So today, by which I really mean yesterday but whatever, is the sixth month anniversary of my kidney transplant. Things have been going fine thus far, some minor ups and downs but for the most part I've been stable and healthy. I'm extremely grateful to be able to live the free and active life that I've been living for the last six months (and hope to continue living for years to come).
I did not know the person whose kidney I was given. All I was told by the doctors was that it was from a girl younger than me. I was never told her name, but there was a news story in the papers the day after my operation about the sudden death of a 17-year-old girl. The location and time of her death, as well as the hospital she was taken to, all mesh perfectly with the details of my operation (when I got my call, where the kidney was coming from, etc.). So even though my evidence is only circumstantial I've come to think of this girl as my donor. Even if she were not, her story must certainly be similar. The grief her parents feel must be the same. I don't know how to feel about this. It was a noble thing of her parents to allow her organs to be donated, it saved my life, but I certainly don't like thinking in terms of this girl having died so that I could live. I'm sure that if given a choice she and her parents would rather that she had lived.
So I quietly mark the significance of today with the knowledge that somewhere else, a family is quietly marking an anniversary of their own. I think about them a lot. I wonder how they are doing and hope that take some solace in the fact that they did an amazing thing and I thank them for that. I never knew their daughter but I think about her a lot as well. In my head I always address my new kidney by her name. I don't know if that's wierd or not. I just hope that her family is okay and that she and I get the chance to share many more of these anniversaries.