The coordination of the events to make my transplant happen was extraordinary. I was one of several recipients from our donor who were each simultaneously prepped for surgery in up to eight different locations. Heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines could each potentially save a life. Over the past 24 hours the organ matching process had been occurring behind the scenes involving hundreds of nurses, transplant coordinators, physicians, flight crews and ancillary staff.
The planning was meticulous. Each retrieval team had to time their arrival at the donor’s location while the individual recipients, like myself, were being readied for the operating room. That was potentially nine different operating rooms in nine different locations! This did not include eight potential transportation teams consisting of pilots, flight nurses, ground crews, drivers and emergency personnel.
Imagine eight private jets or helicopters timing their departure and return to coincide with the surgical teams preparing both the donor and eight possible recipients. The logistics were mind-boggling. Any military commander would be jealous. It was healthcare at its pinnacle.
I was very fortunate to be the 551st heart transplant at St. Luke’s Hospital and one of over 2,000 nationwide that year. Technology and medical therapy had come a long way since the first transplant 45 years ago, performed in December of 1967 by Dr. Christiaan Bernard. The first patient was Mr. Louis Washkansky.
My surgery was on July 19th and I went home August 1st: There’s no place like it! It felt like a family vacation. During those 12 days my wife, kids and myself spent almost every day together. They kept me in the loop with the outside world and made me feel normal. Not a typical bonding experience but either way, priceless. Living vicariously through your family is a good thing.
During my stay I was reminded by one of my comrades that perhaps I should consider a hair transplant next time. Oh how I love my friends.
Just prior to my discharge, I listened to my heart for the first time ……………………….Wow!
© EQUSGolf 2016
“The strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.”
Regaining momentum after a nine month hiatus was difficult at best. To break the boredom and monotony of the standard micro-management, of a newly acquired heart, was a challenge. Momentum is a fleeting force. We had it, we lost it and just like that the outcome to our iron development project was in jeopardy.