On April 28, 2013, my parents moved back home. It was bittersweet, leaving behind the friends that they had made but so looking forward to all the memories to be made at home. His transplant journey was far from over though. He would have to continue visiting St Louis for the rest of his life. Annual and semi-annual doctors visits for different things like biopsies, pulmonary function tests and blood work.
Transplant life complicates things in some ways too. My dad will be immunocompromised for life. He has to wear a mask out in public and can no longer eat at buffets – #germophobeforlife. He can’t be around my kids when they have their vaccines and when they get sick with a cold. He has to take more medicine than he has in his entire “sick life” to keep his body in check. If he gets RSV – a simple cold to most healthy adults – he has to be admitted to the hospital and receive special viral treatment in a pressurized room (we’ve been through that now too).
It is hard sometimes, but I truly believe that it is worth it. We have gotten nearly five years that we never thought he’d get, and hopefully many more. He has gotten to meet my children and even babysits for us. My kids adore their papa. He has gotten to really live, and do things that he enjoys. He can go outside without oxygen on. He can go places without having to drag oxygen supplies with him. I don’t think I could ever express the magnitude of change that transplant has had on his life. You take so many things for granted. These have honestly been the best years of his life.
If you have not yet registered to be an organ donor, please do. You have no idea how much you can help someone by giving the gift of life. Someone, someday may be at your mercy. Giving someone a few years more than they thought possible would mean the world to a family in need. Believe it or not, my dad is also registered as an organ donor. Granted, they may not be able to use all of his organs, some can still be used for transplant. I plan to give back when my time comes as well.
In conclusion, I’d like to take a moment to thank his donor and family for their selfless gift. I know that letting go of your loved one was the hardest thing to do. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that you can take comfort in the fact that your gift saved my dad’s life – and probably many others as well. We will love you always,
The Family of #1256
Register to be an organ donor here: https://organdonor.gov/register.html
And if you’re in need of a transplant of any kind visit here: https://www.barnesjewish.org/Medical-Services/Transplant/Transplant-Center-Overview
If you are on a transplant list or looking to be, please don’t be afraid to reach out.