Thursday, June 12, 2008


Last night, as I was finally putting my pepper plants into the ground (a coupla weeks late, as usual for my garden), I got to thinking again how odd it is that we use the word "transplant" both for that and for putting a new organ in a human body.

I've had some reason to ponder this because we've known for a while that the Bear's teacher would be receiving a kidney transplant as soon as the school year ended. She entered the hospital this afternoon and will receive her new kidney tomorrow. Ever since she survived a childhood kidney cancer, she's been running on half a kidney, and now that half-kidney has just worn out.

She was able to schedule the surgery so precisely because her donor is a close friend. It's an extraordinary story. After she went through a hard divorce (not that any are easy!), she became friends with her ex-husband's first wife. Apparently they found they had a lot more in common than just their overlapping marital history and the co-parenting of their children.

And so it's her ex's ex who is going to save her life. She volunteered and turned out to be a perfect match - one more thing they've found in common. Both of them feel it's a miracle. I'd say it's an amazing act of generosity and friendship, too, and a reflection of the Bear's teacher's own goodness and kindness. (If you want to read the rest of the story, it was reported last month by Nick Claussen in our local independent biweekly, the Athens News; I've been careful here not to include any details beyond what's already public.)

Her students don't quite grasp the gravity of the situation, though she's talked directly about it in an age-appropriate way. She's young and strong and courageous, as is her dear friend and donor, and I think it's going to be okay. Still, we'll all feel better once we know that the surgery gone well and they've gotten through the first few weeks.

I don't believe in the healing power of remote prayer, but I know she does, and I know she would appreciate the prayers of anyone who's so moved. Superstitious or not, I can't help but send up a little prayer, myself, even if it's addressed "to whom it may concern," that both of them will find strength and healing. And I'm sending out my warmest hopes that this new kidney will take root just as strongly as my tomatoes and peppers do in my garden.

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