Transplant Poem

My mother wrote this and I wanted to share it with everyone.



For decades we’ve been trying to find out whether

There’s a sure way to bring most families together;

To get them to give love, and compassion, and support

And shun negativity of every sort.

Inadvertently I found a magic wand

That instantly creates a tighter family bond.

When someone gets sick (my son), just do a good deed

And offer the organ (kidney) that he will soon need!

Once you say you’ll donate an organ, it’s no surprise,

Your status goes way up in everybody’s eyes!

(Particularly the loving family members who,

Now no longer feel guilty for not offering too).

I’m told I’m being so brave and noble, so nice!

But for a Mom, not giving is the true sacrifice.

So, now I am protector of the family’s jewel;

The life-saving kidney, so now, as a rule,

All I do is questioned and I have to endure

Well-meaning advice on how best to insure

That I stay in good shape to keep donor approval

(Yes, a board can vote for donor status removal).


As the journey continues for donor and donee

We forge our, now conjoined, medical history.

We wait for my approval as a donor – and wait,

And wait, as well, for a kidney transplant date;

Which won’t come till kidney function is so low

That the recipient’s other organs start to go.

We give blood and urine and have lots of EKG’s

As they test me for every documented disease.

A social worker must deem me “mentally sound”

To do what I need to, to keep my son around.

We analyze each blood test with close attention

Like brokers with stocks at an investment convention.

Through years of uncertainty, the family gamely tries

To deal with the lows as gracefully as the highs.

We all make sure that we stay in closer touch;

Emails and calls don’t go unanswered as much;

Everyone wants to know all the lab reports;

We follow transplant stories as avidly as sports;

We’re now experts on all things kidney related

And spout medical lingo till our friends are sated!


As my son’s kidney function steadily declines

And he confronts a few medical land mines,

The whole clan goes into support overdrive,

Like cheerleaders, willing the kidney to survive.

But as transplant day inevitably draws near,

Our loved ones are overcome with devotion and fear

As it sinks in –  this is not a TV drama

But an impending multiple body trauma.

After surgery, everyone rallies around;

Texts and emails are flying; good feelings abound.

Feuds are forgotten as they share each update;

Relief and joy let old hostilities abate.

Relatives can express their love and gratitude,

Even those not known for a caring attitude.

Our recovery is bumpy and way too long

But family togetherness and spirit stay strong.


I don’t recommend this for treating family woes

On a regular basis, though everyone knows

The prospect of losing someone who’s loved dearly

Quickly makes you see life’s priorities more clearly.

For us, a kidney transplant turned out to be

The ultimate in extreme family therapy.

It gave us a mental as well as physical fix

And greatly improved our family dynamics.

I know there are definitely better ways

To get closer, that don’t involve hospital stays.

So donate, cause it’s an amazing thing to do,

But don’t be surprised if some benefits accrue;

Like reducing petty family tension and strife

And deepening connections, all while saving a life!

Donate to a stranger – keep another family whole

While filling your heart and inspiring your soul!

Who knew, when you give a part of yourself, that you’re

Going to end up more fulfilled and “complete” than before!



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