Dinner last night was quiche, broccoli and (thanks to a good friend!) homemade blueberry cheesecake. My mom's best friend was visiting, so it was a nice 'company' dinner. Stories around the table ranged from food in Paris to our favorite Christmas memories. It was lovely.
I drove my mom's friend home, and we chatted about Babygirl and this week's lab results. The fact that she needs extra blood work to follow up the blood work took mom's friend by surprise, even though for us it is more or less a matter of routine.
"Is she okay? Is she having rejection issues?"
Well, she's okay, but not great. The loss of the equivalent of two-plus pints of blood with no visible reason is troubling, and she's feeling tired. And her doctors' method of searching for where it went does not in anyway match what I would do for a patient (I'd look for blood in the stool. They're testing for Parvovirus.), so this is one of those many moments where being a doctor only makes things more mystifying LOL.
She's been having rejection issues. We know her body is fighting the new kidney, and there's nothing we can do about it besides follow instructions and pray. Near as I can tell that doesn't really have much to do with the missing blood - it's just the underlying reality of our lives.
"She's not going to, you know, die, is she?"
Her question, however misguided, is actually a common one in our world. People ask me this all the time. The motivation for the question varies: Prurient interest, ignorance, genuine concern. And how I answer varies with the situation: "We are all dying, aren't we?" "She's a sick little girl, and we worry enough about her without thinking about things like that!" "She's got a long road ahead of her and we can't predict how it will turn out." Depends on how evil or irritable I feel. It's actually quite entertaining to make someone realize that they are being an entirely inappropriate and hurtful ass.
Mom's friend was expressing concern, and like most people who ask, more interested in Babygirl than in my kicked-in-the-gut reaction. So I told her the average life expectancy of a transplanted kidney (15 years), the number of times kids Babygirl's age require transplantation (3-4), the general risks of surgery and dialysis, and the fact that odds are that Babygirl will NOT die of old age.
It's a depressing thought. But the brighter thought is the answer to the flip question: "What would have happened to her if you hadn't adopted her?"
Because the answer to THAT question is simple. "She'd be dead already."
Somewhere between her diagnosis two years ago and now, she'd have died without dialysis and transplantation. So whenever I face the hard questions about the future, I have to rejoice in the fact that she HAS one. Whatever struggles we face, whatever challenges present themselves, whatever fears, doubts, questions and sorrows are ahead, they are AHEAD, and we have THIS day to live and enjoy. Every single day with Babygirl in it is a gift worth any price.
PS If you have a friend with a sick loved one, don't ask that are-they-gonna-die question. If your friend shares the he-only-has-two-months info, commiserate. Otherwise, keep your curiosity to yourself.