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Transplant Athlete
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
  My World Was Off Its Axis

Sorry for the long break in posts dear readers. My grandpa's passing hit me hard and I still feel like my world is a bit off kilter. I was named after him and as a kid, he was always "Big Lou" and I was "Little Louie." My grandma would yell at him, "Lou go for bread," He'd nudge me and say "Which Lou," with a twinkle in his eye. My grandma would feign annoyance and repeat, "Big Lou."

I spent four days in NJ for the funeral. My grandpa was a funny man, but not haha funny. He served in WWII, but he apparently gave the MPs as much trouble as the Germans, because he left the Army the same rank he entered...Private. That's what you get for sluggin' a Sergeant. He worked two jobs to support his family, often times, he'd be home long enough between jobs for a smoke break and not much else. I guess it's important to tell you he had four daughters, so maybe he was just trying to get away from all that estrogen. One of his favorite jobs had been working as a truck driver, at times he did incredibly stupid things like driving with no brakes. His other favorite job was operating a forklift, but mostly because "they" called on him to get a forklift in and out of places it shouldn't go...He started smoking when he was in his early teens and quit cold turkey in his 50s without a patch, gum, hypnotism, anything. He drank beer, but loved a shot of Scotch now and then.

He had 10 grandkids, I was the first, Andrew was the last. He has a dozen Great Grandkids. His father (an italian immigrant) lived to be 93 and I have vague memories of going to visit him. I had always thought my grandpa would live into his 90s, like his father. My grandpa was a bit racist, but I think he used to say those things to get us upset more than any internal meanness. Eventually, as he aged, it seemed more and more like he just didn't know how to censor himself or more accurately, didn't censor himself enough.

In the end, like Kenny Roger's Gambler, my gramps had himself a shot of scotch and died in his sleep.

 

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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