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[Opinion] A Husband

Posted April. 08, 2005 23:38,   


The reticent man, 53, had rarely expressed his love for his wife who had been suffering from a kidney disease after giving birth to a son and a daughter. Nevertheless, consideration for his wife has always been the top priority in his life. He took his wife to Japan, where she, who had to undergo dialysis frequently, could be treated in a better environment. He was grateful for his company that allowed him to take two training courses in Japan. He came back to Korea in 1998, leaving his family behind in Japan. After two years, he left the company and went back to Japan where his wife was staying.

Earlier this year, he decided to transplant one of his kidneys to his wife who at the time had been suffering from kidney disease for over 14 years. His wife`s condition was getting worse, and he could not afford the increasing medical expenses. His son, a college student, had long promised to "give his kidney to his mom at any time,” but what weighed upon his father’s mind was that his son was soon to serve his military duty. Fortunately, he was given a positive result that indicated that a kidney transplantation between him and his wife was possible.

He felt anxious. In particular, after a friend told him that there was "a case in Singapore where a husband died during the kidney transplant operation," he could not sleep well. A couple of days before the operation, his wife, finding her husband becoming more haggard by the day, asked him to "cancel the transplantation," saying that she would "try to endure a little longer." He felt somewhat swayed, but he resisted her suggestion, pretending to be unshaken. The day before the operation, he summoned his son and told him, "Be resolute, as it is possible that both your mom and dad may not recover.”

The transplant operation was a success. One of the rare words he told his wife, lying in bed next to him after the operation, was "Are you okay?" with a provincial accent. He heads back to Japan early next week, leaving his wife in Seoul who needs to receive outpatient treatment for three more months. To his friends joking that now he "does not need to face any divorce requests," he just replies with a grin, "The only thing a blunt guy from Gyeongsang Province and a former marine has done for his wife during his 30-year marriage has been to give her one of his kidneys." Even after enduring numerous hardships and sufferings, both mentally and physically, he displays quite a bright face.

Oh Myung-chul, Editorial writer, oscar@donga.com