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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorable

Saturday of Memorial Day weekend last year was a busy and fun day. We were picked up by our friends Marie and Thayne, and headed to a small local restaurant for some delicious breakfast burritos. Then we hit the highway to spend the day in Boulder, CO for the Boulder Creek Fest.  We like to call it the Freak Fest, because it makes a little joke out of what people think about Boulder. The Creek Fest is held every Memorial Day weekend. There are all sorts of merchants and providers of services from massage to spiritual cleansing to sports gear. And tons of yummy food. There are samples of all sorts of things, and it isn't unusual to come home with a few bags and t-shirts and energy bars. The star attraction of the weekend is the running on Monday of the BolderBOULDER 10K race, along with variations in length and mobility.

We spent much of the day wandering around various booths and getting samples and pens and numerous tote bags. We sampled delicious organic foods, as well as beverages, yogurts, and energy bars. When we crossed the creek we saw happy dogs swimming and playing games of fetch with tennis balls that danced enticingly due to the whims of the water flow. Then, more food! There were foods of all nationalities, cooked over open flames. There's something about the combination of fresh air and flame-cooking that makes even the simplest foods taste like a magnificent feast. We went home, feeling what we like to call "good tired," and acted like kids, going through our haul.

We were just lolling around when Trent's cell phone rang a little after eleven p.m. What the heck? We didn't recognize the number, so he didn't answer. Then my phone rang. Knowing it must be important, I picked up the call. One of the nurse coordinators from the University of Colorado Hospital's Kidney Transplant Clinic was on the line. She told Trent that there was a kidney that was a match for him and to be ready to come in the next day. The transplant surgeon, Dr. Igal Kam, would examine the kidney the next day to see if it was viable for transplant. We called Marie and Thayne to let them know what was going on, but we were actually feeling pretty calm about it and didn't get all worked up or excited. When we got a call on Sunday afternoon saying that the kidney had bad blood vessels and was not viable for transplant, we didn't get all crushed - we seemed to know all along it wasn't going to happen.

On Monday evening, our friends took us out for dinner. They had been on a day trip and didn't feel like cooking, so we went out for Italian food. A couple of hours later, we got another telephone call from another coordinator, Susie. She said they had another possible kidney, and to wait for her call on Tuesday. We felt a little bit of anticipation this time around. When we answered the phone call on Tuesday, we heard Susie laughing. You see, several months before, I had told one of the clinic doctors, Dr. James Cooper (whom we call Coop), that I wanted a notation made on Trent's chart. If a kidney became available, I said, call us and tell us to haul @$$ down to the hospital. When Susie called, she said that she had been informed to tell us to haul @$$ down to the hospital! We checked Trent into the hospital on Tuesday night, and early Wednesday morning, May 30th, he received the beautiful gift of life from the family of a man in his thirties. Trent was pretty amusing the afternoon of his surgery due to all of the delicious drug cocktails running through his system. He doesn't remember much of what happened, but that isn't the most important thing. He has a healthy kidney with better-than-average function. The doctors often tell him that he has better kidney function than they do.

So for us, the Memorial Day Weekend is doubly special. It is a time to honor the memory of the many men and women of the military who have served this country. Now, it is also a time for us to honor the family who served so many people by sharing their beloved family member through organ donation. I have no doubt that it was an incredibly difficult time in their lives, and I hope they realize that their selfless generosity improved so many lives. It is because of them that this isn't just Memorial Day weekend, but Memorable Day weekend. Thanks to all who serve!