I, Maya London gently opened my eyes to the blinding golden light playing peek-a-boo through the blinds and to Brownie, my hazelnut colored, tiny, but ferocious Corgi barking downstairs. My eyes slowly made their way down to my alarm clock.
“AAH” I screamed, 7:45. I was LATE! As I leaped out of the fluffy violet comforters that were draped around me, I stopped in my tracks. I heard quiet sobs and whispers peeping from my parent’s bedroom, I got a terrible feeling in my gut.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was the first time I had ever saw my dad crying. I remember his and my mom’s calm and soothing voice trying to explain to me the situation, telling me everything would be okay. Although, looking at their faces I could tell their minds were full of doubt. The moment I found out I was in complete shock. I was just an average 12-year-old girl living in Portland, Oregon whose biggest problem was avoiding her annoying 5-year-old sister. I had never experienced something like this and had a really hard time getting a grasp around it. Since that day, November 13th, 2017 up till today July 1st, 2018 my grandma has been stuck in the hospital in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Over the months my parents have gotten every hospital test possible to see if their kidneys matched my grandmas, so they could donate one of their kidneys to her, but they’ve all come out negative. Not to mention, grandma Sheera and grandpa Vince live across the country in, Orlando, Florida. I knew my grandma had kidney problems and that this day would eventually come, I just didn’t realize how soon and how unprepared I would be.
My grandma has been through a lot over the past years. At age 50 she got SPS (Stiff Person Syndrome), it happens to older aged people and they say it only happens to one in a million. This is where a person’s joints stiffen, sometimes instigating the person to never be able to bend, sit, stand, walk, etc. ever again. This syndrome made her knee joints stiffen, causing her to never be able to walk again. More recently, over the past 5 years she’s been doing a medical treatment called Dialysis. This is a 5-hour process that she does 3 days a week, to keep the kidney functioning until she can find a donor and get a Kidney transplant. Although, few months ago, the doctors said that Dialysis wouldn’t work anymore, and that she needs a kidney transplant, or she has about 3 years left to live.
Obviously though life goes on and now it was the summer of 7th and 8th grade. As difficult as this was for me to process, deep down I knew that time was slowly catching up to my grandma, I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. A world without my grandma is a world I don’t want to live in.
Today, June 1st we are going to my grandparent’s house.
“I can’t wait to see her”, I thought to myself. I don’t get to talk to her a lot over the phone because of our schedules contradicting. The flight was a longing 6 ½ hours and I wanted to sit on the window side, but my sister, Sasha through a fit.
As soon as everyone got comfortable Sasha started crying “WAAH, I’m BOREDD!!” Her screaming causing the other passengers to glare in our direction.
“Look, why don’t you get some rest so you’re nice and fresh for when we reach grandma and grandpas ho...”
My dad didn’t even get to finish before my sister was out cold.
“Sweetie you should get some sleep in as well” My dad whispered in my direction.
“Sure dad” I answered.
I tried my hardest to fall asleep, but I just couldn’t. “ I don’t understand how Sasha can sleep just about anywhere” I muttered confused. Instead of resting like my dad had suggested I had ended up watching 4 movies in a row.
“You have landed! Welcome to Orlando, Florida, the current temperature is…” a flight attended went on as the plane landed jerking everyone back in their seats.
As soon as the plane came to a halt I unbuckled my’n and my sister’s seatbelt and I stretched my stiff back.
My mom asked, “did you get some sleep sweetheart?”
“No.” I lied trying to stop a yawn from coming out, not wanting her to know that I had watched 4 movies in a row.
As I moved past baggage claim it was around 4:30. I looked around and noticed how many tourists there were. Which made trying to find my grandparents even harder.
“Do you see grandma and grandpa?’ I eagerly asked my mom like a 2-year-old asking for candy.
“Um… no I don’t” She answered scanning the cluttered crowd behind the thick metal bars.
“Ooh, ooh, I see them” Sasha screeched.
My grandparents were a very typical elderly couple. Grandpa Vince was a short, frumpy, balding old man with big happy eyes. Next to him, Grandma Sheera had long dark brown hair till her waist that was now graying, her face had many wrinkles, and she was greatly slouching in her black wheelchair.
As soon as I saw them I dropped the suitcases I was holding and ran to her screaming “GRANDMA!!” Smiling from ear to ear.
I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her so tight that she started gasping for air. After the sweet family reunion, we all huddled into my grandparents stubby, sky blue Honda. We drove down the road until a very cozy, picturesque house came into view. The beautiful antique and traditional house looked like it came straight out of a fairy tale.
As I stepped into the house the smell of mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, gravy, stir fry, stuffing, etc. hit me hard. It was as if I stepped into a cookbook.
“Oh mom, why did you go through so much trouble?” My dad said.
My grandma said, “Oh, it was no trouble at all. Now everyone sit down and eat before the food gets cold!” She exclaimed!
No one objected and with that we all sat down around the vintage wooden table and started digging in.
After we ate, I changed. And as soon as I hit the soft, fluffy mattress, I was out cold because of the jet lack.
I woke up the next day hearing cheers and hollering.
I came out of the room and into the living room and asked, “What’s all the commotion about?”
“We found a donor for grandma’s kidney transplant” my dad said, with a warm smile stretched across his face.
“So, everything with grandma is all right now?” I eagerly asked.
Suddenly the whole room went quiet.
My grandma rolled forward in her wheelchair, “you see sweetie, it’s not that simple, there are many risks involved, like my body may not adapt to the kidney and I guess I could get even sicker.”
“So, if the kidney transplant works, you’ll be perfectly fine?” I hopefully asked
“Sort of” my grandma said “with the kidney transplant I could live another 10 years and without it maybe another 3.”
“Oh” I said trying to stop the tears from streaming down my face. “I... I have to go” I said bursting into tears.
I ran down the hall and slammed the door behind me with a loud “BANG!”
15 Minutes later after I had cried so much that my eyes were completely dry, I heard a soft knock on the door.
“Who is it?” I asked”
“It’s me sugar plum, can I come in?” My grandma asked
“Yeah” I answered, she came in.
Just looking at her made my eyes full of tears again.
“I’m really sorry. I’m trying to be strong for you, I really am, but it’s hard.” I said with tears dripping down my face.
“Oh sweetie, don’t you worry. I promise you everything will be alright” she explained, trying to comfort me.
We just sat there for a minute, hugging each other.
When I was able to muster up the courage to go back outside, my parents gently explained to me, “Grandma’s kidney transplant is scheduled 1 week from today!”
The week trudged on as every minute felt like an hour, every hour felt like a day and every day felt like a week. Until the day finally arrived. By then my head was filled with worries and a lot of ifs.
We walked into the hospital and everyone hugged and wished my grandma good luck.
Then she pulled me over to the side and said, “This is one of the happiest days of my life!”
I looked at the loving grin on her face and asked “Aren’t you scared, grandma?”
She answered confidently and said “ You know what, if today were my last day alive, I’d be fine with it, you know why?”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because if I could change one thing in my life, I wouldn’t change anything. My life may not be perfect, but I got everything I wanted in some way or the other! And no matter what happens today, I love you to the moon and back” she said.
“I love you too grandma!” I said hugging her.
“Madam, we need to go” a nurse said pushing my grandma’s wheelchair down a hallway. She smiled and waved, and I waved back.
From that day forward, I always thought about what my grandma had told me, every morning of every day. It was to live everyday just like my grandma did, and to get the most possible out of every day! My grandma, my hero!