Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#transbrant: we're all okay

Dad in NYC, March 2015
It's been almost eight months.


That's practically almost kind of a year. 

On August 19, 2014, life changed dramatically for the Durrett family. My aunt generously donated a kidney to my dad, an entire organ from her own self, and now everything is okay.

Dad and Aunt Marcy, during his final dialysis session, August 18, 2014
Before that date, it would be a lie for me to say I did not live in fear of losing my dad every single day. Yes, kidney failure is a manageable (and fixable) condition (among all of my dad's other diagnoses), but no facts or science could soften the notion that my dad was broken and needed to be fixed in order to live. It was no mystery that he needed a machine to keep him alive, and that terrified me. I never really doubted that he would get fixed, but I am not sure I ever really believed it either. Things were kind of okay, but not really.

But that's not the story anymore.

Mom, Dad, and me in Austin, October 2014
My dad has functioning insides. His body works, the way that it was designed to (with some minor adjustments and with the aid of modern medicine). My dad can travel. He can eat bananas (among other things) again. He can leave town for a spontaneous adventure if he wants to. And, if you know anything about my dad, it is that he always does want to.

Dad and Mom in Central Park, March 2015
Recently, I returned from a vacation with my parents, a sort of celebration of seven months since the transplant. And my dad could do whatever he pleased. I almost cry every single time I think about that. And the man won't stop there. He continues to plan adventures for him and my mom all over the world.

This is not to say that things magically went from hard to easy on August 19. In fact, life for my dad (and those his life affects) is no cake walk. He has lots of medications he takes daily. There are lots of numbers he has to measure and record daily. There are more doctor visits each month than the average person has in a year. But these are actions we do now from a place of hope, facing a bright and joyful and promising and long future.

Jonathan (dialysis nurse for two years) and Dad, during final dialysis session, August 18, 2014
Some days are harder than others. Some days I still struggle to wrap my head around mortality in general and how it relates to my loved ones. Some days his numbers are not quite up to snuff or the medications make him feel gross.

But we are okay. All of us. My mom, my dad, my aunt, my grandparents, me, everyone. We made it through the scary part, all together. And everything is okay.

There is always hope. Always.

all my love,

April is #donatelife month! If donating life is something that you would like to learn more about, please feel free to ask me, or to check out donatelife.net. Any kind of organ donation saves lives!

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