Who woulda thunk it? Me at a Super Bowl game!

Posted on Jan 31, 2014 in Family, Polycystic Kidney Disease | 0 comments

Who woulda thunk it?  Me at a Super Bowl game!

Super Bowl frenzy time! The very lucky Reluctant Donor attended Super Bowl XX.  The story behind it shows the grit, generous nature and fun-loving spirit my mother possessed.

My Dad is and always was a diehard Chicago Bears fan. Dad and his buddies had season tickets to the Chicago Bears for almost 50 years.   When Mom married him, in her infinite wisdom, she used to say to us, his daughters, “Girls, if you can’t fight ‘em, you might as well join ‘em.”  That’s why all of us women know what a 1st and ten is!   Some of us even attended games with Dad when the Bears played in Wrigley Field.

Any Bear fan worth his weight in pigskin knows the 1985 season was charmed.  We were living in Florida. Mom and Dad were retired and spent their winters near us.  Mom was on dialysis because of polycystic kidney disease –an artificial kidney machine was keeping her alive – at that point, for six years.   A tough cross to carry, but one she did well – to stay alive.

Dad sold his home game tickets easily that year of 1985.    In Florida, when the games weren’t on TV, we found an oyster bar called Schuckers that had satellite TV so we could see the games.  Our daughter dressed as McMahon that year for Halloween.  When the Bears won their two postseason games with shutouts, come on!  We were obnoxious!  Super Bowl here we come!

“Well, they call me Sweetness and I like to dance . . . “ Each of us could sing the words to the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Mom, though, was the sweetest of all.    She approached Bill and me.  “Would the two of you take Dad to the Super Bowl in New Orleans?  It might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for him to see his beloved Bears in the Super Bowl.  I’ll watch the kids.”

“But, we’ll never get tickets, Mom!”

She had it all figured out.  Because he and his buddies had seven season tickets between them, there was a lottery drawing for tickets to the Super Bowl.   “He’ll win a ticket,” Mom claimed. “You watch –  I’ll pray!”

We left for New Orleans after Mom’s Friday dialysis.  Mom didn’t tell us she had a bad dialysis day.  She had told the nurses a few times that she didn’t think her machine was working right. No one listened. She was sick when we left, but kept it hidden, putting on a good front.  Our school aged daughters, whom mom called Little Angels, along with Mom waved us off.   “Bye, bye!  We’re going to party, too!  Now we can stay up past bedtime and eat all the candy and sugar we want, right, girls?”

Dad did, in fact, win a ticket to the Super Bowl! Bill’s brother, George, somehow got tickets for Bill and me.  We called home to tell Mom and the girls.  “I knew you would get  tickets! I have an in with the Man Upstairs! Have fun!  The girls are being so good.”  Mom told us.

It was a magical weekend in New Orleans. We celebrated with Dad’s buddies, friends from Chicago, and Bill’s brother. Mass at St. Louis Cathedral with Dad kicked off the day. We ended it with the Bear’s victory amid Dad’s tears of joy.  Chicago Bears 46! New England Patriots 10!

Arriving home late Monday still elated, the bubble of joy burst when we saw Mom.  She looked like the Goodyear Blimp – swollen and puffy and in her words, “sicker than a dog.”

“Gramma was throwing up, but she wouldn’t let us tell you,” our daughters said.  “We took good care of her.”

“I think it’s the machine.  It’s just not right, but no one believes me,” Mom whispered.

We called her nephrologist, we lit a fire under everyone at the dialysis center, we insisted.  Everyone told us we were wrong.

But, Mom was right.  She dialyzed on another machine FINALLY after we demanded attention.  The dialysis machine Mom had used was indeed broken.  It’s a valuable lesson for all patients.

I always think of Mom on Super Bowl Sunday and her great love for my Dad.  Dad will be 90 in a few weeks.  The three of us will be watching the Super Bowl together this year.  I think Mom knows.




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