Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How I met My Husband

I was just over at Barb's and thought this was a great idea, since I actually have a neat story. So although I just did my post for the day, I'm going to do another.

I was just finishing up the paperwork on my divorce, the marriage had been over for years. My daughter was 2 and a half, and I was not looking for love. What I was looking for was a full-time job since I had turned into the sole bread winner. I was the Co-ordinator for the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry for the Canadian Red Cross Society, but that was only full-time on a contract basis.

When you need a bone marrow transplant, you have a 25% chance of having a match with a sibling. If there isn't a match, you have to turn to the unrelated registry and your chances are about one in a million, something like that. A real lottery. All the registries in the world are linked up so match could be from somewhere on the globe.

Anyway...

There I was doing my job, when a tentative match of one of our local blood donors came up. How exciting. So he was called in to do more testing. More matching. More testing. A perfect match! UNREAL! He was the fifth person in our province in the ten year history of the program to be a perfect match. Talk about excitement.

Then, the pressure. The person who needed the match moved into urgent status and the transplant needed to take place as soon as possible. It was my job to be the donor's new best friend. I went with him to all his doctor appointments, meeting with the medical directors, the transplant unit, etc. I was told to keep him "wrapped in cotton" since we didn't want anything to happen to him. The patient would be undergoing chemo to kill ALL bone marrow cells to be ready for the new bone marrow. Once that procedure started, there was no going back so our donor had to be ready and sure he wanted to do this. We were very focused needless to say.

My donor - well he was so casual. Like he did this everyday. No, he didn't need his parking re-imbursed. Yes, he could get the time of work. No problem. He was a single, computer software designer who didn't seem to mind me hovering over him and calling him everyday. Oh yeah, and he was cute - those puppy-doggish brown eyes, brown hair and fun personality. My job wasn't so hard either!

The day of the donation I went with him to the hospital. He would have about a 800 mls of his bone marrow extracted by a needle (4 holes) in his lower back. Took about an hour. Day surgery (remember, he's doing this out of the goodness of his heart - that tells you something right there doesn't it). So I went in the morning, was very surprised there wasn't a girl-friend or someone with him, and checked back in when he was done. He did really well. I stayed with him until he friends came to pick him up. He wasn't allowed to be alone for 24 hours while the meds wore off. He was fine, kind of groggy and sore, but fine.

Then I had to keep in touch with him for the following two weeks to see how he was feeling, what he thought of the whole experience, etc. He even attended information session with me when I put them on so he could speak from the donor's point of view and answer questions only a donor could.

But, it was just professional, and although he was cute and all, my self-esteem was in the toilet so I never thought anything of it when all was said and done.

But one Monday, he was there at my office before I got in. That was a bit strange, all of us in the office thought. But he said he was just checking in so OK. Then he called a few days later and we had lunch down on our waterfront. People had lunch all the time right? It felt so strange. He called after lunch and said we should do it again.

I said if we were going to do this, he needed to come to my house that evening at 6:30 pm. He came. And saw M. She was up for an hour before she went to bed, and did what toddlers do. After she went to bed. I went back down, and said that he needed to see her, she's not just a picture on my desk. She was my first priority. Then I explained briefly about her Dad. Then I said, he could go now if he wanted, that I would understand. He thought and decided that he would like to stay. And all that summer we rented movies and stayed home and he dealt all the inconsistent curves I threw at him since I was a mother and things always changed as my daughter grew. He was very flexible and understanding and two years later we got married. My daughter has known him all her life that she can remember and he really is the Dad, even though she calls my husband by his first name and her natural father "Dad". My husband was great when I told him, if we got married, by the nature of the divorce, he was indeed marrying my ex and all of his family since they are all involved in my daughter's life. Consequently my girl has an entourage of people at piano recital's, etc.

2 notes: since I worked at the Red Cross I had access to results of "tests" that the general public does not have and I did not have to take a single man's "word for it" when we had those discussions...you know...sexual history, etc...I know that sounds brutal and suspicious but as a single mom, I wasn't taking any chances. And I did take those results into account when I decided whether or not we would date, and filed them away for when/if I would need them.

The bone marrow patient. The transplant was an initial success but he died four months later. It was tragic but we knew he was newly married and I always hoped those extra months helped the couple cope and prepare for their inevitable future. It was hard for my husband. I think in some way he thought he may have failed the patient but time, any amount of time, is important.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I have some health problems and when I'm really sick my husband will tell me the story of when we met and it always make me feel better...altogether now..."aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh isn't that sweet!"

Sandy

14 comments:

Morning Glory said...

Yes, that is a very sweet story. I love happy endings.

I came here from A Chelsea Morning to read your story. Mine's linked on Barb's site.

Kathleen Marie said...

That is so super sweet and what a really wonderful man you married. Ah, romance...

Overwhelmed! said...

That is such a great story! I'm so glad you shared it. What a great guy your husband is. I'm really sorry that the bone marrow patient died 4 months after the transplant but, as you said, I'm sure it helped that he had a few extra months to give his family a bit more time to prepare.

I've decided to share our story as well.

Beck said...

A beautiful and bittersweet story. I'm so glad the two of you had your happy ending.

Barb said...

Yeah, Sandy. It's sweet. It's probably one of the sweetest love stories I've ever heard in my life. How could you not love a man who not only gave of himself to help a stranger just because he could and wrapped your daughter in his arms like she's his own child.

It's a beautiful love story. It's just amazing me, the stories I'm reading tonight all because I couldn't think of anything to post today and came up with this idea. I'm so glad the idea popped into my head.

Stories like yours, well, they just warm my heart.

It's sad that the recipient didn't live but your husband gave that person four precious months of life. I wonder if any of us could put a price on a gift like that.

Dianne said...

What a great story. It's kind of like through giving, your husband gained a whole new life. Thanks for sharing.

Sue said...

Hi,
I'm here from Barb's. I loved reading your love story. Thanks for sharing!
The link to my story is on Barb's site!

lrlwreath said...

What a sweet blessing, he sounds like he has a heart as big a Texas!!! And talking about an "interview" before dating, ha!!

Susie said...

You have me in tears. What a beautiful story. Your husband must be a very loving man to give bone marrow and accept your daughter as he did. Thanks for sharing this treasure.

Pamela said...

Nice to have connections, and what a wonderful "love story", you really got a special guy there, and one that with all that he was willing to do, has a kind heart. It is also sweet to hear to you all keep the family thing together...those recitals are a real blessing for your daughter! :)

Jennifer said...

Thanks for sharing. I did mine, too.

Shalee said...

That is an Awwww moment at the end. I love that took him home to meet your daughter and he totally got it.

He does sound liek a keeper...

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

Yeah, it is really. My husband and I signed up to be bone marrow donors and have been disappointed we've never been called. We signed up when a little boy in our town was diagnosed with leukemia. He got a transplant, lived and is now about 10. I'd love to do that for someone. That your husband did it so easily and willingly was a great way to know what he was made of.

Magi said...

It's amazing how these things develope. Your story was a great one! Thanks for sharing.