But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. Psalm 37:15.

“You’re getting a roommate in a few minutes,” Hannah, the nurse on this shift, said briskly as she tugged on the privacy curtain between the two beds. It billowed toward me before swooshing to a stop on the end of its track. “You’re just about due for more meds. I’ll be back.”

I eased back against the pillows. I had just been wheeled back to the room after another test. My temperature went down with the meds, but would go back up when they wore off. All Dr. Marsh could tell me was I had an infection of some kind, and he’d confined me to my room. I hadn’t seen Apryl since I’d held her right after she’d been born. The nurses from the nursery kindly came down to give me a report on how she was doing at least once a day. She was still in the incubator, but doing well, they said. When Tommy came in the evenings he would see her. But, it was hard to know she was just down the hall.

“Let’s get you settled in, Heather.” The nurse’s voice drifted through the curtain. “We’ll get your vitals.”

“You all take good care of patients here. I surely do feel fine.” A soft voice with a southern accent answered. “When will the doctor allow me to put on my brace?  I know not to lace it too tight right at first, but it sure helped me after my first baby was born. In no time at all I was back into shape.”

A brace? My imagination went to a knee or a leg brace 

Hannah hesitated before she answered. “I can ask your doctor, but it would cover the surgical incision and provide extra pressure on your abdomen. You just had a caesarean section not two hours ago. Let’s just wait until I hear from the doctor.”

“Oh, I guess that’s okay. Do I have a roommate? Could you open the curtain before you leave? I like to visit.”

Shortly after, I was not just praying for Apryl, the doctors and medical staff, and a diagnosis, but lofting urgent pleas for patience as Heather talked incessantly. To my relief she checked herself out of the hospital the next morning against doctor’s advice.


On the third morning, a lady with long brunette hair was nursing her newborn in the other bed when I was wheeled back into the room from yet another test. She looked up and said, “Hi, I’m Sheri and this is Aubrey. I guess I’m to be your roommate for the next day or so.”

I nodded and spoke on the way to my bed. My head was pounding and all I wanted was to burrow under the covers. I crawled in and with shaky hands I pulled the covers up as far as they’d go to try to get warm. The bed shook with my chills.

“Are you sick?” Sheri asked with alarm. She shifted her baby as far away from me as she could. “Do you need me to call the nurse?”

Hannah stepped into the room before Sheri could hit the call button. “It looks like you’re past time for your meds. Let me take your vitals and I’ll get them.” She popped the thermometer in my mouth, whisked the blood pressure cuff around my arm, and jotted down the readings on a slip of paper. “You’re back up to 101 and your blood pressure’s up a little too.  I’ll be right back.” She drew the privacy curtain partway closed before pausing by Sheri’s bed on her way out the door. “Is the baby asleep? I’ll take her back to the nursery after I give Lin her meds.”       

With the medicine on board, I closed my eyes and lay still, willing the meds to take hold and the chills to ease off.

I was almost asleep when Sheri’s soft voice asked, “What is your fever from? Is it something you can give me and my baby?”

“They are still doing tests.” I admitted wearily. “All they know or all they’re telling me it’s from infection of some kind. My baby was born five weeks early and she’s in an incubator in the nursery. My family’s been around and they’ve let them come in, so they don’t think it’s contagious.”

“Okay.” She turned on the television set and began to watch a morning soap opera.

About mid-morning a group of visitors swarmed in. I turned toward the window to give them some privacy. My eyes drooped closed.

“That’s a beautiful baby, Sheri,” a man’s deep voice said.

“She’s got lots of dark hair.”

“I think she’s a toss-up between you and Matt.”

Someone cranked the volume of the television up and switched channels to The Price is Right.

“Are there any more chairs in this place?” Footsteps moved closer to my bed. My eyes popped open and I swiveled around to see a dark haired man in his twenties stride around the privacy curtain. “Sorry. Do you mind if I borrow this for a little while?” He gestured to the chair against the wall at the end of my bed.

“No, that’s fine.”

He walked back around the curtain with the chair in hand. “I see you have a roommate, Sis.”

Sheri said, “She’s pretty sick, I think. She had temperature a little bit ago. Supposedly she has an infection of some kind.”

“Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to request another room, honey. You don’t want to get sick or your baby to get sick.” A woman’s voice said.

“It’s okay, Mom. Don’t worry. She said she wasn’t contagious.”

