This time last year in 2018, I was on CAPD dialysis. It was very tough on my whole family. My wife was the sole support for us and my daughter was dealing with life while watching her daddy permanently unwell.
One morning at 3am, the hospital phoned and offered me a kidney transplant. I leapt at the chance and had the operation. Within a week, I was home convalescing.
My mother fostered a boy who had been neglected, abused and let down by social services. Their verdict was that he was ‘headed for Borstal’.
My mother ignored his petty thefts from the house and when she received a phone call from the police saying they had him at the station with an unusual amount of coins on him, she assured him it was her coin collection she had given him (and not the content of a phone box he had robbed!).
Sat on a train in my early twenties, I chatted to a Hindu gentleman. We chatted about life and religion and he asked me what I thought the most important thing in life was. I was unsure and offered lots of ideas. I never forgot how we shared that ultimately ‘thankfulness’ was the most important thing. I have thought about this often and feel it to be profoundly true. I am thankful that he was kind enough to share this.
I have a one-year old so I’m sleep deprived a lot of the time. I was driving to meet my mum and suddenly realised I was going the wrong way. Making a terrible judgement call, I went to turn around on the edge of a field and immediately got our empty two-wheel drive sprinter van stuck in the mud. With baby in car seat and my little dog running around, I pulled our mud guards from under our feet under the wheels and began trying to dig out.
The first car to pass stopped straight away and Theo, a stranger, spent half an hour ruining his shoes in the mud, manoeuvring my van and eventually pulled us out with a tiny Pergeot and a strap. Total hero.
When I was seriously ill and in hospital, I couldn’t find out my test results for days on end because the doctor was far too busy. A very junior student doctor saw my distress at being left for days without information and wanted to find the results for me. During my many dinners in hospital she always appeared when I felt most alone. She went the extra mile, taking her professional duties to a greater level. That’s kindness.
I was cooking and opened the window, which made the front door open and my 2 dogs got out. Later, there was a knock on the door and a man was standing there with my dog. It was so kind that I didn’t like to ask if he had my other one as well!