Friday, September 23, 2016

Waiting for Someone to Rescue me from Kidney Failure

I hear you.  Yesterday's session in Nashville, "How to Have Your Donor Find YOU!" was an opportunity to meet some of you.Click here to see the clip with Harvey.

 The wait is discouraging. The statistics are overwhelming. And, you're tired.  Many of you have been on dialysis and spend more that half of your week exhausted. Kidney disease is affecting every organ in your body.

There is hope.  The Living Kidney Donor Network provides information to help you find a donor.  Harvey Mysel, director of the network said something that rang true for me.

There are people who are willing to be living donors.  The way to reach them is TELL YOUR STORY.  That's how I was moved to step forward for my cousin.

We lived 900 miles apart. It had been over 35 years since we'd seen each other.  It wasn't until she started telling her story that I reconnected.

Click here to visit the website, to learn more. Reach out to Harvey. Keep telling your story. Hang in there.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

We're Going Live!

 Have Your Donor Find YOU!

For the second time, the AAKP (American Association of Kidney Patients) has invited Harvey Mysel, director of the Living Kidney Donor Network, to facilitate a workshop at their National Patients Meeting at the Nashville Marriot. When I was considering donating a kidney, I learned a lot from Harvey's website.  We're going to go live right before the session gets going. Tune in at 12:30 CST.  I'll introduce you to Harvey and some of the folks involved with the American Association of Kidney Patients.  I also hope to meet some of the folks who, just like you, need to find a donor. 

 There a few spaces left.

Click here to email or call 312-473-3772 to reserve your spot. Ask a friend, family member, or an advocate to attend with you so they could help you with your "Kidney Kampaign." 
Click here to learn more about the workshop.  

Can't make it?  That's okay.  Click here to visit the Living Kidney Donor Network to learn more. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Take your prescriptions or else (the rest of the Facebook post)

(also known as How I got lost in a restaurant booth)

Who could have guessed that leaving my glasses at home would have caused such a disruption?  In my attempt to be a few minutes early for a lunch meeting, I left my glasses at home.

I have been wearing prescription glasses for over ten years, so it felt funny when I arrived at the restaurant.  I glanced at my phone to see if I had any messages. That's when it hit me.  I didn't have them.

Too late to go home.  I'd miss the meeting.  So, I decided to do the best that I could. Problem was, no one else showed up. The text on my phone screen was blurry at best.  I couldn't pull up the number, because it was on an email.  Oh, and I couldn't see to enter my password.  Bad to worse.

Fifteen minutes passed and I went ahead and got a booth. The waitress mentions that since they are part of a franchise, my friends might be at the other location.  Graciously,  they call and ask if there is a party waiting for me.  (Yes, it does sound that weird to say that out loud).  No, they inform me, there's no one there looking for me.

Still puzzled about the time mix-up, I decide to leave a tip for my troubles and head home.  That's when I thought I heard someone whisper.  Maybe it was just my insecurity, but I thought for sure I heard, "Do you think she can make it home?" By the way, my dear officer friends, my vision is not that bad yet.  I can drive without them. It's the small print that gets me.

When I got home and called my friend, he reminded me that we had rescheduled the meeting for the following week.  Oops.  I learned several lessons that day: 1. check emails frequently 2. It's okay to admit that I really need my glasses.

What about you? Have you ever found yourself feeling lost or frustrated? Tell me what happened. I'd love to know.

Where is Your Focus?

Notice the blossoms in the middle of the photo? I didn't.  I was just leaning back on a well-worn patio chair, with my feet propped on the table.  Wind chimes played a gentle tune as the morning breeze brushed my hair.

It wasn't until I went inside and viewed my downloads that I saw the group of blooms in the middle.  I recall seeing a yellow box surrounding them before I clicked.  That's when I remembered what my camera could do.  

If I waited before I clicked, my camera would automatically focus. All that I had to do was pause and choose where the box would zoom. Hmmmm. Sounds like a reminder about life.

Our days are filled with countless tasks.  It's not always a choice between good and evil.  Sometimes, it's between two things that are equally good.  

I'm passionate about helping people find kidney donors. Another cousin is heading into kidney failure. However, I'm also crazy about taking care of my teenager.  Then, there's my siblings. Oh, and my writing groups. Don't forget the neighbors.  Remember the volunteer roles at church.  And on and on.

It's time for me to stop and pause. I need to pause and let God direct my focus.  He is well aware of my desires, talents, temptations and time. He will help me accomplish what He has planned. Maybe if I follow his lead, I will enjoy more of the beauty along the way.

What about you? Is your life filled with critical tasks?  Are you torn between them?  Have you become exhausted?  What would happen if you paused and let God show you where to focus?  I'd love to know.  Please leave a comment. I'd love to pray for you.

"Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways."   (Proverbs 4:25-26 NIV)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Living Kidney Donors: Alert!

It's What You Can't See.

Yesterday's visit to our local ER was another reminder to use caution.  My son, Chris, and I had just removed our sagging, rotten, wooden walkway in our backyard.  I know that we were careful to put every nail in a bucket so that no one would do what I just did. 

I was headed back into the house. No,I didn't see any nails.  However, when I stepped on the loose board in front of the steps, I felt it slide right in. 

Howling,  I flew backward.   My first instinct was to pull the nail out.  I knew it was wrong, but pain was overriding common sense.  Thank God that my son was nearby. He told me not to look as neighbors helped me get into the car. I realized that all I could do was pray.

I had no idea if the nail had gone all the way through my foot.  I knew that the nails we pulled were rusty.  Most of them were long.  Generous comments were shared from folks in the waiting room, "That's going to hurt when it comes out. It looks like a construction nail. No, I think that it's a deck nail.  You know, the ones that twist so that they stay in longer."  See the nails in the photo.  The one on the top is about the size of the piece that was on the outside of my shoe.  I was worried that the rest was as long as the bottom one. 

They did get it out.  It was rusty. However, they weren't sure about what they couldn't see.  Xrays at every angle confirmed that there were no fragments in my foot. I was so relieved!  If that had been the case they would have had to operate to get it all out. Whew!

I left the ER with a grateful heart, a tetanus shot, and several prescriptions: an antibiotic and two pain killers.  One of the pain killers was for a heavy dose of Motrin .  As a kidney donor, I'm not supposed to take Motrin (Ibuprofen). This is an NSAID (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug).  Frequent use of these medications can lead to kidney failure.  Doctors recommend that kidney donors avoid these. Some people say that a short term use might not cause harm. I don't want to take any chances.  NSAIDs are hard on your kidney.  Instead, pain relievers with Acetaminophen, like Tylenol, can be used. I asked the nurse to enter it in my record so that any future visits would avoid NSAIDS.

I'm making sure to faithfully take my antibiotic until I finish the prescription. Just like the tip of the nail, many microscopic elements might have entered.  The adage is true-"It's what you can't see that can hurt you."

What about you? Have you had "near misses" after your kidney donation?  Do you have any safety tips that people need to know?