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What would you do if your 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening kidney condition that requires a transplant to save her life? Would you stand on a street corner with a giant sign, begging motorists to get themselves tested in hopes that one of them will be a match? What? A little too much?
Michigan mom Stacey Schwerin did that last week, and I can't say I blame her one bit. In fact, I'd like to send her a "You Go Mom!"
The only thing that comes close to the horror of finding out your child has a serious health problem is the waiting. Waiting to find out if they'll live or die. That's the holding pattern the Schwerins are in right now.
Little Jessica Schwerin has stage IV kidney disease. She's on the donor transplant list, but in the state of Michigan, there are more than 3,000 people waiting for an organ transplant. Of that, more than 2,500 are waiting for a kidney transplant.
You can imagine how long this could take.
Putting myself in her mom's shoes, I have a feeling I'd be the kooky lady with the sign on the side of the highway too.
Of course most of us are never in those shoes. We're lucky. I've only had a taste of what it's like to be the mother of a sick child.
My daughter was 4, and we'd just bid goodbye to the neonatologist who'd cared for her since birth. His retirement meant finding a new pediatrician, and the new pediatrician was very thorough. He even found what he thought might be a problem with my daughter's heart. Maybe not, but he wasn't taking any chances with a 4-year-old. He suggested we see a specialist. Only you know how specialists are. They book up fast. We were going to have to wait. And wait. And wait.
By the time our appointment date finally came, I'd worked myself up into such a frenzy of nerves and tears that I'd already envisioned a future spent in children's hospital wards. I'd cried and cried and cried again. I was a wreck.
And then the doctor came in and put her through her paces and said she had something to tell us. Our daughter, praise all that is good and holy in this world, was fine. Is fine.
After all that, I know how fortunate I am to have a healthy little girl. But it's given me a greater appreciation for what it's like for these parents who have to sit around waiting on doctors, unable to do anything to help their child.
It's our job to do what we can for our kids. Stacey Schwerin can't magically make a kidney appear for her daughter, she's doing the next best thing. She's reminding people that they could save a child's life. All it takes is that one test. Check out her story:
Have you had to wait on doctors when your child was sick? What did you do to make it through that time?
Image via WNEM