A Wife Gives her Husband the Gift of Life

 

The year 1998 was the beginning of a remarkable transformation for my family. My father, Jim Dineen, the always healthy, weightlifting, never-missed-a-day-of-work kind of dad, discovered he had kidney disease. He was 52, and had no symptoms. We don’t really know how he got it — he even guessed that exposure to Agent Orange when he was in Vietnam could have been a factor — and the road to recovery has been long. But in November 2003, my father received a healthy kidney at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, where my parents live. My mom, Joyce, a year his junior, was his donor. After years of marital ups and downs, multiple surgeries for complications of the disease, and financial challenges by the dozens, our family dynamic changed for all of us in ways we never could have expected.

My parents have certainly had their troubles, and as their child I’ll never know how they made it to 38 years of marriage. They loved each other, but they didn’t seem to like each other very much. Dad was too fond of his beer, and he talked down to Mom a lot. When she tried to stand up to him, a fight would inevitably follow. I remember Mom once coming to visit my sister Leslie and me when we were both attending Miami University of Ohio. She told us she and Dad were splitting. But ultimately, our parents stayed together because of their faith. They believed somehow that God had a reason for them to remain married, and resigned themselves to sharing their lives, however imperfectly.

It was my dad’s disease that began to change things. In the beginning of his illness, he went through hell. In 1999, his electrolytes plummeted so low as a result of diuretics he was taking that he passed out and fell in the bathtub, fracturing both elbows and several ribs and suffering a concussion. He had been put on the steroid prednisone, and initially gained 40 pounds of fluid and almost lived in the bathroom.

Dad was self-conscious about his appearance, waiting until night to go out for groceries, and even then using the drive-through lane. The only time he really appeared in public in two years was at a wedding. Dad wanted to be there so much that he was willing to risk ridicule. (The only clothes he had at home that would fit on his swollen body were a gray sweat suit and slippers.) I don’t know where he found the strength to go on.

During it all, my mother stood by, sympathetic and helpful. She was at his side through six stomach surgeries and 35 more procedures to drain fluid that had collected in his abdomen from the prednisone. He and Mom had to work as a team just to get him through the day.

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36 thoughts on “A Wife Gives her Husband the Gift of Life

  1. Parents have the obligation to stick together for the sake of their children

  2. Amazing and wonderful story. I’m in my mid-20’s, but I can understand that years together can also push parents (couple) apart (saw it from my parents). But no matter how hard it’ll get in a marriage or how miserable, they stay because beneath all of the clutter lies real love. I also saw that with my parents. My father died 3 years ago, he suffered for years and my mother was by his side until the very end. Even though he was mean to her, she stayed.

  3. Love is the gift of life.
    Parents are blessed when kids can make the most sense of the whole family thing and based on this story I could clearly see that the kids are blessed hearts to have understood the parents all along and the mom is the super hero here…What a wonderful story and a happy ending..
    I wish all your family a very happy and healthy life.

  4. tanke you very much . it was great . I hope every body be sombody like this cople because ,  is life and its up and down.

  5. tanke you very much . it was great . I hope every body be sombody like this cople because ,  is life and its up and down.

  6. The love of God in us flows to those around us.Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. Husband should always appreciates his not only when in troubles but always same for wife.You’ll never appreciate what you have until you loose,it’s happened to me before

  8. i really love the story its likely the same with my father and my mother…but they haven’t have this kind of sickness that open a life changing for their relationship…jen

  9. i really love the story its likely the same with my father and my mother…but they haven’t have this kind of sickness that open a life changing for their relationship…jen

  10. how lovely….a true essence of unconditional,undying love of a husband & wife…

  11. how lovely….a true essence of unconditional,undying love of a husband & wife…

  12. how lovely….a true essence of unconditional,undying love of a husband & wife…

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