Tag Archives: family rescources on kidney disease

An Appeal To Live

Appeal To Live and be optimistic about Kidney Donation

Appeal To Live and be optimistic about Kidney Donation

An Appeal To LiveCan you even talk about an Appeal To Live? How does one make an appeal for something so precious as to save a life? How would you ask friends to part with some rather integral equipment in order to save your own life? How do you ask someone to give up their kidney in order to save your life?

I have never been in this position to ask, but I have spent time with kidney patients and though it took me a while to understand their mindset, I think I finally get it.

I believe them when the mindful stuttering begins, this sudden impasse in brain circuitry. Though their minds were clear moments ago, the mere suggestion of a living donor usually stops them in their tracks. They will eventually give me their reasons–the thoughtful, meditative respite after painful examination and conclusion. I am sure they must have rehearsed their answers for weeks and months and yes, even years.

Their conclusions will be short, ideas conceived about the health of others and certainly family ties and plans for generations to come. I listen. I always listen though I probably already know the story. But I wish for a new story, so I listen. I know it involves life-an Appeal To Live!

Kidney patients for the most part live in isolation. They connect to machinery that cleans blood, sometimes at home and more often at a dialysis clinic. They have no choice if their inexhaustible desire is to live and though this life process commands and dictates their lives, they comply and command themselves to survive another day. I have watched dialysis patients give up. They do so in many fashions, but as life leaves, their eyes become empty. Their stare is a void and some whimper. Who can hold them, sit with them, and tell them it will be all right when, in fact, it cannot be without a transplant?

When my own father was alive, he used to tell me that my biggest problem was refusing to believe that everybody was different, that others, my siblings as well, marched to the beat of a different drum and they would never be able to see the world through my eyes. Now, I think about him often as I try to grasp the world through the eyes of people so utterly sick that the simple act of existing is as much as they can expect of their bodies.

Why wouldn’t they ask for a kidney donation? Why wouldn’t they do whatever is necessary to extend life? This troubles me, and I suppose by a lack of concern within our communities. I am ill with confusion, at times consumed with rage and I wonder if I am alone. I even went so far as to try to donate my own kidney, but was told I was too old.

In general, I think people are consumed with lack of perspective and my obvious discomfort indicates that I suffer from this tragedy as well. Often securely locked inside our own minds, generations of repeated rituals continue, and we are usually correct.

And if others disagree, they are certainly wrong, but all of this rehearsal and focus on being right, I have discovered, is a waste of time. If I needed a kidney transplant and if I were hooked to a machine several times per week, I would find a way to get a living donor to offer up their most valuable resource: an organ.

Appeal To Live

In this case I would be hesitant to find anybody who disagreed with me, that is, except for those who actually need a kidney. Still, I would charge on. No way would I sit idly by and wait my turn. Wait for someone to die so that I can live. Not a chance I would be compliant, wondering if tomorrow will come. I would make sure tomorrow arrived and with the dawn of the new day, I would expect a used kidney to be waiting for me. I would be right and you and I would agree. We would both be absolutely correct. And this thinking, this lack of perspective is what has caused me great pain and terrible emotional trauma.

When a friend of mine told me that I would end up living in a commune in Northern California, it did not trouble me. His insistence that I was joining the left wing radicals because of my thinking had certainly unnerved him. All I had done was to retell the story a group of Buddhists had conveyed to me during a particularly difficult time of my life. So insistent on being right, I was shaken for days when I was told that there really is no such reality as right and wrong. These doctrines firmly engrained into our soul are really, in fact, just labels human beings use to justify their actions. In essence, we are all right and, I was told, we are surely as wrong.

Unless I needed a kidney transplant in order to live, I couldn’t gain the perspective of a kidney patient. I have no idea how it feels to stare death down each day and I have no idea what it must be like to have to ask someone for his or her kidney so that I could live. Yet, I can help kidney patients not by building a bridge between patients and would-be donors, but by understanding that what is right for me is not necessarily right for them. During my life, I have had to stand in the center of the fire with this dichotomy. The uncertainty is all I know and now I bring it to the kidney world. Isn’t this the right thing to do?