Before I knew about the check fiasco, when I thought everything was done and ready, I tried to book my travel to get the stem cell treatment. I had been researching previously, and learned that August is the least expensive time to travel there, to the clinic I’d selected. An hour quickly went by as I reviewed airlines, travel routes, and hotels. Of course, I selected the travel insurance option. A woman can’t be too careful, when on dialysis and cruising out in the vast world with a chest catheter ever present. I was ready to push the button and pay with my new debit card. The one directly linked to my medical benefit fund at the bank. Only it wouldn’t go through. It was the weekend. My bank was closed. There was nothing I could do at that moment.
Due to the growing stack of medical bills, almost all of my money is consumed by doctors, hospitals, labs, and dialysis. I’ve barely managed to handle these bills alone, thankful to those allowing me to set up payment plans of meager amounts: ten dollars a month, maybe twenty-five at the most. I do what I can to sort through it, match bills with EOBs, and catch the errors of my insurance company and the group that bills for emergency services at my local hospital. It is a part-time job.
This is why I don’t have another way to pay for the travel other than this one debit card. In case you’re wondering.
Periodically I would visit my friend downtown to tell her the latest news. Walking through the door, I found her hard at work like usual even after business hours were over. The decision was firm in my mind, and I’d finally chosen the clinic I believed would give me the best stem cell treatment for a fighting chance at kidney recovery. It was June, and my friend listened patiently and attentively to my remarks about the clinic and the field of stem cell medicine. Excitement lifted my voice, as I divulged trivia about the patient, who had successfully recovered following the same treatment. I had spoken to this patient, and almost fell out my chair as I learned that this happened two years ago. There had been no complications. Only functioning kidneys as a result, and an end to dialysis.
This particular friend has always been a generous soul. I go to her to get her opinion, and I highly value it. Her comments were what I sought that day. Nothing more. As I rose to leave, she asked me what I thought it would cost to travel to the clinic. Following my reply, she immediately grabbed her checkbook, and without hesitation wrote me a check for the exact amount. Looking at me, she said now I could go whenever I was ready, and that I could use the funds however I wanted. Once in the solitude of my car, salty wet drops smeared my makeup and rolled across my neck. There have been so many reasons for tears throughout this health crisis, although the ones cried for joy are much sweeter.
Quietly resting in my bank account, these funds waited. I waited for Monday. The earliest day I could go to my bank and fix the problem with my debit card. The problem was partially mine, since I’d forgotten to lift the transaction limit on the card. I thought it would be simple. It wasn’t. Plans were crumbling, and monies were unraveling.
Days passed, and my iron-strong intuition kept pestering me that I needed to book the trip. I needed to go no matter what. I prayed for guidance and clarity, as I do more often than people realize, and remained open to seeing and hearing whatever messages might come through. I had enough to pay for the travel, but not enough for the treatment. Not even enough for the deposit with the clinic, for which I had negotiated. I knew I had to go sooner than later, and at the time I was still attempting to figure out what had happened to the pivotal donation check.
Everyone has moments when they have to decide to leap or not to leap. I was facing mine. Friends kept telling me to “GO”. One of my doctors randomly called me and said, “you just need to go, get the treatment, get well, and get that catheter out of your chest.” I listened. I heard the message over and over. It was time to leap. To have faith that my friends, family, community, strangers, and the Divine would hold out their hands to support me and get me there.
“Dearest Archangel Gabriel, give me the strength to get through this”, I asked every day and night. With lightly sweaty hands and fingers, I pulled up the travel itinerary on my computer. Rechecking the details, I confirmed. My debit card worked this time. It was done. Like falling off a cliff into the darkness unable to see the bottom, I lept into my future.
A handful of people knew about this before today. People, who I could count on to be positive, and who wouldn’t think I was too crazy. Truthfully, I must be a little crazy to take this leap. Faith and believing in the Light, the Divine, the Goodness in others requires craziness. Some have been callous. Some have been all talk. Some haven’t viewed organ failure as a serious malady, warranting immediate action. Never mind them. I relish having the experience of seeing the best of humanity, or as penned by the devout Tukaram, “how then can a heart feel it is broken and in need if we are held in the arms of infinite compassion and strength?”
I AM going. Today, in this moment, I am savoring the secrets I have yet to tell. Shortly, they will have their moment as well. Confusion and misunderstandings are fading fast. Time will fly by, and then I’ll be boarding the plane, racing to a renewed lease on life. I may only be leasing my body for a lifetime, but I can’t wait to extend the lease.
To you, who have listened, given, prayed, reached out, reconsidered, cheered me on, and embraced me with love: my eternal thanks. Without you, I couldn’t have made it even this far. Blessings, blessings, blessings.