Now, only eight months into retirement, I’ve discovered that my bucket list already needs to be revised because an item I had very much hoped to achieve has proven to be beyond my reach. Two years ago I decided to explore donating a kidney. I know this sounds daring, maybe even scary to some readers, but I’ve always been a risk taker and the risks associated with this procedure are rare, and extremely minor, compared to the extraordinary life-saving benefit to the recipient.
There is no official age cutoff to be a kidney donor but potential donors past age 65 are scrutinized closely. The concern is, even though an older donor may be in good health with excellent kidney function, this must be weighed against the potential long term health risks to the older donor. In my case it was determined that my age and a family history rampant with heart disease and diabetes ruled me out as a potential donor. I’m disappointed, but I understand the conservative approach the transplant team must take.
My reason for sharing this bucket list story is to encourage younger readers to consider being a living kidney donor while you are still young enough to do so. The need for this life saving gift is great. Over 90,000 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for a kidney transplant; and each year nearly 5,000 of these individuals die waiting for a donor.
I’ll have to be satisfied with being a post mortem organ donor (hopefully there is something they can use). In the meantime I’ll be content with donating blood as often as I can.
As they say, when one door closes another opens, and when it does don’t be afraid to walk through it. I’ve decided to add a new item to my bucket list. On several occasions before my retirement I told Joel T. Wilson (locally famous and world renowned auctioneer) that I would like to work with him when I retire. I never imagined that I would actually do this, but after talking with Joel, and with his blessing and encouragement, I’ve decided to turn this whimsical notion into a bona fide bucket list item. I will be attending the Ohio Auction School near Columbus in October, and then serve with Joel as an apprentice auctioneer.
Fortunately, one of my other major bucket list items remains firmly intact, that is to visit all of America’s National Parks. Yvonne and I are planning an extended road trip this fall. When we return we will be able to add at least six pins to the National Parks map I have mounted in the man cave.
Bucket list items do not have to be large, grandiose, or expensive. The one item that should be on all of our bucket lists is close at hand, is easy to achieve, and reaps rich rewards. I’m referring to the simple act of sharing hugs, smiles, and love with our families, friends, and, yes, even strangers. But I do have one word of caution; think twice before you start hugging strangers.
George Brown is a freelance writer. He lives in Jackson Township.