A Living Story

By Joe Arthur Ramirez

My Father, Joe Angel Ramirez raised four children by himself for many years.  During this time he made sacrifices in order to provide for his four children.  He worked 2 – 3 jobs, saved and bought a home, and made sure he provided the best he could for his children.

Years go by, his children grow up and start living their lives all the while “Pop” kept tabs on his children. Making sure we were ok.  Hosting family gatherings for Thanksgiving & Christmas almost every year. When our Mother came back into our lives he embraced our relationship with Mom.  We would all gather for the holidays including Mom & our Step-Dad.

In 2003 I was working for the US Department of the Army in Germany.  As always, I kept in contact with Pop and would call from Germany to check up on the family.

During one call my Step-Mom Nancy Ramirez answered and we talked as Pop was out running errands.  Nancy told me she was concerned with Dad’s health as his kidney was starting to fail.  I found out that Pop had one kidney removed due to cancer back in the 90’s and being Pop, he did not bother any of his children by telling them.  Back to Nancy’s concern… she told me that Pop needed a kidney transplant and that he had been talking to my Uncle Rudy, Pop’s youngest brother.

Immediately I realized my Pop needed my help.  I decided right then and there on the call that I would resign from my position in Germany and fly home to take care of Pop, as he had taken care of me and my siblings.

I notified my management of the situation and they told me that instead of resigning, they would transfer me to Ft Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas where I could drive to Houston as needed for the tests and evaluations.  That in itself was God-sent.

I fly home,  start working at Ft Sam Houston about a month later due to US government paperwork, but I was much closer to Pop.

We started the testing and evaluation process at St Luke’s Hospital in August 2003.  The US Army gave me the ability to be in Houston any time needed for these tests.  Finally we received the news in mid-October 2003 that I was a perfect match for Pop.  The doctor’s asked when did we want to schedule the operation and we said Halloween, October 31st, 2003.

That was 10 years ago this Halloween.  Since then Pop has been as healthy as expected at 80 years old.  The most important part was that he almost did not allow me to donate.  He was concerned about MY health. Concerned what would happen to me in the years to come.  First I assured Pop that during this testing process the doctors at St Luke’s would make sure I was in good health.  Plus I made a promise to my Pop that I would take care of myself.  Eat right, live right and live healthy.

The family has had 10 more years living with Pop, and we are all looking forward to many more.

Additionally I would like to thank the great staff at St Luke’s Hospital in Houston Texas for their expert care and consideration during the process.