Joy Full

After all these years working as a transplant nurse, it is still really fun taking care of patients who have received a new kidney, especially those from a living donor. Some patients have been on dialysis for years, going to the same center three times a week for several hours.  I love listening to them call their dialysis units to share the good news and hearing the excited shouts of jubilation on the other end of the line! We’ve had parents donate a kidney to their child, child to parent, siblings, friends, in-laws, church members, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and co-workers.  It is the gift of life and is both incredible and humbling to witness.

After I received report from the recovery room nurse on my patient, a 71 year old lady who received a kidney from her daughter, I went to the daughter’s room to let her know her Mom was doing well and was on her way up. Even though she was in pain, her smile was beautiful when she heard the good news.

When my patient came to her room, I met her husband and another daughter while I got her settled and did an assessment. After telling her Mom she loved her, the daughter asked where her sister’s room was, and said, “I’ll be right back. There’s a whole bunch of us coming.”

Very soon the room was filled with one of the sweetest, kindest families I’ve ever met. The love in there was so palpable it was breath-taking. When we receive a patient with a new kidney, we are in their rooms almost continuously the first eight hours- taking vital signs, performing assessments and interventions, adjusting medicines and IV fluids; the family was so warm and welcoming, they made me feel like I was one of them.  Her sons were excited every time I emptied the urine from their Mom’s foley catheter and they saw how well the kidney was doing, asking “How much is it now?”

Later in the evening, the family went to get some food and make phone calls; only the husband remained, not wanting to leave his wife’s bedside. He spoke of how blessed he felt that each of their seven children was able to be with them for the surgery, and how although they had all been tested, it was only the one daughter that was the perfect donor candidate for her mother. He shared his faith in God with me, saying that his wife’s kidney function was only at 8% for months but she had been spared having to go through dialysis prior to transplant.

As I worked with her, my patient searched with her eyes for her husband if he stepped out of her line of vision for even a second and he continued to stand at her bedside. I offered to pull the recliner closer to her, saying it must have been a long day and asking if he wanted to rest. He beamed and said, “No. There’s been no such thing as time today. Only joy!”


nature flowers garden plant
Photo by Pixabay on

Author: awhitlow2

Murder can take a long time if you’re writing about it. My name is Ashleigh, and I’m a recovering next-timer… we’ll get together next time, I’ll call you next time, I’ll write about it next time, I’ll tell you I love you next time. Then reality hit (finally) that there may not be a next time and I was stunned. What?! We only get one shot at life? Really?! I’m also a recovering slow-learner. So in light of that realization that was over 40 years in the making, I’m writing my first novel- murder, love, redemption. I’m not sure what direction it will take but am enjoying the process and isn’t that what life’s all about anyway? More importantly, I’m living with gratitude for my family; God opened my eyes to the blessings of family and I’m thankful to Him and them for hanging in there with me all these years. (Did I mention I’m a slow-learner?) I’m a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a nurse, and a writer who LOVES to sing. Loudly. Badly. When no one else is around to hear it. Except the cat. Poor cat.

15 thoughts on “Joy Full”

  1. Thanks for following my blog (voicesinmyhead). Had you not done so, I probably wouldn’t have found you. I’m so glad I did, and I’ll be following yours as well. It feels as if I’ve found a kindred spirit. Yay!

  2. I LOVE you! I mean, I really, really LOVE you! I laughed my through Cutting the Crud because I can SO relate–there is only one little difference however–you’d never find me on my knees scrubbing grout–you’d find me handing over the money to have someone else doing it FOR me! 🙂 Laziness in motion! LOVE Joy Full. Based upon your brief description of relationships, we’re clearly on the same page. Me too. Bad choices. The good news is that I have finally learned that the love of Self is the greatest love of all. Now I am living very happily ever after with my dog. He’s the only guy who will ever get to see me naked. I am NOT in love with WordPress at the moment, however, because I no longer receive notices of posts from other bloggers and many of my followers have stopped receiving emails that I have posted. What’s up with that??? I SO enjoy your posts, and always look forward to more. Assuming I know that you have posted them, of course . . .

    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words, Julia, they mean a lot! You’ve made me both laugh and smile.
      Believe me, scrubbing the floor is an extreme rarity around here too! 😉
      Wise words about love of self and I’m really happy you have found it… it definitely takes wisdom, experience, and time to get there! Every relationship, good or bad, teaches us something; I’m unfortunately a slow learner and have to repeat the lesson more than once 😉

      1. Oh please! I a the Queen of Slow Learners. I married the same guy twice for Heaven’s sake! Duh! Poor Choices 101!!! And yes, I believe that our silly mistakes place us squarely on the footpath to Nirvana. At the rate I’m going, i oughta get there real soon! 🙂 Maybe we’ll meet up along the way. By the way–just want to check to see if you got an email that I posted a blog about a week ago (Peace Thieves), and one just a few minutes ago (The Quest for a Happy Ending) . . .

      2. Haha, glad to not be the only slow learner!
        I did get the email notifications… I’m definitely a wordpress novice; have you tried contacting wordpress help to see why your followers and you aren’t receiving notifications?

  3. Yes, and I’m awaiting a response. I had a couple of other issues too, but happily was able to work them out on my own. Something of a miracle for a non- techie in a high-tech world. I have slightly less hair on my head now, however . . .

  4. I spent thirty years in dialysis, so I was the other side of the coin. I loved my patients. You have to you them to hang with them. They are so sick and troubled. My favorite patients were the little old black ladies. By and large, I found them t be the kindest folks on earth.

    1. You became family to them, celebrating their joys and mourning their losses. Often the very first phone calls our patients want to make after transplant are to their dialysis nurses!

  5. Goodness, this is priceless. I run an adult foster and know the RICH blessing of serving families and then having them suck you in as one of their own. So amazing… ! BTW thanks for the follow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: