Letter from Connecticut: Today’s the Day

USA sunrise

USA sunrise

My U.S. stepson and his wife are at the hospital. Today this wonderful man and father of three young boys will have both kidneys removed. After six more weeks of dialysis, he’ll receive a live transplant.

I wanted to write more about the bonds of love and friendship, about my beautiful, brave women friends who inspire everyone who knows them with the way they are facing a brain tumour and breast cancer, respectively. I wanted to write something about my mother and her ability to remain positive and loving even as her capabilities decline and her memory nearly disappears.

But today’s the day of the kidney surgery. My thoughts and prayers are with a young father who – so much like his father before him, my late husband Gary — has faced life-threatening medical issues and accompanying pain with calmness and determination and deep love for his family. He has continued to work despite a gruelling dialysis regime and has been steadfast and attentive with his sons. Seeing him talk, listen, share laughter, participate in their daily lives and pull them close for a hug is like seeing his father in action.

I’ve felt Gary’s presence on this journey. The surgery’s actual date had been for weeks a roller-coaster of uncertainty. The day I arrived in the U.S., it was confirmed for the exact day(s) I’d be visiting Connecticut. I like to think Gary had a hand in this, that because he couldn’t be here in person himself, he looked down from Heaven and said, ‘That’s it. Time for this to happen and it will happen when Carolyn is there to help out.’

It is always a joy to be with this family (and Max, the 20-pound cat keeping me company while the boys are at school). They gave me the gift of warmly welcoming Clive into the fold and yesterday we had a wonderful Skype with him. It moves me greatly that the boys and their parents seem to miss my hubby as much as I do.

I know Chris is in expert medical hands but I still find the entire journey very scary. Last night, I accompanied him to his final pre-surgery dialysis and found it reassuring the way the lovely nurses expressed both pleasure and a kind of ‘it’s-a-normal-thing’ attitude about today’s nephrectomy. When we left, they smiled at him and said, ‘See you Tuesday.’

Chris recently recommended the article ‘5 Bizarre Consequences of Being Given Somebody Else’s Organ’ as an eloquently and humorously-written view of what he’s gone through, is going through now and will go through in the future.

After long months of waiting for surgery, today’s the day.

AA boys

My wonderful husband Clive with my late husband Gary’s beautiful grandsons

6 Responses

  1. I just read the article and I feel so terrible about what Chris is going through and how amazingly strong he must be to carry on as he has feeling as bad as the article describes someone would with poor liver function. I hope he continues to improve and gets his life back to a something closer to normal even if it has to be some new kind of normal. x

  2. Elizabeth, thank you — he is very brave as is his wonderful wife. It’s a long road ahead but this was a momentous step. Appreciate your kind thoughts.

  3. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Barnabos! I hope to meet Chris someday, but for now, I’ll be optimistic about how things go today. Keep us posted!

  4. Thank you, Mary! All seems to have gone well and he’s doing okay tonight,though may have a longer hospital stay than originally planned. We are all very thankful and appreciate the positive thoughts.

  5. I was glad to read that Chris came through the surgery and is on the way to what will allow him to live a more active life with his family. Of course you are right, Carol: Gary is acting through you as you are there to help his son, daughter-in-law, and grandsons. I don’t doubt that you feel Gary’s presence in all this. I, too, read the article about the woman who had a kidney transplant and the surprising difficulties she had. It was interesting as well as amusing.

    My mom and I were glad to hear that Dottie is still Dottie even if she needs more help. Mom has often mentioned the number of extra helpers at her place who provide people with additional help beyond the activities of the staff. Mom mentioned that she played bridge this afternoon, and she is always more cheerful when she has been playing bridge.

  6. […] just returned to Felixstowe after a sobering two weeks in the USA. My stepson and dear friends continue to inspire everyone who knows them with their courage and […]

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