By Chris Six
Joe Zizzi's childhood in the 1950s had everything a kid could want--pro athlete dad, wonderful mom, cool big bro. When the '60s kick in, this ideal life is violently shaken: a car crash claims his mother's life and his father's career, and brother Matt becomes distant and disturbed. Over the years, Joe learns to cope and carves out a niche for himself as a college sports star, and later as a coach and writer, but he can't quite shake the family legacy. Diagnosed with kidney failure, the semi-pro husband and devoted dad has life-and-death decisions to make--and life wins, though perhaps only by a slim margin.
Dr. Fabian—his first name, nobody uses his last name—referred Dad to Dr. Reilley, a nephrologist. Reilley’s got a brogue a mile wide and recognized Dad’s name from the Bruins.
First visit, he asked general health questions, kidney questions, and hockey questions, ending up by giving Dad an orange plastic urine collection jug in which to insert 24 hours’ worth, which has to be kept cold until next week’s visit. Imagine being confronted with this baby when you open the fridge for your juice.
Dad’s kidneys are functioning at thirty percent.
Next visit, Reilley reads the blood test results and gives Dad the list of the six foods to stop eating.
“What? I’ve eaten one every day since birth.”
“What do I drink with breakfast?”
“You’re not making this easy, doc.”
“Wait, I’m still working on the spuds. Okay, I’ll eat yams.”
That includes yams. Chocolate.
“Doc, you trying to kill me?”
“Doc, you know I’m Italian, right?”
And he told him to lay off fried foods. Dad said, “As a frequent fryer, I’m gonna find this difficult.”
Outside: “How do I manage? How do I survive? He’s got my five basic food groups.
What was the sixth thing?”
Dad patted me and chuckled. “Good thing you’re not the patient.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Chris Six is a writer, the chief everything officer of The Chris Six Group, and the recipient of somebody else's kidney: "I narrated the story onto tape before I ever wrote a word. I even brought my recorder to dialysis and upset the technicians. Nowadays, I'm in awe of indie authors doing hands-on marketing. I couldn't imagine doing this even five years ago."
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