My adventures in SF. My brother James finally got his kidney on 8/21 at UCSF. He only stayed 5 days in the hospital and then got to come home. His wife Joanne asked if I would pick him up. That was so cool. I got to pick my brother up with his new kidney that he’d been waiting for almost 10 years. It was like I got to drive the parade car home. What an honor!
Today, about 5 weeks later, he needed to go back and have a biopsy of his new kidney as
his creatin levels are still too high for a normal functioning kidney. Again, I was asked to drive him down. We left at 5:30am and it looks like we won’t be leaving until around 5pm.
This story is about perspective.
On Friday when I found out I was doing this trip, I was a little bummed that it would take up my whole day. There was going to be no time for the gym this morning and quite possibly not this evening. My fabulous schedule is now thrown off. How terribly inconvenient to me! This weekend I tried to make this inconvenience more palatable. How can I make some fun for me in this day? I thought about bringing my bike and riding around but was unsure of how and where to lock it up in the city. I decided to go out on foot. I also asked James if he would be comfortable riding in my car instead of his. I got to drive my wonderful station wagon. That makes me so happy!
At this point in my life, all 50 years plus 11 months, I am a very healthy woman. I am on no medicine and rarely need to visit the doctor. No surgeries, except my wisdom teeth, so far.
I have no pain in my body and it will do just about everything I ask of it. I have challenged it in ways that I would never believe I would or could. Running races, like 10ks, half marathons, a marathon, triathlons and century bike rides.
I go to the gym every day, at least once. I have muscles and they help me live my life every day. I am so lucky!! I also take great pride in caring for my body and mind. Something that I practice every day with every choice I make.
My life compared to my brother James’ life is quite the opposite. Has it been a bad luck of the draw? Has it been the effect of his choices up to this point? He was born with only one kidney that wasn’t functioning well at his birth. He had other “birth defects” that required many surgeries his first few years of life. I say an unlucky draw at this point. My mom from what I can deduce sheltered him as a child to protect him. She also has a weight problem (issues) and was the one that primarily fed us and taught us about food. I believe that James has not taken care of himself and as a result been overweight, had high blood pressure which caused a stroke 9 1⁄2 years ago. He was only 37 years old. Some medicine he was given for his stroke damaged his kidney to the point that he eventually needed dialysis about 4 years ago. I am hoping that now with his new kidney, he will take better care of himself by exercising and eating healthy. I find it interesting that with so much information about food and nutrition that so many people still eat the heavily marketed American diet. I am fearful that James will continue how he always has. I love him and only want the best. I would totally help him and support him in this journey if he asked. I doubt this will happen.
So, my morning with James driving to have this procedure, “What was he thinking?” What is his life experience like, with all the medicines, tests, doctor visits and monitoring all of this? His experience is so different from my life experience of planning my healthy organic balanced meals. Going to the gym to train with my personal trainer. Me, who on my lunch hour goes to the gym at work and does 30 minutes of cardio. I ride my bike the 2 miles to work whenever I can, and my weekends involve outdoor activities like bike riding or hiking. Sometimes just a 3 mile walk with my friend Chuck from my safeway days. Two children, from the same parents and completely different life experiences. Wow!
When we arrived at the parking garage this morning, James got out of the car and started vomiting. This went on about 3 or 4 times before getting into the elevator. It was quite disturbing and sobering. How uncomfortable he must be. He smells like a sick, medicated person and that is very weird. He does not smell well at all. My sobering insight to perspective was when he was getting sick. I can put my magical wonderful fun healthy life on pause and not be inconvenienced to help my brother with kindness and compassion. I have no idea how any of this will play out, for James or me. I just know how I feel and what my thoughts are. I know that they must be polar opposite of what James must think about on a daily basis. I am happy and grateful that I was born perfectly healthy.
I believe it is my duty to take the best care of myself, every day and every way. I hope that through my efforts, people around me are aware that they can make the same choices to enjoy better health.