Friday, August 13, 2010


Early this morning at dialysis:

Nurse Leslie: “I heard you had an interesting week.”

Jake: “Yeah, I almost got out of here.”

Leslie: “Well, at least you’re still at the top of the list. I mean, if you are getting called into the hospital, it will probably happen very soon.”

Jake: “I hope so... After they told me the family withdrew consent, I was OK with it, you know? I figured the family wasn’t expecting the death and if the donor hadn’t mentioned anything about the desire to donate, I can see how it could be a shock. But the next morning as I drove to work I looked at the clock on the radio and thought, ‘They’ve pulled the plug and the donor still has all of those healthy organs…’ and I became angry. Not against the family or anybody in particular, but angry at the fact there were good organs going to waste that could be of use to so many people... I wish the donor would have expressed their wishes to their family.”

Leslie: “It’s understandable to be angry…”

Jake: “Thanks, Leslie. I’m OK again now. I just have to accept the fact that those organs weren’t meant for me and I have to keep my hopes up for the next ones. It’s weird to think like that, isn’t it? That somebody has to die for me to receive a new kidney and a pancreas.”

Leslie: “I think it will happen soon for you, Jake.”

Jake: “Thank you. At least now I don’t think I’ll feel guilty when it does. I will be extremely grateful towards the donor family and I hope I can somehow express myself to them with a letter or a card or something. How can you express gratitude for the gift of a better life? There are no words to really convey it, are there?”

When I left the dialysis center two days ago, I thought it was for the last time. I was excited and relieved to get new working organs. I remember sitting in the chair for the last ten minutes of treatment and looking around the room at the various patients covered in blankets. Most of them are probably too old to receive transplants. I wonder if they would be happy for me or if they would feel discouraged when they heard of my escape.

But I haven’t escaped yet. I am back in the chair with tubes in my arm, shivering cold under a Snuggie and a blanket. I play a few rounds of online poker and I sleep. I feel drained when it’s over, but I am hopeful.

I am really looking forward to a better life.


  1. Jake I had no idea. I've been on and off Facebook for a while. And I remember that wonderfully funny video you sent me for my birthday.
    You are a considerate friend. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I had another friend who went through the same ordeal. That was three years ago. And, yes! he is still alive and has his brother's kidney. It was rough going till the transplant. Dialysis is not easy. When you feel despair please know that I am with you.
    God Bless You and send you a healthy donor soon.
    Your friend,
    Panama Smith

  2. it's hard 2 get ur hopes up & 2 get them crashing down again. O the pain!