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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Finding Out Someone Would Save My Life

Because yesterday was the ninth anniversary of my second kidney transplant, I thought I would share an excerpt from my book, which is in the final editing process.  Maybe it's fitting that it will probably be published in September.  It's a month of intense highs and lows for me.


Why is the word always associated with an unwelcome surprise?  The term comes from something approaching from outside your field of vision, your “blind” side, catching you off guard.

     It’s a situation I am only too familiar with.  With non-existent peripheral vision, people and objects always seem to come out of nowhere.  I get blindsided almost every day.  It can cause everything from mild surprise to injury. 

     But, it’s possible to be blindsided by something good.  Out of nowhere, exactly what you need.  Sometimes, it’s far beyond what you hoped for.  You find yourself saying, “I never would have expected that in a million years.”

     Chance?  Maybe.  Luck?  Probably.  God?  Yes.

     There’s no other explanation for an unexpected gift so completely unselfish that it leaves you shaking your head in awe.  A gift of such profound generosity that Hallmark doesn’t make a greeting card to express the gratitude you feel.  That’s divine intervention.  That is all the proof anyone needs for the existence of a mysterious, but loving God.

     I guess you could say God made me legally blind—and has blindsided me over and over since then.    



     My parents and I sat in the waiting area of transplant office at OU Med Center.  I was there for a checkup with Dr. Squires.  We had been there long enough for them to finish reading the Ft. Smith and Greenwood newspapers they had brought to keep them entertained during the wait.  Mom was reminding me of things to ask Dr. Squires.

     She added, “And be sure to tell him that Connie wants to donate a kidney,so find out how that works.”  


     “What are you talking about?” I said.  “Who is Connie?”

     Did I hear her right?  Someone wants to give me a kidney? 

     “Didn’t I tell you Connie Grote wants to give you a kidney?” she asked.


     “Oh, I thought I had told you about that,” she said, a little embarrassed at the oversight.

     “Someone wants to give me a kidney?”  I asked incredulously. 

     “Yes, Connie Grote, who cuts my hair, offered to give you one.”

     At that moment, the nurse called my name and I went to have my vital signs checked, which was the first part of a typical appointment at the transplant office.  My throat had suddenly gone dry and I could barely speak to the nurse.  This unexpected announcement had triggered a dozen emotions all at once. 

     Someone wants to give me a kidney!  I can’t believe this.  I don’t even know her.  Mom said her name is Connie something.

     I couldn’t even remember her last name.  I wanted to dart back to the waiting area and ask my mother for more details.  She had just casually dropped this information in my lap and now I had to have my checkup.  While waiting in the examining room, I pressed my thumb and forefinger in the corners of my eyes to stop the tear ducts.  Shock, gratitude, curiosity, desperation, hope, skepticism, worry, relief, exhilaration—those and a dozen other emotions elbowed each other out of the way in a rush to the front of my brain, which had suddenly grown crowded with thoughts and unfamiliar emotions I didn’t have a name for. 

     “I just found out someone wants to give me a kidney,” I told Barbara, the transplant coordinator as she began to go over my medications on my chart.

     “That’s wonderful,” she said.  I can’t remember what else she said, or what all Dr. Squires told me when I shared the news with him.  He explained all the steps necessary for her to be tested to make sure she was a suitable donor for me. 

     After my checkup, my parents and I went to eat lunch in Bricktown, an area of Oklahoma City with several restaurants.  It was our custom, but this time was different.  Over lunch, I told my parents what Dr. Squires had said about the subject of a live donor and got as many details as I could from my mother. 

     Mom said she had talked to Connie about my situation the last few times she had gone for a haircut. 

     “One day, she tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘I’ll give your son a kidney.’  Well, I was flabbergasted.” Mom said.  So, the news had come right out of the blue to her just as it had for me. 

     She went on, “I asked her ‘Connie, what if someone in your own family needs a kidney someday?’  She said ‘God will take care of them.’  So I said ‘Well, OK then.’  Can you believe that?” 

There's more to that chapter, but you have the main part.  It's actually the first part I wrote when I started the book.  It just seemed like the right place to start.  What do you think?

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