My heart pounded in my chest and I began to shiver as the chills struck again. Was I contagious? I didn’t want to hurt the lady or her baby. The sunlight streamed in the window and made a patch of brightness on the side of the bed. I curled around it and finally fell asleep.

The rattle of the lunch trays on the cart in the hall woke me. Sheri’s bed was empty. Maybe she was lucky enough to go see her daughter. Tears welled up in my eyes. Was I ever going to get to see Apryl again? I wasn’t getting any better.

“Hey, are those tears?” Hannah walked into the room with my lunch tray and sat it down on the table. “Does your head hurt again?”

“I’m okay. Just a little pity party going on. I’m just not getting any better. I have temperature again before it’s time for more meds. I can’t even hold my daughter.”

Hannah patted the back of my hand. “I think the doctors are done with the testing. You should know something by the end of the day.”

“Am I contagious, Hannah?” I searched her eyes to check for any doubt. “I don’t want to hurt Sheri and her baby.”

Spring, 1981 – The Beginning

Psalm 27:14.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

“You look really tired,” My friend, Marian commented as I eased into the passenger seat for our commute to the school. “Another late night?”

“No, thankfully my in-laws decided not to come over last night.” I sighed. “Nine is their normal time to pop in even though Tommy and I have to be up before six.”

Marian’s eyes twinkled. “Maybe they got the message when you let them have it last week when your father-in-law went in and woke Andy so he could play with him?”

My lips curled up into a grin. “That night they sure didn’t stick around long. Andy’s just three and plays really hard at daycare. He needs to be in bed early. That night it was eleven-thirty before I finally got him back to sleep. Last night all three of us were in bed by ten for a change. But this baby is a night owl and he or she is sitting on my bladder, I think, because I was up three times.”

“You’re getting close.”

I nodded. “Six weeks. I’ll be glad when May twelfth gets here for sure.”

As Marian drove north out of town toward the school I leaned back against the seat and mused what the day would be like with school winding down for the year and my fourth graders already restless.


I just couldn’t get comfortable. I rolled over and lay against Tommy’s broad back.

“Are you okay?” He whispered.

“Yes. Just trying to find a comfortable spot.” I was almost asleep when I felt the baby move. He or she kicked hard enough so Tommy could feel the tiny feet patter against him.

He laughed. “This one must be an ornery one. He doesn’t like when you’re next to me like that. I get it every time. He’ll probably kick his way out.”

I patted him on the shoulder before shifting a little and laying still. The baby did a few more laps, then soon quieted back down. I closed my eyes, listened to Tommy’s even breaths, and matched them with my own.

A few hours later I awoke clammy with my nightgown sticking to me. I sat up and pulled on the neck, drawing it away from my body. A gentle whoosh of air drew my attention to the open east window. The shade thudded against the wooden window frame as a cool breeze billowed the curtains around. I curved on my side, straightened the covers, and lay still, trying my hardest to go back to sleep. But, the urge hit again and I padded my way across the carpet back to the bathroom. A shiver raised my shoulders when my bare feet hit the linoleum floor. I flipped on the light and muttered under my breath. First I’m hot, then I’m cold. I made a quick job of it and scurried back under the covers.

A few minutes later I had to make another trip. It burned a little this time. When I finished I glanced at the toilet paper before I tossed it in the water. I sucked in a deep breath when I saw a stripe of bright red smeared against the white. “Oh, God. What is that?” I whispered.

My hands shook as I reached for the lever to flush the toilet, and my eyes strayed to the water in the bowl. It was also bright red. Oh, Jesus. That’s blood.

The water swished down the drain. My legs grew rubbery, and I thought I was going to fall, so I sat down on the side of the bathtub. The cool porcelain seeped through the thin cloth of my nightgown as I decided what to do. All I could think of was something’s wrong with the baby. Fighting panic, I hurried back to the bedroom and grabbed my purse off the dresser, then I felt my way in the dark through the kitchen to the telephone on the wall. I flipped on the light and dumped my purse on the table for the phone number Dr. Marsh had given me on my last visit.

He answered on the second ring and when I haltingly told him about the blood his response was, “Even though you don’t have any pain I think you need to be checked over. You’re about forty-five minutes away, aren’t you?”

“But, it’s not time yet.” I stuttered. “I’m not due until the middle of May.”

“We’ll see you in a little while.” He disconnected the call.

I hung up the phone, walked back into the bedroom, and sat on Tommy’s edge of the bed. I shook his shoulder and his eyes blinked open. “Honey, we need to go to the hospital. I’m spotting and Dr. Marsh wants to check me over.”

