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.
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!"