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The Day After

Malkie Schulman

A new kidney. Crushing news. Conversion. We hear a lot about events that change the trajectory of one’s life. But what happens the day after? When the drama or trauma has somewhat subsided and a new day dawns, what is it like to wake up in an altered world? Eleven people share the emotions.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Kidney Transplant I’m tired. Of course I am — it’s the day after major surgery. My wife has been warning me to expect this. But I’m also feeling euphoric. The doctor comes in and hands me a banana. Bananas, tomatoes, and potatoes are some of the “forbidden fruits” for kidney patients. “I’m not touching that poison!” I tell him. But he smiles and says, “You can eat it. Your numbers already went down to three.” Normal kidney function “numbers” are 1.0. When I went into the hospital for surgery, my numbers were seven or eight. If I had not had the surgery, I would have had to immediately go on dialysis. And now, the day after my son’s kidney was transplanted into me, my numbers have already gone down to three and I can eat a banana! To me, this is the tangible sign of being healed, of the amazing power of the kidney, of niflaos haBorei. My next thoughts are of my son. I’m concerned about him. I feel tremendous responsibility — he donated his kidney to me! Unfortunately, because my immune system is still very compromised, I’m not able to visit him today. My thoughts next turn to kabbalos I’ve been thinking about taking upon myself. I’m considering changing my nusach in tefillah. I feel very grateful to G-d for this new lease on life, so I feel it would be appropriate to start fresh, so to speak, with a new nusach. With my second chance, I want my avodas Hashem to be a little different, better than the first time. I think about my philosophy in life. I’m the type of person who always believes, even when things are difficult, that in the end they’ll work out. Not quite the madreigah of someone who feels that what seems negative now is really good, but second best. I’d say: It may not be good now but it will be good at the end. My situation was pretty dire, but I believed Hashem would work it out. I just had no idea how He would, or how well He would. (The doctors were not even suggesting a transplant. My wife and kids were the ones who brought it up!) Now I realize — oh, so this is how Hashem worked it out, and in a way that wasn’t even on our radar! It also hits me that I have been saved from the long, painful, draining, and bumpy road of dialysis the doctors kept on predicting. And my entire being is filled with overwhelming gratitude toHaKadoshBaruchHu.

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