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These People Are Extra Good At Kindness

, , , , , , , | Healthy | June 25, 2021

About a year ago, I decided to become a non-directed kidney donor. I live alone — except a five-month-old husky puppy — with all of my family in other states a good 2,000 miles away from where I’d just moved a year prior. As the surgery date started to approach, I needed to get things in order. I tend to be both very independent and overly optimistic about what I can get done on my own. Due to their own life difficulties, none of my family would be coming out to stay with me pre- or post-surgery. The following is a brief summary of the many wonderful ways I was reminded of just how wonderful people are.

My puppy: my puppy was a rescue I had found by the side of the road at the start of the health crisis. I’d just started going to the dog park with him when the surgery got scheduled. The surgery came up in conversation, and three different strangers volunteered to come to pick him up and bring him for walks and to the dog park. Another new friend with a small baby and a puppy of their own offered, without being asked, to take him for the entire hospital stay. 

Homecare: while I was recovering from surgery, at least a dozen different people stopped by to clean my home, take my dog out, bring me meals, and help me get up to exercise. Several people also heard that I was not eating because of how bad I felt and made it a point to either bring me the only things I could stomach (variations on dry breads) or sit on the phone with me and go through menus until they said something that sounded edible. 

School: I am a graduate student and did not fully appreciate the impact it would have on my semester, nor how much my classmates and professors would care. Every single professor continuously checked up on me and went out of their way to accommodate me as much as possible. One even dropped off special homemade soup at my home. Several classmates were kind and patient enough to review and reteach me whole units because I was too doped up on drugs to properly understand them the first time. They gave me rides to the store, took me out walking, and just sat patiently with me while I was miserable. 

Possibly the sweetest was in the hospital. The night after the surgery was the worst. The anesthesia was finally wearing off and they had to double my pain meds, but the oxygen monitor kept going off every time I started to fall asleep. Apparently, I breathe shallowly when asleep. It was so awful and it was really late at night or early in the morning and I just felt so miserable and alone. I definitely was not rational and was extremely emotional. I proceeded to start going down my friend list on my phone calling people just to see if anyone was up and could keep me company. Every person I called answered. Half of them just read Jane Austen to me until I calmed down or would just talk so I could hear a familiar voice. The last person I called stayed on with me until the doctor came back around and was able to change the meds and get me off the oxygen so I could sleep. 

With the exception of the people on the phone, none of these people had known me for more than a few months, and I’d only met most of them a handful of times. I’m doing great now, as is the donee. I’m doing so well, in fact, that it is easy to forget that the experience even happened — except when I look down at my scars, and then I get the chance to remember how a group of near-strangers took care of me like I was their sister, daughter, granddaughter, and friend. 

People really are remarkable.

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