very thing they stand for. But even if they did personally believe in it, there is no way they would tell a patient to go to the highest way! I would also assume that most men of the cloth would opt to tell one of their congregants to abide by their sense of right and wrong. Pray for clarity. Maybe steer him towards integrity over asking for a dollar amount. But there are wacky churches out there, so perhaps a pastor did give him the advise to sell to the highest bidder. Who really knows?

The qustion that keeps haunting the two of us is will this man be coming back to us for more money with every health issue or financial issue he ever has? While we would certainly accept responsibility to pay higher premiums on his life insurance or make sure that he has health insurance the rest of his life, we would do it legally. We would owe him a so much, of course! But now we are just worried that this will turn up and bite us, maybe continually for many years.

All we can do at this point is hope that Dave's cousin John is a good match. My brother and I didn't test yet, since we thought "the kidney donor" was a done-deal. So we will do our testing this week. I wouldn't be able to donate until next year, anyway.

Poor Dave. I feel so badly for him. We do have faith that God will get us through this. Better we find out now that there was something strange going on, than the day of the surgery when all is set to go.

Thanks for the prayers. We know God will provide a way.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Everything is looking good!

We received word from Cedar's Sinai that Alex's results are back, and everything looks very good! The next step is to have the surgeon look over the other donor's information and blood test results and decide who is the best match for Dave.

I can't tell you how happy we are to hear that things are progressing so quickly.

On an opposite note, Dave was scheduled to have his hernia repair this last Friday, but somehow the nurse, who booked the surgery, forgot to put it on the doctor's schedule. That was a bit alarming! Although, in retrospect, it was a good thing. Dave had a business trip to New Orleans that he had literally just ended. He was pretty tired from the travel and extended time without dialysis. It worked out well that he had this weekend to just rest.

Keep those prayers up. Things are really looking like they are coming together, possibly even scheduling the transplant for the late Summer.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Back to,....really!

I’m a 40 year old sophomore! Yes, I guess you can say I am going through a mid-life crisis, now. Although it might have been easier to get a sports car! After several years of thinking about going back to school, I have finally plunged into it. I thought about going further with my nursing career, maybe going for my practitioner’s license, but since I have been out of the field for so many years, I would have to re-do a lot of my sciences over, anyway. Let’s just say I am pretty rusty!!

After a lot of thought, and prayer, I am going for my B.A. in Communications, with an emphasis in business marketing. What will I do with that? Well I guess that part is up to God, and wherever He may lead me. I don’t worry about that stuff these days. :) The bad part is that a lot of what I took in college for my nursing is not transferable to this degree. Like I said, I’m a 40 yr old sophomore. How funny is that?

I’ve been in class for over a month and am doing great. I love being back at school, and using a part of my brain that I sort of had to dust off! It’s good to be busy in a productive way.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Officially Open

Just wanted to let everyone know that Dave's case was submitted to the transplant committee yesterday, and they have approved him!! Once we are all tested, we will proceed with whoever is the best match, and get the transplant done (hopefully) by the end of Summer. We went to Outback last night with the kids, to celebrate! What a huge relief. God is good, for sure!

Thank you for the prayers!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Testing Begins

Dave’s case did not make it to committee last week, but we are expecting it to go through this week. After a few days on the phone with all sorts of business office people, they have allowed Alex to test for donor compatibility. He went down to LA yesterday, and we should know within 2 weeks if he is a match!

We got Dave’s histology results back yesterday, and I haven’t a clue how to read them! There is one area that is concerning us, and that is this value that sometimes indicates a higher rate of organ rejection. The number should be below 30% (essentially his body would reject 30% of all donors). His number is 66%. We freaked a bit on that. But I spoke to the nurse in charge of Dave’s case, and she said that at Cedar’s they can do an infusion of some kind of Immuno-globulin thing that will decrease his antibodies. I know…too much jargon! What it means is that they have ways to deal with this sort of situation! Thank God!

If Alex is a match in the other areas then things are looking good to move ahead! Please continue to lift this up to God. We are so thankful for your prayers!!