Any fool knows better than to look a free horse in the choppers or belittle any blessing, no matter how great or small. But I'm not just any fool.
I'm speeding toward Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis again as I write this, trying hard to feel more excited and appreciative about The Second Calling.
First, however, I think I need a nap.
The transplant office at Barnes-Jewish called around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday the 17th. They have a cadaver kidney that looks to be a blood and tissue-type match for mine, and I am the primary recipient. How fast can you get to St. Louis? the transplant nurse asked, excitedly.
It's about a three-hour drive from Champaign to St. Louis. And the good news was, we didn't even have to pack our bags. Karen's suitcase, in fact, was still in her car.
We had been on the road and away from home for nine consecutive days. Mostly we were helping my father-in-law, Larry, care for the tempestuous twins, Madison and Emma, while my mother-in-law, Linda, took a well-deserved, once-in-a-lifetime week's trip to China. In the interim, I traveled to Deerfield, Ill., north of Chicago, to deliver two patient presentations at the company that manufactures my dialysis supplies, and Karen and I took the twins with us to West Michigan to attend the wedding of our great good friends Gayle and Walker Parmelee's wonderful daughter, Kate, to the equally wonderful Andy Huhn. (Congratulations, kids.)
In my spare moments, I was ghostwriting one book and editing another. I was homesick and exhausted when we stumbled into our apartment Thursday afternoon. I had just dragged my suitcase over the threshold, willing to trade all my riches for a hot shower, a change of clothes and the chance to sleep in my own bed again.
Then the phone call came. Don't tell me God has no sense of humor.
Now I'm in Barnes-Jewish, waiting to hear if the surgery will be a go or no-go. As we've mentioned previously in these pages, about a dozen things have to go exactly right before a transplant can take place, and medical people always err on the side of caution.
So I've been trying to catch some sleep overnight on a hospital bed (HAHAHAHAHA!) and thinking that if the surgery does go off Friday morning, it'll be at least another week before my head hits a familiar pillow again.
I am thankful for this, really I am. Had the call come one day later, after I'd had a chance to swap out my dirty underwear, I'm certain I would have been ecstatic. This is an event that will affect the rest of my life, but ironically it's a lot like death – it comes when it comes, and you're never quite ready when it arrives, wishing you had just one more day.
Let's just praise God and pass the scalpel, shall we? I'll keep you posted.