In The Waiting Room

Alesandro (Sandro, Sandy) Magno sat in the waiting room of his floor in County General Hospital. He had gotten here a bit earlier than the appointed hour. He realized there might be more of either forms to sign or additional details to work out for his final interviews and he didn’t want to be late. He also wanted a few extra minutes to unwind and sort of catch his breath. This was not going to be a pleasant ordeal, particularly in view of the specific tragic circumstances.

Sandro was here because he was going to get a kidney transplant. It was not the surgery itself that concerned him. It was how he got the donated kidney. The kidney came courtesy of his childhood BFF Vincent (Vinny, Vin) Ferere. But, the unhappy catch was that it was the result of Vinny’s loss of life due to a freakish ghastly traffic accident. Vinny had provided legal documentation as to how his organs were to be donated in the event of his passing.

As he was waiting, Sandro thought back, reminiscing about that day when he found out that yes, he did have end stage kidney issues, and afterwards had met Vinny for lunch at one of their favorite Indian restaurants. Those thoughts brought a wry smile to his face. The flood of emotions that ran thru him again as he thought about the best, mot caring friend he ever had. And soon, Vinny would be physically a part of him till his own end days.

You Can’t Make It Hot Enough…

Sandro hurried down the street. He entered the restaurant’s door. His eyes scanned the room for his childhood BFF.  He spied him sipping from the glass of rich foamy beer he had previously ordered. Vinny spotted Sandro as he approached the corner table.

“It’s about time you got here. I thought I’d have to start eating by myself.”

“Sorry”, Sandro replied. “The visit took a little longer than I anticipated.”

The two men clasped hands and did their usual “buddy hug”.  They sat down, and Sandro picked up the waiting menu. After a couple of minutes, and a few quick perusals, he appeared to have made his selections. They were in an Indian cuisine restaurant. It was Vinny’s turn to pick the venue and he loved Indian food. Both friends loved hot and spicy food. So, they each basically picked their own preference, and one or two extra dishes which they would share.

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The Offer…

“So, what did they say?” asked Vinny.

“Just as had been suspected. My kidneys are shot. I’m down to about 25% efficiency. They suggest I start arranging for dialysis treatments right away.”

“Hmmm…  What does that really mean? What do you actually have to do? How is that going to impact your life? What is it going to mean for you going forward? Are there any other options?

“Wow Vin, that was quite a mouthful. Each of those questions may have more than one answer.  I will try to address them all as best I can with what I know at this time. I had in the meantime done a bit of research anticipating this verdict. But final decisions may not be easy”

“Well, you do know I’m here to help in any way I can. You have always been my BFF since we were kids, and in many ways, it was like you were my big brother.”

“I know Vin. And don’t think I haven’t appreciated your friendship over the years.”

Since childhood, these two have been inseparable. Sandro was just a couple of months older as a June baby, and Vinny as a child of November. At play, they were cowboys and Indians, musketeers or knights dueling with wooden swords they had made themselves.

But, they weren’t all play. They were both brilliant students, very analytical with perhaps Vinny having the edge. He was very sharp, quick, decisive and seemed to remember things much better than Sandro. Sandro seemed to be more methodical in his thinking.

The only time their lives diverged for any length of time was when Sandro entered the service and did his tour of duty. Vinny was not accepted due to vision problems he had been “blessed with” since childhood.

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The Three Little Girls…

While still deep in thought in the waiting room, Sandro was approached by one of the nurses. She had some last minute instructions for him. As they were conversing, they were suddenly distracted by a commotion down the hall. Three precious little girls were crying as they burst out of a nearby room. Their ages appeared to be from 5 to not more than 13. The tears were streaming from their eyes. Some noses were dripping mucous.

Sandro commented to the nurse, “Oh good heavens, that looks very sad. Do you know what is the matter?”

“Yes”, she replied. “Their mother, a single mom at that with no other family, has had total kidney failure. She is on constant dialysis and her insurance has run out. She will be taken off dialysis soon and be sent home. She will most probably die within the next 2 weeks, 3 weeks at most. The toxin buildup and accumulation of fluids in her body will eventually do her in.”

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The Mom…

The eldest girl took Sandro’s hand and dragged him towards the room where the mom was currently recovering from her latest treatment. The two younger ones accompanied them on either side. They entered the room. “Mommy, mommy. This man is donating his kidney to you.” The pale looking young woman in the bed suddenly looked up with interest and hope in her eyes.

“Hello. I’m very sorry to intrude, but your daughters literally dragged me in here to tell you the news. But, I don’t want you to get your hopes up before it’s definite. Hospitals have procedures they must follow. I only hope that this works out for you. I just could not see these three lovely little girls lose their mommy.”

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