Holly lifted the heavy chart off the door and peeked her head in the room. Lexa’s head popped up from her coloring book, “Nurse Holly! Cool! Are you here to take me down to the center?”
“You betcha, Baby Girl...are you ready? Where’s your momma?”
“She went to the cafeteria…we can leave her a note, okay?” Lexa pulled a crisp sheet of paper from her caddy. She sharpened a red crayon and began to print, “Holly, how do ya spell ‘dialysis’?”
“D-i-a-l-y-s-i-s. Wow, Sweetie, look how nice your penmanship is!” Holly oozed, “You are getting so smart.”
“Thanks, Miss Holly. I can’t wait to start school again. I mean, mom’s a good teacher, but I like feeling like a regular kid.” Holly watched her scramble down from the bed and place the note on her pillow, it read “Went to dialysis. ‘Heart’ Lexa”. The block letters in red crayon devoured Holly’s heart whole. She averted her eyes from the bandages on Lexa’s fresh graft. Her little veins could only handle them for so long before it needed to be moved. Three times a week for four years Lexa had been coming to the dialysis center at the hospital. Holly had fallen in love with the child; so different from her other grumbling patients. Her bubbling optimism renewed Holly’s faith—her desire to live. If that child could keep a smile on her face, so could she.
“All aboard, Kiddo,” Holly patted the seat of the wheel chair.
“Aww, can’t I walk? Please?”
“Those puppy dog eyes won’t work on me, Girly. Hospital rules, everybody rides.” With a dramatic roll of her hazel eyes, she plopped into the chair.
“Can we go past the babies? I love seeing the babies…”
“I don’t see why not. We should do it before your treatment…you’ll be tired afterwards.” Holly steered toward the elevator, letting Lexa press the button with a smile. The doors opened to an empty cabin and Lexa grinned again; more button pressing fun. “The babies are on two,” she reminded Lexa.
As the elevator opened, Holly had to put a gentle hand on Lexa’s shoulder to keep her from bounding out of the chair, “Simmer down…”
As they strolled up to the nursery glass, Lexa gave Holly a pleading look, which she replied with a nod. Lexa stood to gawk at the swaddled newborns, “They’re like baby burritos, all wrapped up like that. I’m gonna have a baby someday. I’m gonna get a new kidney, and when I grow up I am going to have a life just like everyone else.”
“Yes you will, Baby Girl…” It was so hard to hear the words and not temper them with realism. Holly knew how far down Lexa was on the transplant list; she knew how hard it was to find a match to Lexa’s rare blood type. No one in her family had matched for a living donation. This kept Holly up praying countless nights.
Lexa interrupted her thoughts, “I know what you’re thinkin’, and you’re wrong. My kidney isn’t gonna come from someone who dies…someone I know is going to give me one of theirs. When I was really little, I had a dream about God, and He told me so. He said that someone who loved me would give me a kidney. He told me not to worry, just wait and believe. So that’s what I do. I don’t even hafta know when…He promised me so.
“Don’t cry, Miss Holly. It’s true. You’ll see. Someday you’ll stand here lookin’ at my baby, too.”
With trembling hands, Holly wiped the dripping mascara back up toward her eyes, “I believe, too, Lexa. I believe, too.”
Lexa settled back into the wheelchair, and they proceeded down to the center. Holly took her back to the pediatric area and carefully hooked her up to the machine. “Here’s the remote, Kiddo. It’s all yours today. I’ll be back in a little bit with some juice, okay?”
“I know, Kiddo.”
“Holly, you can’t. It’s against hospital policy.”
“With all due respect, Doctor, don’t quote policy to me. God has put this on my heart from the moment I saw that we had the same blood type. I love her. I love her family. Let’s just do the tissue typing, and then go from there. If I pass the evaluation process, I resign if the heartless board of directors insists. I’ll resign today if I have to.
“God and Lexa have been patient long enough…”
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