Picture this, on one side of an antique trunk sits an 80 year old Korean War vet who is a whiz with numbers. On the other side sits someone whom you are sure is a pregnant man with his giant belly resting between his legs. One has age-appropriate short-term memory loss for his 8 decades. The other, a bald guy, wheezes and coughs and has trouble with numbers, dates and has a memory that is not characteristic to 49 year old people you know.
Now let me state the obvious that cribbage-playing readers know. Cribbage is not the best game for people suffering with memory loss (whose crib? should we cut? I think you just counted the crib twice. Whose turn is it?) Add the guy with the number issue and a comedy is born.
The players? The old guy is my daddy and the gut-monster, bald, wheezing guy who couldn’t pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel is me. But it was one of the best afternoons I have ever had with the laughs, and chaos and mostly, spending time with my dad.
It’s actually quite a gift when chronic disease opens your eyes to the most special times in life. I’m thankful for that but, yeah, I wish I had figured it out before staring death in the eye.
I might have to have more fluid drained from my lung but Dr. Tien (my heptologist) wants to try to wait until surgery if we can. So, praying army, send one up that I can hang on and manage.
Welcome to Red Sox nation. Diggin’ that hat, Billy!
About 10 months ago, when I was feeling like there was no one who truly understood, this guy from Virginia found me. You who are not into God stuff would probably call it “lucky” or a coincidence but I’m not buying that. Bill finding me was what I call a “God thing.” Hear me out. Bill, with his slightly off sense of humor, his avid love for baseball and his desire to follow the radical Jesus (sound familiar?) had his transplant May 16, 2011. Bill has helped me walk every step of this awful journey. This southern boy, diehard Cincinnati Reds fan who lives in Virginia became one of my best friends. He has introduced me to others I now call my liver family. Some days, he has powered me forward. Uh huh, coincidence… yeah, right …
So, a few days ago, Bill announced he was abandoning his Reds hat and replacing it with a Red Sox hat he would wear until I returned home with my transplant. It’s a big deal to us. Trust me all you sports haters, this is guy love. (My Yankee friend Bob Gardner hasn’t even done that. Don’t you think he should??? If you know Bob, feel free to shame him into it 🙂 )
Today I got a Reds hat in the mail. I was sure Bill sent it. No, it was my son Josh. He ordered a Reds hat for each of us to wear to honor my friend and his 1 year transplant anniversary date of May 16. I’m thinking the baseball heavens might just be quaking!
Yes, I am scheduled to have the transplant 9 days from today. Josh will give me a chance to live and celebrate weddings and spoil my grandchildren. He will give up to 60% of his liver in an adjacent operating room. He’ll endure pain while his liver grows back to 100% in a month or so. Dr. Pomfret will be his surgeon. She’s a pioneer and one who many would call one of the top transplant surgeons in the nation.
Next door I am blessed to have another one of the top in the country, Dr. Pompacelli. His team will remove my entire diseased, scarred liver at the precise moment when the other team makes the final cut disconnecting the portion of Josh’s liver.
How do I feel? Stunned, relieved, terrified, hopeful, a bit worried. Other words? Prayer, praise, music, thankful.
My pain and discomfort level is fairly constant but I see the promise of the end in sight. It makes it more bearable somehow.
So, unless plans change (as they frequently do for transplant patients), in 10 days I will begin phase 2 of this journey; the recovery process. Please pray that BOTH Josh and I stay healthy and catch no bugs. Pray for peace for both of us (Thankfully, Josh did not inherit the scaredy-cat genes of his daddy). Pray that I represent my Jesus well; the Jesus of the ancient scriptures not the man-remodeled Jesus so popular today. Pray for my sweet Robin. As an introvert she doesn’t reach out and tends to keep things inside to be shared only with her dearest friends. You guys know who you are. And please, pray for my kids and my whole family as they endure a stressful day of awaiting updates during two long surgeries.
No matter the outcome, I have learned and believe with 100% of my being that …
God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3:17 MSG