Chapter One: Diagnosis
Chapter Two: Donor?
Chapter Three: Dialysis
Chapter Four: Transplant
Chapter Five: Recovery
From My Lens

An update from Amber. Written on Tuesday, April 4, 2000, 3:45 p.m.

After being cooped up in a hospital room for much of the weekend, I find it difficult to return to work when I know that John is some four hours away struggling with far more important issues.

I left him last night after we settled him into the Galter/Carriage Outpatient Pavilion, where he has a decent-sized apartment in which to live for the next four days. He has books, a chess set, a dozen or so videos and some 40 rolls of unedited film to occupy his time.

Over the weekend, John's family became convinced his recovery time would be expedited if he were left pretty much alone, forced to fend for himself in order to get food and such. For better or worse, they were probably right.

John now is alone with his father, John Jr., who is nothing if not an outspoken advocate for getting off one's butt. Hopefully he and his son will find a happy medium in which John Jr. encourages John F. to work for his recovery but doesn't push him past his limits.

For me, it was difficult to say goodbye. No matter how much (unwarranted) praise I get for helping John, I always walk away wishing there was more I could do. I pick him up Friday morning so he can start the at-home portion of his recovery. I can't wait to see him again.

In the meantime, it's hard to guage how he's doing. Over the phone, he says he's in pain and he's still working on mustering the motivation to force himself to move.

On my end, it's hard to go back to how things were. All of our co-workers have been kind enough to ask not only how he's doing, but how I am as well.

Still, the day-to-day hassles seem so pointless. I feel both disgusted with the daily routine and hungry to change it, and I'm starting to suspect that this ordeal might put a whole new spin on my overall outlook. If I had to search for just one positive side effect to all this, that might be it.

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