It was exactly six years ago, early February, 2010. It had been over a month since I’d entered the University of Wisconsin Hospitals Transplant Clinic to await a liver transplant. Finally, one became available. As I felt the wheels of the gurney turn beneath me, gliding toward the operating room, I felt confident in the skill of the surgeons, there was no doubt in my mind. However, two attorneys had been to my room a week or so earlier to update my last will and testament – just in case. This was a high risk situation, but there was no alternative. No room for fear here. It would just get in the way.
After many hours, I was lying semi-conscious in the recovery area with, I was told, about a hundred tubes in me. I slowly drifted back into the world, I heard some distant voices saying something about my having two liver transplants. What? Two? I only signed up for one. This must be a dream, I thought. Then I heard it again. I started asking anyone who walked by, “Are you real? Is this real? Am I in a dream, or what?”
Not until my super-hero surgeon, Dr. Hernandez, told me, did I finally believe it. He told me, with an uncharacteristic smile, “The first liver wasn’t working well. But, we found a better one, and it’s a really good one.” How they were able to find a second one I don’t know. Fortunately, I was in one of the best hospitals in the world for transplants. Doing impossible things is routine for them. It’s their job.
I would remain in the hospital until mid-April. It was a three-and-a-half month long experience that can’t be told completely in one story. So, I will write more about this in the future. Stay tuned.