October 11, 2018
“Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you’ve got a big heart and aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength.”
~ Brigitte Nicole
Yesterday started off like most Wednesdays when I volunteer at the hospital where I had my heart transplant. I have a 65 mile drive, which requires me to take some time (and patience) and be ever vigilant for the “texters”, the “NASCAR” drivers and others on the road that don’t seem to be fully awake.
“The Cooler” – I arrived at the hospital and parked in the parking deck and as I exited the garage I could hear sirens wailing in fairly close proximity. The hospital has its own police department and most mornings and officer is positioned at the main intersection in front of the hospital. As the sirens screamed louder I watched the officer move to the middle of the intersection and he, somehow, stopped ALL traffic ……… then I saw a police vehicle (SUV) rapidly enter the intersection, siren SCREAMING, lights flashing as it flies through the intersection and into the “Cul de sac” in front of the hospital. Mesmerized, I watched and wondered ……. before the vehicle even came to a dead stop, I saw doors flying open and a couple of folks in hospital scrubs hurriedly exit the vehicle …….. then I saw “it” …… in the hand of one of the folks was “cooler” …. unmistakable to me, even at 150 yards, the cooler contained an organ for transplant.
I’ve heard of these events, but it was the first time I witnessed one. I have no video, no pictures as I was living in the moment ….. I did cross the street and I then I stopped on the sidewalk and said a prayer for that donor, that donor’s family and for the recipient.
It was an awe-inspiring event that lasted maybe 45 seconds.
“The Call” – Just a bit of background before I continue – In the transplant community, if you hear the two-word phrase “The Call” ….. it usually means that a specific patient matched with a potential donor and had been called by their transplant center to either come to the hospital or await further instructions. It’s an emotional time on so many levels.
A while after “The Cooler” incident, maybe 90 minutes or so, I was about to visit a patient and just as I was going to knock on the door, I see a lady , that I recognized walking toward me. She was a patient that I had visited with a number of times over the past couple of years. Seeing her at that exact moment and area was out-of-place so stopped and I said hello, and asked what she was doing here. Her answer was very simple and matter of fact, “I’m here to get a heart today. But I’m lost.” I could see that she was obviously anxious (understatement of the year) so I asked where she needed to go within the hospital. She told me, and it was fairly close by so I escorted her and her family members to her required destination. I’ve seen many patients in the hospital soon after they received “The Call” but I never saw one walking into the hospital after getting “The Call”. She was go grateful and even mentioned that it was destiny for me to be there for her at that exact moment. As we parted, I told her that I’d see her soon ………. as the doors closed I stopped …….. I could feel the angels close by ….. and I said prayer for her, her donor, and her donor’s family. So, this was also an emotional event for me …… just to be able to help this lady, even as small as my gesture was, within the big scheme of her day is something I’ll never forget.
Just as a side note ……. the timing was off from the two incidents, so it’s extremely unlikely that either of the events are related.