5 years ago today it was raining hard and was cool. Emily and I were in the kitchen making homemade Mallomar Cups (marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers.)
I called mom for something important, I am sure, and dad answered the phone saying that she was hurrying home from the store.
He didn’t tell me why. He just hung up which was strange.
I saw mom’s car speed by my house and I waited the appropriate amount of time before I called over there again to find out what was going on.
“Hi. What’s Up?” I asked.
“They just called! We have to pack! They have a kidney for Jim! We have to get down there right now!” And she hung up.
There are images in my head of that tumultuous time. Precious, vivid images. The Good, The Bad and The Funny.
I remember packing without a list which still leaves me amazed that I remembered everything.
I remember Tyler, shocking me, by racing to come with us. We were just dating back then.
I remember the torrential rain and how insistent I was that I drove despite Tyler pleading me not to since I might have been a little preoccupied.
I remember my mom crying hard when I first saw her.
Worrying. Wondering. Waiting.
I remember Emily being thrilled to death that she got to sleep in the special waiting room to wait out the 8 hour surgery.
I remember her still being thrilled at 3 AM when we got back to our hotel room.
I remember Tyler sitting on the other side of the hospital room curtain, too grossed out to see my dad and all of the tubes.
I remember my thrice daily walks to Starbucks getting my newly discovered Mochas. Thank goodness I didn’t know then how many calories were in them.
I remember how the nurses, surgeons and doctors were so impressed that a 5 year old could be so patient and cooperative.
I remember a PA teaching Emily how to do the Cat’s Cradle.
I remember being so sad to leave my family when I had to go back home after a week.
I remember the loneliness, the worry, the anger when they didn’t tell me something had gone wrong.
I remember seeing my dad’s watch go all the way up to his elbow and kidding him that it wasn’t fair that he was thinner than me.
I remember watching Hurricane Katrina in their hotel room, wondering if they would ever get the OK to come home.
Nope. Not yet.
I remember the extreme joy and excitement on the way back to pick them up and bring them home.
Safe and Sound.
I remember the sheer exhaustion of having this entire ordeal be over.
I remember that 1st year – treating him with a kid glove. Special rules. Special diet. Special pills. A new life. A healthy life.
But, that was 5 years ago…
And every year he goes back for a visit to the Mayo Clinic to check on his kidney and every year they tell him how awesome he is.
And then there is this year. Oh how the times have a changed…
They went down to the Mayo this year and I get a text from my mom. It says this:
REMIND ME TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE BLOOD!
Umm. Huh? What?
Apparently, he had an access put in so everyone and there brother could draw his blood. He has had it before. He had some appointments, went back to their hotel to rest and were heading out to dinner when mom noticed dad’s white shirt was covered in blood.
Yes, he wore a WHITE shirt. And you can bet it was a good shirt because my dad is a total fashionista.
Then mom applied a tourniquet and his hand turned blue.
It all worked out in the end.
They are home now and all is well. Dad’s kidney is fantastic and so is he.
Except he needs a new white shirt.