Lee, who received my left kidney York last December 16, is now in email correspondence with Gloria, who is scheduled to receive her new kidney in less than two weeks. Thanks for the outpouring of prayers and well wishes from readers for Gloria’s transplant to go as planned!
Gloria is naturally nervous about her upcoming major surgery. She asks Lee questions about things like anti-rejection drugs (all transplant recipients take these), and how long it will take to heal, and what else should she know? Lee responds promptly and in detail, full of warm support and encouragement. (“You’re a good writer!” I exclaim. “Would you like to write a guest post?” Waiting to see how she feels about that.)
I feel deep, quiet joy as Lee and Gloria connect with each other. I’ve always been one who likes to make introductions and build social webs. But the webbing has never before been around a life and death topic.
Backstory: Lee, an Asian-American woman age 46 in the Bay Area, has four kidneys in her body, just one of them working. (Exactly one kidney is what’s needed, as my own good health attests.) Lee’s father died of kidney failure when she was young. Her own kidneys failed when she was in her twenties, and she received her first transplant due to her mother donating a kidney to her. As is usual with kidney transplants, her spent kidneys stayed in her body (this surprised me; our bodies are that flexible and accommodating?!).
Lee’s transplanted (third) kidney lasted about 20 years before failing. Enter York on December 16, 2020, the kidney formerly known as mine and now very much Lee’s. Kidney York is named after the only African-American member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, a brave man who went into new territory, worked invisibly behind the scenes, and is now finally honored with a striking statue in a forested park half a mile from my house. Statue York was created and placed by an anonymous artist in the dead of night last February. Some of us love that, including my friend Thad, a very handy guy who said upon learning about the guerilla art installation, “I would have loved to help with that!”
I know how he feels. Objects need to find their perfect homes, and they need assistance on the journey. Kidney York has its perfect home in Lee. Gloria’s new kidney is finding its way to her. Glory be.