Tommy turned his head on the pillow and looked up at me. “It’s not time. They’ll just send us home.”

“Maybe. Maybe not. I’ll call and warn your mom that we’ll drop Andy off on the way.”


We got to Mercy Hospital around seven-thirty that morning. When the nurses checked me I was already dilated past six. Apryl Michelle, a beautiful baby girl with lots of dark hair, was born at eight-twelve. She weighed five pounds and twelve ounces. After I got to hold her, they rushed her into the nursery to put her in an incubator. Her lungs weren’t developed fully as she was five weeks early.

Dr. Marsh told me before he left the delivery room, “I knew you’d be in. You were dilated at your appointment on Friday afternoon. I almost kept you then.”

Tommy’s eyes got big. I think it dawned on him that if he’d just put me off and turned back over that morning, he might have had to deliver the baby!

Later as I settled in my room I couldn’t get warm, so I asked for more covers. When the nurse put them on, she touched my forehead. “You’re warm. I need to take your temperature.”

I was one hundred and three degrees warm.

My New Normal

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.

No matter how we plan and expect things to turn out a certain way, sometimes God has a path he has already set out for us. It’s hard to accept when difficult things happen like chronic disease or Covid-19 and the life style change it has brought about. Doesn’t it mean when you are a Christian that life will run smoothly with no hiccups along the way? I’ve found instead that I have a Comforter, Counselor, Savior, and Guide. One of the first things God gave me from the beginning was peace to accept things as they came.

My life changed radically when my kidneys failed. He put it on my heart to write about my experience. My main purpose for this blog is to help someone else through kidney disease and dialysis. This is my story in excerpts.


July, 2018

 “This Holiday Inn has a good hot breakfast,” Tommy, my husband, checked out the selection as I followed.

“I don’t see a microwave though. You know what the nutritionist at the hospital told me. There’s lots of bacteria from lots of people milling around and serving themselves. I’ve been getting by with nuking whatever I’ve taken in the other restaurants.” I shrugged. “You go ahead, honey. We can stop along the way for me something to eat that’s packaged.”

“Whatever you think,” he replied and picked up a plate.

As I looked for an empty table to wait for him, a trim, older lady dressed in navy scrubs deftly tied the full trash bag in the nearby trash can, pulled it out, and replaced it with a clean bag. She smiled as I walked over.

“Excuse me. Do you have a microwave?” I asked softly. “I just had a kidney transplant in March and I have to be careful what I eat. Buffets aren’t real safe for me.”

Her blue eyes widened and to my surprise she reached out and gave me a hug. With tears and a look of profound grief in her eyes she whispered, “God bless you. My grandson was a donor.”

I blinked back my own tears as a wave of conflicting emotions swept over me – first gratitude, then sadness for her grief poured in. “I may not get to ever meet the family of my donor to thank them in person, but I can tell you what a blessing my transplant has been. With my gift, I know you are grieving your grandson. I’m sorry for your loss.”

She patted my arm and made her way back to the kitchen. I filled my plate and followed.

She looked up from the tray she was washing in the deep sink in the corner of the room. “Our grandson was a remarkable young man. My husband and I had raised him from a baby. One day my husband and I were laughing in the kitchen after both of us had picked that day to get our driver’s licenses renewed, and we had signed up to be an organ donor without telling the other. The coincidence set us off, and he came downstairs to find out what was so funny.

“I explained what being a donor meant and that he could do it too if he wanted when he was eighteen. Lots of people donated blood, bone marrow, or a kidney, and he thought that was something he wanted to do too. He turned eighteen in January and he and his girlfriend were in an accident that May. He saved seven people as a donor. Fifteen hundred people came to his funeral.”

I slid my plate into the microwave, set the timer for a couple of minutes, and looked at her carefully. “From what they’ve told me at the hospital he is living on in at least seven people. I can’t express what my donor has done for me. My husband and I are on our way home after watching our granddaughter twirl at the baton nationals in Wisconsin. We’ve been to our oldest grandson’s baseball games all summer. I’ve got to hold my youngest granddaughter after she was born this spring.”

 “I was on dialysis for two and a half years. I hadn’t felt like doing anything for a long time. Now I can, thanks to a new kidney. All I can say is thank you for your gift and your help.”

