Both the Rev. Karen Onesti and Rabbi Andrew Bossov were in good spirits and relatively good health yesterday, 48 hours after she donated a kidney to him.
They were both up walking together, urine bags in hand.
"I've got my purse," Onesti joked.
Onesti, 49, and Bossov, 47, are clergy in Mount Laurel, and know one another through an interfaith group. When she heard last year that his kidneys had failed, she offered one of hers.
He was stunned. They were, at best, casual acquaintances.
Onesti said she thought that donating the kidney was a way of putting God's words into action. Both said they felt the hand of God in this transplant and hoped it would encourage others to donate kidneys. The operation was performed Tuesday afternoon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Even though she was in significant pain yesterday, Onesti said she had no regrets.
"Just seeing how good he's feeling, how good he looks - that's such a blessing," she said.
The two are in adjacent rooms, spending lots of time together. The rabbi joked that his father was calling her more than his own son.
Doctors said the surgery was a success, and both patients said their single kidneys were working perfectly.
"We're doing well," the rabbi said. "I still have a catheter in me. I'd like that to go."
"Likewise," said Onesti.
The rabbi wore a T-shirt covered with good wishes written by members of both congregations - Adath Emanu-El synagogue and Masonville-Rancocas United Methodist Church.
Removing a kidney is a more punishing surgery than receiving a new one, and Onesti appeared to be in more discomfort than the rabbi.
Bossov said doctors told him he could be discharged as early as tomorrow, but he was reluctant.
"I would feel very funny leaving before Karen," he said.
She had given him the gift of life and he couldn't imagine leaving her behind.