My Christmas memory started back in 1980 when I first met my husband, Jeff George. Not long before I met him, he underwent a kidney transplant. He received the kidney from his father, Fred George, of Silver Creek. That kidney lasted 20 years, until the spring of 1998. That's when things went badly. Jeff's kidney failed due to the buildup of scar tissue, and he had to start dialysis.
Jeff chose to do peritoneal dialysis, which involved surgery to put a port in his stomach. He had to fill and drain fluid in his abdomen four times a day. He would do it in the morning, at lunch, after work, and at bedtime. He also had to be diligent about avoiding germs, which involved wiping the area down with alcohol and wearing a mask to avoid infection. Never once did he complain; he just kept going, working every day and keeping life as normal as possible.
This went on for eight months, until Christmas Eve in 1998. We had just returned from my parents' house at 11:30, and as we put our key in the door we heard the phone ringing. It was the transplant coordinators with the news that they had a kidney donor match. Talk about a shock! After a few phone calls, I took our two daughters back to my parents' house, and off to ECMC we went. My in-laws accompanied us to the hospital. By the time we got there, it was 1:30 a.m., and the doctor was already performing transplant surgery for a woman who got the other kidney. Jeff got his turn and all went well. It was a long night, and I totally forgot it was Christmas until I heard carolers going through the hospital.
Pictured, from left, are Jeff George and Jessica Miller.
What a special gift the family who had such a tragic Christmas gave us. We think of them every year on that special anniversary.
This summer my husband was well, and able to walk our daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Without that Christmas miracle, who knows if he would have been here. Merry Christmas to everyone, and please sign a donor card. You never know whose family you will save.