The lady looked back at the tray and began to scrub again as I forced the tears back. The microwave pinged. As I took out my plate and turned to walk back to the main room, she turned her head to the doorway and said, “The little girl down the block from us just had a heart transplant. She’s doing great. I’m glad you’re doing well too.”

When I sat down at the table with Tommy he noticed the tears in my eyes. “You okay?”

I smiled back at him. “Yes. I just have to process it, then I’ll tell you later.” I thought of my journey and how someone like the young man’s had ran parallel with mine.

Memorial Day Words

My soul is heavy today. Memorial Day always makes me a little sad. So many have made the ultimate sacrifice and died for our freedom. This year our first responders are on the battleground. When I walk through a cemetery, especially a military one, the awe of sacred ground fills me. I feel strange if I talk to someone there in normal voice, not that I could wake anyone up, but as a sign of respect.

Greenwood, the cemetery that lies close to the edge of my town, is filled with some people that I knew and loved. It is especially beautiful this time of year as our local American Legion marks each veterans grave with a standard and a small flag and an aisle of flags flutter at the entrance where plaques of the names of the veterans line the main entrance. There is usually a ceremony with a speaker, band, and little flower girls who dot the ground with petals in the military portion of the cemetery. It’s raining this Memorial Day so the passage may have been moved inside or not due to the coronavirus recommendations.

My soul is heavy today. The coronavirus has changed how my little corner of the world has reacted. People in a small town are usually respectful to follow the guidelines considered to be safe. With my low immunity and underlying conditions, neither I nor my husband stray too much and get out amongst crowds. I ran an errand today to one of the local stores. I wore my mask and I noticed a few others with theirs and some without. I didn’t tarry, but went in, made my purchase, and left. Each person makes their own choice. The photos from the Lake of the Ozarks with the crowded pool looked pretty foolhardy to me. I pray that this doesn’t lead to contagion to the people in the area or those around them when they return home. I’m just thankful my kids are respectful enough to me to worry about my safety.

My soul is heavy today. My heart hurts for those who have lost their jobs and are seeking another to feed their families. Many businesses won’t survive this downturn, especially those small mom-and-pop stores on main street. When someone loves what they do and are investing themselves and their livelihood in their store and suddenly it’s not financially possible, they have to make changes. I believe God has another opportunity coming for them, better in the long term. I pray that recovery comes quickly for their sake.

This coronavirus is real, not an item on the news to scare us or something to blame someone else about. I pray for those who have died from it and their families who have to go on without them and I thank God for the survivors.

My soul is heavy today. I pray for those who are hungry, depressed, facing an uncertain future, in areas devastated by natural disaster from storms or flooding, and or separated from their families by deployment, employment, or for safety. I’m only one person, but maybe my prayers may help just one. And, if I pray for someone else maybe my problems fade into small ones.

God bless our military and first responders.

The Corona Virus normal

I’ve given up on the news. I can’t decide what’s true or false information. The pictures the networks were showing from New Year were devastating. Then another report said some of the pictures taken were from Italy, not where they were advertised. When is making money or creating panic worth more than the truth. Kansas has cases and they are growing in number but for the most part my fellow Kansans have paid attention to the guidelines of quarantine.

The reports said those over 65 or with underlying conditions like asthma, low immunity, diabetes etc. were the most vulnerable. I guess I fit right in that category as I take immune suppressants daily since my kidney transplant. So… my husband and I stay close to home. My daughter gets our groceries and what we need for supplies. Being home and hunkering in away doesn’t bother me. I’ve never liked being around crowds. I like my own company and I get to write in the process.

When the corona virus strikes close to home it makes you sit up and take notice. We had a good scare when my nephew and niece came down with it and in a health care workers worst nightmare (they both work in a hospital in Kansas City) brought it home to their three kids. God was good and only my niece had to be hospitalized. It was serious. She couldn’t breathe. She was in the hospital almost ten days with the virus and needed heavy oxygen support. They are recovering at home.

We will continue to hunker in even though Governor Kelly will be lifting some restrictions on Monday. And we’ll only make necessary trips. I pray people use common sense before thinking things can go back to the way it was. It won’t and it can’t until they get this virus figured out. On a lighter note I’m glad I don’t have the problem of finding out where to store the excess toilet paper. Maybe we need to slow down a little and enjoy what we have – our health, our families. Our economy will come back and come back strong.

For now my characters are calling. Selena is in trouble again in the Contessa of Montaire series. This one is Montaire Under Siege. I just have to give Sam suggestions on how to get the trouble magnet safe again.