Health It's Just A Cheek Swab

Part 9: Wow, The Waiting.

Read Part 8 Here

February-March 2015

Waiting implies sitting around doing nothing but you know…waiting.  In reality, since the day of the donation, January 16, I have been doing things.  All kind of things.  Some of those things were important things, like being with my grandmother while she was sick and in the hospital.  Some of those things were completely forgettable and unimportant, like the moments between waking up and wandering around in the morning *not* going to a yoga class, or food shopping, or chasing the dogs off my bed.

There were moments of planning for my sweet girl’s bat mitzvah, which was really lovely, thank you for asking.  There was the bat mitzvah itself; a day of joy and pride and exactly the day we wanted it to be.  She felt like a princess.  On that day, that is all that mattered.

In between all of these important moments that I can remember are the many moments that I waited, consciously or unconsciously for news of Cousin Bob.  I cannot say I waited patiently.  I cannot say I let it go.  From the day I donated, I had the awareness that the next day, January 17th, was his Day 0.  I began counting along with him.  I know that today is Day 59 for him.  I know.

That is why, a few days before the bat mitzvah, when I received a call from Erika at Gift of Life I nearly jumped out of my skin.  In between all of the regular moments of my life, I was always waiting.  Erika however, was only calling to introduce herself, and to find out if I was interested in receiving updates on my recipient’s condition.  If so, was I interested in only positive updates or possibly negative as well?  I have to say, I thought we had pretty well covered all of that earlier.  I tried to make it as clear as possible that I positively, definitely, absolutely would like any and all available updates on my recipient (the one affectionately known as Cousin Bob) as soon as allowable.  Erika told me she would put in the request that day, which was one month since my donation (February 16).

A couple of weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything.  The bat mitzvah came and went.  Grandma became well, left the hospital and rehab and went back to her lovely assisted living center.  (She says differently about the loveliness of the assisted living center, but let’s argue that point another time.)  All was mostly quiet.  My routine gave me more time to think about my recipient and how he was doing.  I knew I could write to him, leaving personal identifying details out (Dear Cousin Bob, I am nameless and faceless…hmm…too creepy?), and that Erika would forward it to him.  I decided against it, knowing that it might be overwhelming for him if he were still in the hospital. I decided to wait and see what the update contained.  Because you know, I’m so patient.

I waited another week, and then I called Erika and left a message.  I tried to make it a casual message.  It *may* not have sounded casual.  You’d have to ask her.

A few days later I left another message.  This one might have sounded a drop desperate.  Again, I’m not sure.

This morning, Erika called me.  Gift of Life popped up on my phone and I felt that quickened heart beat as I answered…please please please…..but of course I answered with the casual “Hello?” And awesome Erika came through with the most amazing news.   The graft took!!!  Cousin Bob’s body accepted my cells and he is doing well.  Not only that, but he has been discharged from the hospital.  My heart and body jumped up and down and I started to tear up with relief and joy.  I cannot imagine better news.  I am so so so so happy.

Now, with joy in my heart, I can sit down to write to Cousin Bob and I can tell him I know what day it is.

Blessings on Day 59. Blessings blessings blessings.

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About the author

Alyssa Gilbert

Alyssa Gilbert

Alyssa lives in the Five Towns with her husband, four kids, 2 dogs and a cat. She loves all things zen and yoga and has just finished school to become a PT.

Alyssa encourages everyone to get their cheeks swabbed and potentially save another's life. For more info, please visit https://www.giftoflife.org/

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