The question "How is your brother?" used to be one of my favorites, because the news was so good. Everyone loves a happy ending, smiles all around, shakes of the head and praise for the marvels of science. Today, I still value the question because it is so precious to know people are thinking and caring about our situation, and frankly, relieving to be invited to talk about it. But it's a much more tiring question to field these days. I don't know how much people want to hear, and no matter what I don't have enough to tell them, because I don't know enough. None of us do, not even Joe's doctors. Joe just keeps plugging away at the little setbacks, and we keep hoping that next time he leaves the hospital, it's the last time he'll have to do so for a while.
When I talked with one of the doctors at NMH about my plans to convert this site into a larger resource for potential and former donors, she cautioned me to be sensitive to donors whose experiences weren't as positive as mine -- donors whose recipients rejected the organs, donors who never got the chance to donate because the recipient didn't make it until or through surgery, donors who have since attended their recipients' funerals, and donors who suffered complications themselves. I imagine how it must feel for them to answer the questions, and two thoughts come to me. First, I'm better able to truly empathize, and second, while it might be hard, we are very, very fortunate. Blessings counted.