By Nate Rudman
Photo by Nate Rudman
Vitals are perfect, kidney is working, and I am brimming with hope for my new lease on life. I’ve had nearly constant visitation the past four days. Visitors from South Pasadena, Solvang, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Corona Del Mar have been showing up, friends and family alike. It is now precisely six days after my kidney transplant, and my recovery is, to paraphrase Dr. Gary Lerner, basically textbook.
My transplant has come after a brief year of work and planning with my family, doctor, surgeons, social workers, teachers, friends, and my own worry and excitement. Yet before the idea and eventuality came about, I had been diagnosed with Alport’s Syndrome, which degrades kidney function over time (to find out more about my pre-transplant thoughts, click here).
I am writing this from my hospital bed on the 6th floor of Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, to which I will be indebted and grateful to, for the rest of my hopefully long life. The nurses and staff have been kind, helpful, and full of a special type of joy, and the care has been top notch.
That I can get this medical attention is certainly a great act of fortune, as I am definitely a fortunate man to have easy access to a Youth-Oriented Trauma 1 Center not 30 minutes from my house. That my family has insurance and can afford to pay for the transplant without going deep into financial debt.
As grateful as I am, and as powerful as my story has been called, it is important to remember that 10% of the world’s population lives with a Chronic Kidney Disease. As of this past October, there were 122,403 people waiting on the U.S. Kidney Transplant List alone. This doesn’t include the people who haven’t made it onto the list yet, nor does it include all of the people worldwide in need of a kidney transplant and in want of high quality medical care.
Regardless, my thoughts still coalesce into an attitude of gratitude and hope. I hope that I can live my life how I wish to, and I can achieve my full potential. I am grateful for the opportunity to do so. My life so far feels like it has been just a path leading up to where I am now. The road now splits and I don’t yet know what path I’ll be walking, but I am glad that I am now able to walk with faith in my feet.
I underestimated how momentous this would be for me. The quite literal increase in my energy only cements the fact that health is tied to happiness, and I am finding now that my optimism has only grown. Yes, I am fortunate and I am privileged to receive another 30 years of life, but that only indicates that I should be that much more thankful. This act of fortune, my transplant, is as simple as that.