Tethered

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I am tethered by several feet of tubing attached to a dialysis machine for eight hours every day. I am also facing the possibility of a kidney transplant. That should be wonderful news. Instead, it’s causing great fear in me.

What do I fear? Pain, weakness, difficult recovery, taking powerful anti-rejection drugs . . . and probably a few unspoken fears. My doctor says that a transplant will mean a longer life and a better quality of life. And yet, I seem to be content with a steady life marked with daily dialysis, remaining tethered to tubing and a dialysis machine.

Preparing myself for a transplant feels like taking a chance on a better life in spite of the risks. It feels like daring to try for a future that is better than the present. It feels like trying a mighty thing, moving forward and calling up all the courage I can muster.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke of daring mighty things one of his speeches – “The Strenuous Life” – given in 1899 in Chicago.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Perhaps a kidney transplant does not really qualify as a mighty thing. Yet the quote speaks to me about not being content to “live in the gray twilight” and instead daring to take a risk. It encourages me to move forward, to try for a greater quality of life, to take a chance for a longer life, and to get rid of my safe tether.

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