Catching up with a blogger on the threshold of the OR and his new life

We recently ran across “Just Kidneying,” a blog described by its author, Jim McFarlin as  “A middle-aged man strives to come to grips with another organ that is letting him down, with faith and good humor. It’s Stage IV kidney failure as musical comedy.”

It’s funny.  It’s touching.  It’s a well-written, warts-and-all view of  life on dialysis and the kidney transplant list. (McFarlin, 58, of Champaign, IL,  is a journalist, hence the well-written part.)

We’d been reading his blog, and meant to email him to see if we could link to “Just Kidneying,” or get him to guest blog for us. But life is busy and we never quite got around to it.

This morning, however, one of my colleagues looked at the blog and found that McFarlin was here at Barnes-Jewish! He had gotten the call from his transplant coordinator yesterday afternoon that a donor kidney had become available and looked like a very good match.

McFarlin and his wife, Karen, hopped in the car and drove to St. Louis. I caught up with them in the holding area, just moments before McFarlin was to be wheeled into the operating room.

They were tired, but cautiously optimistic. They had been through a “dry run” this summer. At that time, they had gotten the call, gone to the hospital and at the last minute, found out that the kidney would go to another, sicker patient at a different hospital instead.

So, this morning,  Jim and Karen were both trying not to get too excited. Good plan, except Jim is irrepressible – talking and joking with the nurses and doctors in the holding area, and teasing the pesky PR person who suddenly appeared to shove consent forms and video camera in his face!

But the McFarlins were gracious enough to share their thoughts on what it’s like to be on the verge of a new phase in their lives.

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