Pause For Thought

I’ve always been one for reflecting on events in my life, thankfully these days I manage to avoid the negative, confidence sapping reflection that fuelled my period of deep depression. Nowadays I look for the postive things in my life and celebrate even the minor achievements no matter how insignificant. Until last week I counted performing home haemo-dialysis as my most significant achievement for many years largely because I and many others, including the nurses who trained me, thought it was beyond me.

So what happened last week? Well like everyone, there are good things happening in my life as well as the not so good – you know those irritating little things that feel like an itch you just can’t scratch. Last week those good things outweighed the bad. Audrey and I attended the opening ceremony of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games last Thursday and we met up with some of the virtual friends from Twitter and Facebook that I’ve gained since becoming involved in GMKIN. Everyone of those virtual friends was just as friendly, caring and generous as I expected and Audrey and I had a lovely day in the sunshine in Bolton surrounded by new friends and hundreds of amazing athletes from Addenbrookes to Australia.

As the day wore on and the athletes parade began, I slipped into a period of reflection, a sort of semi-concious pause for thought. I began to realise just how far I’d come in the few months since I became involved with GMKIN and started to engage with fellow CKD patients, which in turn made me realise that my GMKIN involvement is a significant personal achievement to rival home haemo-dialysis. The parade continued and I became lost in the celebratory atmosphere until the arrival of one special team. I was dragged back to reality by the entrance of the Donor Families Team, not because I thought they shouldn’t be there rather I was just surprised to see them. My personal reflection had made me forget the very reason I was standing there in Bolton, an organ donation.

The arrival of the Donor Families Team had me full of admiration for these people who not only had thought of others as their loved ones died but continued to provide support to the transplant community. They had even bought a diamond to be raffled to raise funds for the Transplant Games! I’ve never forgotten the fact that I owe my life to an organ donor but have always struggled to express my appreciation, never really finding the words to voice my gratitude, always feeling those words would never sufficiently compensate their family for their loss. I still can’t find those words but hope they know that I admire them as much as I admire the people who choose to donate their organs. This blog is dedicated to my donor, all donors and their families.

 

Profile photo of Rob Finnigan

I’m an ADPKD patient who was lucky enough to have a transplant in 2003 after only eleven months of dialysis. I'm the north-west Patient Advocacy & Support Officer for Kidney Care UK and my interests, other than my role within GMKIN, include sport, music and politics. Follow me on Twitter: @finnigr

4 thoughts on “Pause For Thought

  • As your good self Rob, seeing this group parading really shocked and surprised me. In my youth I competed in the Transplant Games and can never remember going to an Opening Ceremony. I am not even sure we had them as we always travelled to the events on the Friday so maybe it is that we just missed it. Getting back to Bolton, as I stood there with my family and you too, I saw the Donor Families Network walk past and I could not help but be moved by them, it brought a tear to my eye. Probably due to the fact that without these good people and their deceased loved ones, I would, quite possibly, not be writing this now. Having had three Transplants already and awaiting my fourth, it really touched me seeing them there. I had heard of the group before, more than likely through this group or one of the many others, but to see them, up close and personal is another matter. Yes they only represented a tiny fraction of the families but they were t here and wanting to be involved in our struggle.

  • Thanks Lindsay. It was such a good day despite the abruptness of my realisation. One day I’ll blog about the circumstances beyond my control that prevented me from contacting the donor family after my transplant.

  • I sent your post to my sisterAlisin because I wouldn’t have been able to describe your sentiments. Your post was so descriptive I could picture the scene. I can’t understand the feeling of being given an organ that enables (hopefully) a new life and what deep feelings that brings to the surface. The indebtedness is immense. So it is understandable you felt over-whelmed when the donor families paraded. Accept the gift, which I know you have already, but seeing them gave you a jolt,. But you have done your best to look after the gift given to you, and will always do.
    It was a touching piece of writing Rob x

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