From the archives …
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OK, it was a bit of a hairy approach, but the cows got out of the way, we got the right wing down, and while we didn’t end up exactly where we wanted, we’re OK (for those who need some continuity, please see the “Uh, Oh…” blog). As one pilot acquaintance has told me, better to stop in some field with some embarrassment and be OK, then wake up lying in a plane mess with your only response “Well, at least we found the runway!”
My lab abnormalities seem to be going away. The ultrasound was normal. And no liver biopsy. This weekend plus a couple of days has been just the normal turbulence that comes with being a transplant recipient. As my angel transplant coordinator quite rightly pointed out “that’s why we do labs on a regular basis”. As in any routine flight there are going to be ups and downs, and the few unexpected bumpy times that cause the request that even in smooth air, we keep our seat belts fastened.
So, I ask – did I over react? I don’t know. But I do know that there is, at least for me, a little demon sitting on the scar that transverses my abdomen that every once in a while likes to remind me of the scariest parts of this trip. And I hope this journey has a long, long way to go. And I get the feeling that the little demon is going to stay right where he is.
I read a lot of tranpslant recipient message boards and other blogs that seem to live off of fear. There are so many stories of rejection, of medication side-effects, of wondering about life expectancy post-transplant, and on to what seems to be a rather selfish manner of promoting organ donor registration – so that when (not if) I need another heart, lung, kidney, liver, etc. there will be another available. Sure, I pay close attention to my labs and how I feel. But I’m not of the mind to live the rest of my second chance at life waiting to see if I’m going to need a third.
I’ve hired a consultant to help me navigate the new world order of finding a job. As part of our initial meeting, he asked me what I wanted to be doing in five years. And that got me thinking. With getting sick through my transplant until now it’s been nearly four years. If someone had asked me those four years ago what I would want to be doing now, the answer would be breathing. When I left my former place of employment, I told Sandra that I didn’t think I’d ever work again. The pain and the grief that saying that caused way overshadowed any fear I had over a dying liver. What I did and where I did it was my life. Without that identity, I didn’t know who I was. Oh, I was and continue to be proud of being a husband, a dad, and a friend. But Dave was that guy who was all over the area talking about that place. He was the guy that every time he played golf, he wore a golf shirt with that place’s logo on it.
That was a dark time that fortunately did not last too long. One thing people will agree on in describing me is that I’m a bit stubborn – I prefer to say that I can get kind of cranky. There was a cranky guy very close to me in my life that once had me helping haul cow manure from a pasture to a garden area. He didn’t believe in any kind of fertilizer except what was continuously produced by the cows on his friends dairy farm. On this particular day, we were going to spread this organic product over his newly seeded vegetable garden. After a while the smell became slightly overwhelming. I said, “I can’t believe this sh*t is actually going on top of something you plan on eating.” He stopped shoveling it, and proceeded with a life lesson that I’ll never forget.
He said, “David, gardening is like life. There are going to be times in your life when you feel like a whole dump truck of this crap has buried you. And when it does, you’re gonna have the same choice as these seeds. They’ll either die in it, or take what’s in it, and I don’t know what the hell it is, that is good for it. If the seed does that eventually we’ll see a little speck stickin’ out of this pile, then another, and another. And those plants will rise up and be alive and well. When those loads of crap fall on you, you’ll need to do the same – don’t let it smother you – take what’s good that you can find that will help you grow and be stronger.” And he went back to work – me too.
So I had some labs that weren’t favorable. So I got so sick I had to leave a job I loved. So I almost died. So I got a liver transplant. So I’m job hunting. That’s all fertilizer. Where do I want to be in the next five years? Writing, talking, and helping people find the nutrients that maybe they can’t initially see so that they can grow. Fertilizer happens!