Waiting For My Heart To Come
Since my heart transplant people ask me all the time now, how are you feeling? I can guess that the whole idea of a transplant is kinda scary to people. What I think a lot of people avoid asking me is, were you scared? My answer to that is kind of complicated.
You see on one hand it wasn’t so bad. There were great people at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. I have many doctors and nurses that I have stayed in touch with. My mom still thinks it’s kinda strange that I actually look forward to a biopsy every 3 months.
The thing is, I know that these are the people that helped save my life. They made me laugh and made me feel really special while I was there. My mom was always there but many of them held my hand and told me things that calmed my nerves. I never felt that they were treating me like a little kid that didn’t matter. They always spoke to me about what was going to happen and never got upset when I asked a million questions.
On the other hand there were days while I was waiting for my heart that were scary and dark. I tried as hard as I could to keep going. There were days before my transplant when my mom asked me to take a walk in the hall just to get out of the room.
I remember the effort it took just to get out of bed. It felt like I was wearing a suit of heavy cans. I did it because I didn’t want my mom to worry but I felt if I didn’t I would just die in the bed. That’s how sick I felt. It wasn’t the kind of sick you feel when you have a bad cold, it’s much worse. I could feel I was getting slower both inside and outside. I could feel that I was needing to sleep more and more. I worried sometimes I might not wake up. I worried that my new heart would not get there in time.
Being told I needed the transplant wasn’t that scary. I wanted to feel better and I knew a new heart would make me feel better. I had met many kids at the hospital that were waiting and then had their transplants. They were up and walking in the hallway very soon after their operation. I wanted to be like them.
Every day that went by made me wonder if it was going to happen. It’s like waiting for an important letter in the mail that never comes. I started to feel worse and I saw that my mom was starting to look worried. She never cried in front of me but I started to notice that she wasn’t able to hide that she had been crying.
One day I was told that I was going to have a special machine attached to me that would help my heart pump. I remember that the only thing I was worried about was that if I would be able to eat when I woke up. I didn’t know that it would be weeks before I eat again.
I was put into a coma and went to sleep. I didn’t wake up until after my transplant much later. I missed my friends at school, birthday parties, I felt alone.
I never want any kid to feel like I did. I will never forget that I am alive because of what someone did for a total stranger. That one thing has changed me forever. I will always try to do things for other people, especially kids, in order to help them. It is the one thing that I can do to say thanks to my donor.
You may not think it can happen to you but imagine the person you love the most is dying and needs a transplant to save their life. Your mom or dad, your wife, your husband, your brother, your sister, your child….it is hard to think about but I know that you would want everyone to be a donor if your family member was hurting. You would never want them to wait more than a day.
I thank my donor every night. I always say that I will do good things with their heart. Please do good things with yours too.