by G.W. McKinney
The transplant coordinator at Baylor Hospital, Dallas, calls me. “We have a kidney for you. Do you want to go through with the operation?” This could extend my life.
“Uh, let me think, YES. What do I have to do?” Isn’t science great!
“Don’t eat anything and come to the hospital, at Johnson admitting, right away.”
On the way there, I hear, on the radio, an eighteen-year-old boy, riding a motorcycle, fell from the LBJ overpass, in Dallas. He is on life support, pending transplants, as he had wished. I pray this transplant works, for my benefit, but also, to not waste his precious gift.
Nurse Kelly checks my urine bag daily. We both know, urine content, or absence of, represents my life or death. “None yet; it’ll start soon. Don’t worry.”
I ask Dr. Clintmalm, “What’s the longest it might take for one of these cadaver kidneys to start peeing?”
“About seven days, but we can’t say for sure—what’s too long. It’ll start. When I hooked up the artery, that baby turned bright red.” He checks my big bag of nothing then smiles and leaves.
On the seventh day my family is, thankfully, allowed in. However, I suffer the hidden disappointment, on their faces, as the attendant wheels me off to dialysis. I could kill that mocking bag.
I obsessively check my catheter-tethered bag, hourly and cuss it severely, as often. At one o’clock on the tenth day, I notice something odd, as I lean over the edge of my bed to inventory my artificial external bladder—a hairline, near the bottom. What is that? I get out of bed, carefully maneuvering my penile-pipe-torturing tubing, to get a close-up look at the mysterious line of demarcation.
It’s an emergency, so I push the button. “Can I help you?”
“I need a nurse! There’s a line in my bag!”
Nurse Kelly paws her mane back to check my bag of pride. “It’s nothing—maybe condensed water from the air in the bag. Wait, it’s growing. You’re making pee!”
The Kucera’s come to visit that evening. They were the kids we used to go camping with. Daddy said they were godsends; two boys and two girls to keep my sister and I entertained. Those Kuceras were from another world—Czechs from Ennis who ate klobase, called their daddy, Diddy, and went to Mass every Sunday, even when camping.
As I was about to flood them my good news, they tell me about a prayer vigil they held for me at their church. “We discussed your need for prayer with our congregation Sunday, and had many volunteers meet us today at the church for the vigil. I want you to know; it was an uplifting experience, we all felt.”
“Well, that’s great. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness, and the peoples’ in your church. Wait, did you say today?”
“Yes, today, before we came to the hospital.” I felt funny.
“Uh, what time were you praying?”
“Let’s see, we met at 12:30, we waited a few minutes for everyone to gather, and finished just before 1:00.”
The scientific hairs on the back of my neck raised their collective, little white flags. “My new kidney started working today, after nothing for ten days. None of the kidneys they’ve done here have gone that long and then started to work. I was constantly checking my companion bag. It started collecting right at one o’clock, I swear.”
I expected shock, disbelief, wonderment, and awe, as I had. I got, knowing nods and congratulations.
I can do anything now—not tied to that dialysis-machine ritual. I invent the holographic fishing lure about the same time as I am laid off from my computer job. I am, obviously, invincible, so I invest my severance in my brainstorm and begin barnstorming the country’s boat shows.
Jeb, a Cajun, boat-cleaner-solution entrepreneur, befriends me, out of the bayou blue. He asks me if I’m part Cajun, and I have a strange feeling, like he is a cousin or something. Soon, he introduces me to a famous, old Cajun, Willard, inventor of soft plastic lures. “Jeb say, you alright, boy, so dat’s good enough for me, too.” Day take me right in. Willard says some incantations in French, and I think I’m adopted.
We try to sell our million dollar ideas, at all the boat shows, in between eating cajun food and talking dat cajun. Now, if I don’t have cajun food for awhile, I start feeling like I need dat cigarette, and I don’t even smoke, boy, I guarantee.
A big fishing company covered my holographic original, so I never made any millions. I’m at the clinic for a checkup, enlightening myself with my folder, I borrowed from the other side, of the door, to the examining room. “Large intact graft from eighteen-year-old, male from N.O. Louisiana.” My God, my kidney is a Cajun, no wonder I….
“Hello Tiger, I see you found your folder. How are you doing?”
“My kidney was from a Cajun! Right after my transplant, these Cajuns glommed onto me, like I was one of them; and I started ca…raving cajun food. I thought my kidney was from a guy here in Dallas all this time. Could a cajun kidney actually make me start liking everything cajun?”
“There’s no scientific basis for a transplant to cause altered preferences. The human brain notices coincidence then tries to assign a logical explanation to it, that’s all.”
Obviously, I owe my life to science, prayer, and crawfish etouffee, not necessarily in that order. Are silly string theory, spooky quantum mechanics, fuzzy logic, and invisible dark matter more likely than a prayer perceived? As science discovers more, our realized unknowns increase exponentially, proving; we will never be the all-knowing.
G.W. McKinney is a computer programmer, naturalist, inventor, and writer of poignant, humorous hyperbole. This essay, “Part Cajun”, won honorable mention in the 2016 "Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition"—kudos to the author in the December issue (essay not published). His essay, "Pirate Ship Treasure Discovered", was published in 2016 by Mamalode Magazine.
His author website is under construction here.
He finished-off a thriller novel, Doomed or Dead, My Choice that needs an agent.