. . . OR YOU CAN LET HIM GO by Kathryn Seidick


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A eight, Michael Seidick developed a seemingly innocuous cough and slight fever that slowly and insidiously developed into a full-blown kidney infection and kidney failure. When he was rushed to the hospital in a coma, his parents were told that they had three choices: they could put Michael on more or less permanent dialysis; they could opt for dialysis as a stop-gap measure until a kidney for transplant became available; or, they were told, ""you can let him go."" With the last rejected out of hand, the decision became no real choice at all. Over the next six years, the Seidicks commuted into Philadelphia from their suburban home, seeing Michael through increasingly debilitating illness and coma, and decreasingly effective sessions of dialysis that finally necessitated a kidney transplant--which has since been threatened several times by rejection. The Seidick family survived intact against the odds (70 percent of all ""renal parents"" are divorced) by sticking closely together, enlisting the aid of relatives and friends, and having the support of a few cherished medical men--although each family member in turn experienced severe psychological reactions to Michael's illness. (Michael had an older sister, a younger brother, and a newborn sister.) Author Seidick's style is tough and wisecracking: nurses congratulating her on her gentle encouragement of Michael's rehabilitation efforts would have been shocked, she says, to see her approach as soon as they left the room. (""Blow in that goddamn bottle now, Michael, or I swear I'm going to go down to supper and leave you here to turn blue!"") This is a hair-raising medical tale of truly unending complications (Michael's future is still medically uncertain)--related without affectation or glossing over.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1983
Publisher: Delacorte