©2020 by Ralph Schudel

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    • Ralph Schudel

    The Gift of Life Part Two


    About two years ago my father started having some medical issues. He began feeling fatigued and experiencing acute swelling in his legs. Doctors gave him multiple diagnoses. Some experts suggestion minor conditions were to blame and others blamed more severe conditions. The scariest diagnosis being a form of Blood Cancer.

    Luckily this was not the case.

    More tests were conducted and it was found out he was being plagued by something called IgA nephropathy. A disease that occurs when an antibody lodges itself in the kidneys and begins to attack the tissue.

    The patient doesn't feel effects for sometime as they slowly present themselves. The condition results in local inflammation as the kidneys begin to lose their ability to filter wastes from the blood. This can cause anything from swelling to forgetfulness.

    This was the case with my father as suddenly this vivacious man had his wings clipped. What were simple tasks quickly resulted in my father being hampered. This lead to an active man having to relinquish his role and give up some control.

    A donor quickly stood up and volunteered to donate. Our family was very thankful for the kind gesture but as time progressed the donor wasn't able to meet the commitment and was disqualified.

    This resulted in my father having to be placed on dialysis. It was a result we wanted to avoid for as long as possible but it was something that had to be done in order to insure a better quality of life.

    Albeit, not a perfect life.

    Finally a donor emerged and changed the trajectory of my father's life forever and on September 15th, both of their lives would change forever.

    We arrived at the hospital early that morning as they began preparation on my father for the transplant. Once the preparation was completed, my father was rolled down to the operating room.

    If you've never been part of an organ transplant the process is very intriguing.

    The doctors take the donor down to the operating room first and begin the process of harvesting the organ. Once the donor is prepped and ready the recipient is wheeled down to the OR.

    The organ is then removed from the donor and placed on ice. One of the doctors then walks the organ across the hall where it is placed into the recipient.

    The whole process is quite remarkable and done with tremendous focus and precision.

    After spending a few days in the hospital my father is home safe and sound. Both him and the donor are recovering and should be back to normal in a few weeks.

    It's amazing that such a selfless act can change someone's life forever. I cannot tell the donor how thankful I am for a second chance at life for my dad. There are some truly remarkable people in this world and I'm privileged to know a true hero.


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