Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is heavy

The last day of assessments was a breeze. First appointment was for an abdominal ultrasound. They warmed up the gel before they lubed up the ultrasound-probe-thing. That was nice. Took about 20min.

Next was an appointment with a rando doctor who is unaffiliated with the Transplant program to get a completely unbiased outside opinion of my health. He quickly jumped on the heart murmur. He had me lie sideways, upside down, back, forward - listening to every little noise my heart made. He says that there's no question that I have a heart murmur.

All in all, he's pretty sure that the murmur will not affect my eligibility. However, it may have some long term implications on my health, unrelated to the transplant.

Last was the psychiatric evaluation. It wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be. It basically consisted of questions like: "When did you first think about giving your liver?", "Do you feel pressured to?", "How would you feel if you were deemed ineligible?", "How would you feel if you were deemed eligible?", "How committed are you to this?", "Do you trust that the recipient will strictly follow the post-op procedures?" (failure to do so could jeopardize the success of the new organ), "How would you react if the recipient died after the transplant?"

It felt like a breeze at the time. And I answered the questions honestly... I didn't answer them to try and 'cheat' my assessment. I told her I was nervous about the whole thing. Voiced all my fears and concerns.

However, now that both Chel and I have had a few days to reflect back everything, we're both feeling overwhelmed. Before the assessment, I could go on with my everyday life - just putting the whole transplant out of mind. But now we can't stop thinking about it.

It's clear that this isn't a cut and dry decision anymore. This isn't like getting a tattoo or a piercing (as far as the physical procedure). This is giving someone half of your liver - your only liver. If something goes wrong with your only liver... well...

So how does faith play into my decision making? I had to ask myself this question a few days ago as I realized I hadn't given it much thought. What does God have to say about this?

As soon as I began to meditate on that thought, two points came to mind almost immediately.

A) What's life without love? One of Jesus' sidekicks, Paul, says that I could give all my possessions to the poor - but if I don't have love, it means nothing. (1 Corinthians 13)

B) What greater love then to give your life for another. (John 15:13)


When your so close to love, life and death - our existence on earth at its basic elements - you see the world the way it was supposed to be - with new eyes. I can finally see that we've (humans) got our priorities completely wrong.

Its all a facade. None of what you accumulate on earth is important. None of it. When your lying on a stretcher being wheeled into surgery to give half your liver away, your not thinking about how big your savings account is. Or how big your house is. All I'll be thinking about is how grateful I am to have a wife holding my hand and God holding my life.


What's the bigger leap of faith? Living a safe life - keeping half my liver - and knowing that I'm doing all I can to keep myself safe? Or laying my life on the line - giving half my liver - and trusting that God is doing all He can to keep me safe?

This is so heavy. This is heavier than anything I've ever had to carry.

1 comment:

Jaymie Bloomfield said...

There are givens in life.
To some who do not know suffering and sacrifice, the givens of life can feel unatural and cold. But to those who are aware and open to the sufferings of our reality, they know that it holds the same ordained quality or right as Dolce's turd.

I have no cheer here for you big brother.
It wouldn't be right for me to come in and tell you all the hopeful platitudes we told dad when he was in the hospital. It would simply dishonor your reality.
Sometimes all people can feel is despair. We can lose track of the copious words and phrases we tell ourselves in trying times. Yes, there is always a brighter side. But when we honor what is true in this very moment for you and dad, that is being mindful. It is not however, universally true for all time. Hope right now for us is a clarion that can only be sounded when the time is right. We will know when that time is. For now honor what you know is true, that this is the hardest, most strenuous thing you have ever endured.

I was pondering... maybe when dad and you go into surgery Chel, Mom, Becky and Me can run to the closest Tattooist on Queens and get something scandalous haha! And when you wake up we can show each other wounds!

Anyways, suffering will challenge your character. It will challenge and mature whatever you believe to be true of the universe, whether its religious or philosophical. It will challenge you and it has challenged our family a bunch of times before, which is why we have some back bone. I'll repeat what I've said else where about our family here. If everything happens for a reason, our family has been sufficiently prepped to handle times such as this. I believe that in the end our love as a family has always prevailed and has always been contagious! It is a love that generates beyond Church buildings and social conventions and can not be quarantined by any Hospitals. Its a love that will see us through this situation and its unmerited Grace that will lead us into the unknown.

I feel like this should be our anthem, for the time being.

Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam
The season's difference, as the icy fang
As churlish chiding of the winter's wind
Which when it bites and blows upon our bodies
Even till we shrink with cold, we smile and say
"This is no flattery: these are counselors that feelingly persuade us
Who we are."

Love you xox