The gift

I’m sure by now you all know just how blessed I am with friends.  I am surrounded by funny, clever, ballsy women who grab life by the throat and shake it until it gives up the goods.

They are astonishingly well read, well travelled and talented.  And they are generous in never making me feel less than them, even though I’ve not read as much, seen as much or been as well educated.  It might seem like an odd thing to note, but trust me, I’ve know enough folk who would happily try to belittle folk even when they hadn’t got the wherewithal to pull it off (and no, I don’t spend time with them any more.)

For as long as I’ve know her my friend C has suffered from end stage renal failure. This has resulted in her life being made smaller by her illness.  Her food choices are restricted to only the blandest of things.  Her travel is limited by the need to be close to her hospital.  Hospital appointments come thick and fast. She gets tired. And, most recently, she has been on dialysis.

And let me tell you, dialysis is brutal.  BRUTAL.  Don’t be fooled by the TV images of folk sat around in big comfy chairs chatting whilst the machines do their work. Think bruises worthy of a car crash.  Lumps and swellings.  Painful surgeries to insert the necessary gubbins.

C has borne this with a grace and calm that I don’t possess when everything in the garden is rosy.  Never mind when I’m exhausted, nauseous and in pain.  I’m crap with a cold.  I cannot imagine how I’d deal with a life threatening illness. Certainly not without complaining…which C never does.

She is pretty bloody amazing, you know.

And on Thursday of last week…she got The Call.

You know the one.  The one that has you out of bed in the wee small hours and on the way to the hospital for a day of more tests and interminable waiting.

Waiting for the kidney to arrive.

Waiting to know for sure that it’s all going to go ahead.

Waiting to know if the transplant has worked.

On Thursday my friends and I turned the phone lines red hot as we waiting with her.  Constant texts and emails kept the information flowing and our spirits up as we hoped for the best, and tried not to explode with hope and joy.

Late in the night, C sent a final text.

We waited and prayed.

And at a little after 8am on Friday morning, she texted again.

The kidney was in, it was working and she was feeling fine.  Sore yes, but most definitely fine.

She’s still in hospital, of course.  But is making great progress.  Fast progress. She’s on her feet and will be home very soon. We are beyond all words to express how grateful we are that our amazing friend will be well again.

But we have not forgotten the family that lost someone they loved so that we could feel this joy.

They have been in our thoughts and prayers these last few days.  We don’t know who they are, but we are humbled by their gift of life at such a heartbreakingly sad time for them.

Most probably they will never read these words, but I hope that in some way they know that across this land there are families and friends of people whose lives have been transformed beyond recognition, and our gratitude and thankfulness is as deep as their grief.

Let’s not forget that we can all change someone’s life.  I’m not sure of the position in other countries, but here in the UK, at the moment you need to register to donate your organs.

It’s a really simple thing to do.

It doesn’t take very long.

But should, God forbid, anything happen to you, your organs can save another’s life. And not just one person.  But several.

So please, please, please…before you read the next blog, or make another cup of tea, go to NHS Blood and Transplant, or your country’s equivalent, and register to donate your organs.  Tell your family members of your wishes, and, if you can, get them to sign up to.

Thank you.


31 Responses to The gift

  1. Oh Evie, what a beautiful post, I am crying right now as I’m so happy for your friend and all those around her who love her. I support your message about registering, I’ve always told those around me that shouly anything ever happen to me I want to donate so that someone could benefit. It’s wonderful that you have given thought to the person who really gave the ultimate gift. I hope your pal continues to thrive and can soon live her life again to the max.

    • Thank you. It took me 3 days to stop bursting into tears every 5 minutes.
      Becoming a donor is such a simple thing to do and it’s makes such a difference to the lives of the recipient. I can’t begin to express our compassion and gratitude to the donor family. And thank you for being a donor too.

  2. Oh my, So happy for your friend. What a wonderful gift of life 🙂

  3. It’s interesting to read from your perspective. My friend donated a kidney to her brother on Monday. I’ve been so worried about her and yet all the time thinking about her family who will obviously be worried about both siblings.

    • Oh my. I do hope both siblings are doing well. It’s physically harder on the donor than the recipient, but my friend is recovering fast, and I wish the same speedy recovery to your friends.

  4. Andrea says:

    Wow – what an amazing story. I will be sending good karma to your friend and to the donor’s family. In Canada you also have to register to be an organ donor. I did it the minute I got a health card in this country, I carry my donor card in my wallet and have broadcasted my wishes to be a donor to everyone in my family. Quite frankly, if you go, you won’t need your healthy organs on the other side so why not have someone else upcycle them, right? Here’s to your friend C’s fast recovery and to a long and healthy life ahead.

    • I’ve always been a registered donor too. The bits are no good to me when I’ve gone. I love the thought of upcycling your organs. Inspired!
      C came home yesterday which completely astonished us.
      Thank you for you good wishes.

  5. K-Line says:

    Oh, what a gorgeous post!!! I love it! I’ve completed the organ donor card… My best wishes to your friend. What a terrific outcome after a time of such hardship I can’t even imagine.

  6. Thanks for sharing…. I’m a donor. It’s important to be conscious of life’s delicacy.

  7. Vicki Kate says:

    I nearly bawled reading this during coffee break on yet another course. I am so thankful for the generosity of that family that have given your friend such a gift. Love and prayers to her and her family and friends.

  8. Béa says:

    Done. And thank you for encouraging us to register.

  9. Such lovely news. I’m so happy for your friend. I hope the other family who made this happen for her realise how much they have improved her life even through their loss. . organ donation is so important and so easy to register (stick it on your boots advantage card!). And while on a similar topic, everyone go and give blood – a little thing that almost everyone can do!

  10. That has to be the most appreciated gift anyone can ever have. My best wishes to your friend for a speedy recovery.

  11. Anne-Marie says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post Evie. My best wishes to your friend.

  12. Susan says:

    Such a lovely post, thank you for using your platform for spreading this ultra-important message. I am tremendously happy for your friend and for the others whose lives were so positively impacted by this donor’s generosity. Speedy recovery to C!

  13. lovely post. love to you and yours

  14. Shar says:

    Your friend C sounds like such a special lady! I’m so happy for her. A co-worker of mine received a kidney from her brother this past spring and she’s doing great. Best wishes for a quick recovery C!

  15. prttynpnk says:

    Wonderful post! As someone who works in a surgery center and sees the trials of these patients, I applaud the win and her new freedoms.

  16. Solange says:

    Your friend is lucky to have such sweet friends and I do really hope she’ll recover well and soon!
    My husband and I put our names in the Italian organ donors register a few years ago, he’s also a blood donor since last April and I’m waiting to become blood donor but had a miscarriage in June and have to wait until the end of the year.
    It doesn’t cost anything really, but giving pays back in so many ways.

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