Picture of the month

Picture of the month
Life is circular

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Organ Transplants

Saturday I found myself at an African American cultural festival. I had not planned to attend but a quick look through the local entertainment paper revealed an advertisement for the event. Early bird that I am I arrived to find myself alone with the vendors who were setting up.
I must have walked the park at least three times before I noticed "the table". It was late in the day,the sun was high and my body started to
over heat . The tent by the stage with chairs looked very appealing and that's when I discovered the organ transplant support group's area.
I began looking at the table stocked with the usual freebies, note pads, bumper stickers, lapel pins and literature. Once I realized it was a organ
donor area I immediately started talking to a woman seated behind the table. She asked me if I was signed up to be a donor and I responded no.
My views are pretty simple on this matter, I don't trust the medical personal to look out for my best interest. It's a view held by many people in particular blacks in this country. We have a history of not being treated well period especially in the health care arena. I also have the added stories of my mother who spent over forty years in some of this countries best hospitals working in the operating room with top surgeons. She also worked in organ procurement for awhile and has many awards which I am so proud of her for. My moms work in the health profession has been her passion and truly has a lasting impression on me. However we both choose not to be donors, just a personal thing.
As I told this story to the lady sitting in front of me she said" look at the joy the gift of life you could bring someone. Why wouldn't you want to ".
That was when she reveal she was a double lung recipient. Her voice was low but I could tell with all her being she was trying to convey to me the beautiful gift she had been blessed with. I knew that and was happy for her, still it was not something I could consider doing. I didn't want to upset her so I let it drop. I told her I'd be back and that there is always a reason we find ourselves in a particular place at a certain time. There was also an older white woman (Kerry) in the tent she told me she was a heart recipient, her granddaughters who looked to be teens were with her. Kerry noted she was scared because she thought" it might be against her religion" to receive a transplant. To her relief her entire church rallied around her with love. I later learned her husband passed away and she had also had a stroke but her strength were those two teenage grand daughters who trained to be able to come out and tell the story at events as well. After listening I left the tent for a while and I again saw the small framed woman from the table walk by. I remember think how great she looked it beat the image of frail people we associate with having been through so much. She smiled and said ready to sign up yet and I said God's still working on me.
I returned later in the day to the table and the lady was gone but a brown skin man walked up to me and asked if I had any questions. I responded no but thank you and proceed to look at the boards. As I did he told me he was here for his wife a lung recipient. There were several people that were featured on a display sharing their transplant stories. I then noticed this was the heart and lung support group. I knew it seemed odd that I would hear about two black women with lung transplants and neither smoked or worked in high risk industrial jobs. Mean while the man that spoke said as I began to read that's my wife.
Walter Hill is patient Advocate which means he supports transplant patients and their families by making their stay in the area a little easier.
whether it's helping them find the post office, a car repair shop, or just adjust to living in a new community while they wait. He is one of the people who help with the little things that are really very significant
parts our our everyday life.This frees up the families to concentrate on spending more time on the health of the person instead of worrying
about chores in new surroundings.
His story starts with his wife who received a left lung. After finding out she needed a transplant he vowed to God if she made it through he would do everything he could to promote and testify just what this gift meant.
His wife Beverly was quoted as saying " The transplant has allowed me
to experience life with my first grandchildren. It has given me the most precious possibilities, the chance to live a fulfilled life." Walter simply says "I treat the world as if they all are the donor." He is a friendly and thoughtful man with a warm smile. He ask if I'm a donor I say no, he then says I'm not here to coerce people it's your choice. I want people to know I don't care who you are I respect you. He went on to say about his work "my mind is right , my heart is right, I got to be right." He spoke his truth, listening to this man was not like talking to a stranger. One thing I do know that God works through all of us and with people like Walter and Kerry and her granddaughters more people get to see the face of families who survived this experience.
I never mention the experience of my neighbor Jermaine. I youthful preteen who received a liver transplant and survived for a few years.
I remember the whole neighborhood being excited for him and the doctors saying they were amazed at how fast and strong he had recovered. Sadly he passed on but the memory I have of the kid outside play ball in the street and just smiling with his friends lives on. So much advancement has happened in this field that who knows what is the limit of modern medicine . I do know this with God all things are possible and that is where I leave my faith. We accomplish nothing with out our higher power these accounts are courtesy of the Lord.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sister Circles

Life sometimes has a way of bringing people to you when you most
need them. I was living in a small town trying to make sister friends connections in an area where black people tended to be very secluded in various groups. If you were not in these circles you could just forget finding some command bond of friendship. That's when i decided to
form a sister circle because i knew i was not the only woman of color in the area looking for connects.
So I printed a flyer and whenever I was in Walmart or out shopping I would talk to folks and try and get the word out. This went nowhere until one day i stopped in Sally Beauty . As i passed a young sister i started talking and gave her a flyer. By this time i had a room reserved at the library so invited her to come. She said she would and wanted to bring a friend, i thanked her.
At least twenty women promised to be there but on the Saturday of the meeting only Rikki and her friend Lisa showed up. that turned out to be enough these two ladies were awesome. We were ladies in three different decades of experience which made it work. Rikki in her thirties with kids, me in my forties without kids and Lisa in her fifties with grown kids and young grands. We all enjoyed writing so that became our rallying point.
With everything going on in our respective lives at the time we all needed this group. It didn't last long but for the time that it did I feel blessed. I have since moved to a larger town in state, Rikki now lives out of state, and though i have not kept in touch with Lisa she is missed. Never under estimate the power of sister friends in your life. The Internet allows us to keep up with people that we lack enough time in our daily lives to stop and call. Face book, twitter, texting whatever means of communication can be used at all hours as well. Thank goodness too, I sent Rikki a text message and she is well and I'm waiting to hear from Lisa. They will always have a space in my heart. We were not put on this earth to be island if you don't have any make some sister connections. Room was not built in a day it takes patience to build community grow where you are planted it is so worth it.