Memoirs of Carlos's Liver Transplant

The Day Before Tomorrow

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matter compared to what lies within us”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was like every other Sunday with the difference that Carlos had been admitted in the hospital during the week because he was retaining water by the gallons.  His belly was swollen and he wasn’t feeling good at all.

The children were driving me nuts, because they wanted to see their dad.

So, off I went after giving them lunch.  Since it’s about a forty minute drive, we were singing and talking and playing games about what they were seeing out of the window, on our way to  the hospital.

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Carlos, Francisco and Stephanie around the time their dad got his transplant.

Early that morning I had colored some cards with them to take to their dad, and since only Steph was writing, she was in charge of the fine print.

They were all happy to be able to take something to their dad.

My mom as usual went with me to help me out with the tribe, and after I parked I set off to fetch Carlos so he could come down to the reception area to see his beloved children.

Hostess from founder of transplantfriends.com made this beautiful banner for me. Thanks you once again.

As the events unfolded the next day, I was so happy he was able to have the opportunity of hugging, kissing and sharing a special moment with all three of them.  They were and always will be the light of his heart.  Little did we know that he wouldn’t be seeing them again until four months down the road and that those three card board home-made cards would become his link to reality as they drove him back to consciousness  after his surgery (I taped them to his bed after he came out of his transplant).

That’s why we need to be extra careful with today, because we just don’t have a clue if this will be our day before tomorrow.  It can even sound silly, because you’d probably say “everyday is the day before tomorrow”.  Yes it is true, but some tomorrow’s are not any ordinary tomorrow’s.  (That’s a great tongue twister!). There special because they mark important events in our lives.

He would need every ounce of what he had inside to help him get through all those awful weeks that lied before him.  Our children’s visit was the gasoline that kept him going.

What lives inside of us?   What was living inside of him during that difficult time?

His buddies grief and pain made space for  the innocence and candor of his three small children as he tucked them deep inside his heart, not knowing he would need each ounce of them to pull him through tomorrow.

Memoirs of Carlos's Liver Transplant

Waiting for the Beeeeeep!

It may seem difficult for younger people to understand, but back in the day (18+ years ago) cellular phones weren’t as available or used as today. 

Now it seems almost impossible to get through life if you don’t have one of those smart phones.  Pagers were the mobiles back then.   I remember some people like doctors, salesmen, attorneys, etc., had them fixed on their belts.  If you saw a person with a pager, you figured out he or she must have an important job.

Much to our surprise after one of our medical appointments, our transplant coordinator gave us a pager.

Wow!!!! We had become the owners, if only temporary, of a pager.  (I marvel how my mind worked when I was young!)  I can still remember how it looked like, it was brown and beige and had a  big metal clip,  so Carlos could have it on always.  The coördinator went on to explain that if the pager went on, we needed to contact her immediately because he had a match.

via google images

 

“My God, this is it!”- That thought was bursting in my head, finally we’re almost there.  Instead of keeping my thoughts to myself like I would have done today, I voiced them out loud.  He took my words face value and believed me, if I was saying it, then it had to be true.  My words mislead him and set him up for frustration and heartbreak.

 

via morgueFile

 

As the days came and went, we weren’t listening to those much wanted beeps.  Sometimes he would tell me, if I thought maybe something had gone wrong with the pager.  I would always answer,  that I didn’t think so.  To tell you the truth, I even called once to check that everything was fine with it.  At this point, I wouldn’t have minded to become a soccer ball in a game to receive every player kick.  You can say I was delusional to think we were almost there.  

What I did see every day was the longing in his eyes for the “beep” to go on.

As it went, the pager was with us for a while, even though, we never got to hear those precious beeps.

via Google Images

Looking back today, my heart goes out to all those patients that are waiting, maybe not for a “beep”, but for a phone call on their mobile, a text, or an email.

We didn’t get our beep, nevertheless, we didn’t lose our faith even if it was a little bruised after our experience with the pager. I would pray every day for that damn pager to start beeping, but now I know it wasn’t the time.

The pager became our symbol for patience, things happen when they happen and that’s what it is.  Bottom line, we needed to wait and stopped letting that small box govern our lives.  We were much happier after that. 

Then some time after,  things changed and we said goodbye to the pager when he faced a severe gastrointestinal bleeding and was admitted in the hospital, but that’s a story for another day.

 

 

Life

The Locked Door

“Tomorrow is a mystery!”

You may think, Oh Noooooooooo,  another one of those worn out clichés.

Hold it,  don’t kick, sorry I meant click yourself out of my blog. Just stop to think about it, this is not a cliché.  It should become a universal truth to guide us through the choices we make in our lives.

Usually we like open doors, we see what’s beyond them and we have no troubles passing through.

On the other hand,  when we have to deal with  a locked door we  become aggravated if we don’t have a key. That’s how our future is, it’s locked and the worse part is that you don’t have the key to unlock it until it becomes your present.

via morgueFile

Even if tomorrow is a mystery, that doesn’t stop us from making plans to do this or do that.  Never stopping to consider that we may not even be alive or well enough to carry out our plans.

One of my life lessons is precisely that. I made the mistake of thinking that I had my life planned (my husband and me thought that just by saying it out loud are plans were going to fall through)   and all of a sudden when the door that contained my future became unlocked – – -BAM-  – – it didn’t turn out as I planned.

We faced my significant other’s illness at the young age of 25, we thought like so many young people that we were invincible. My husband was diagnosed with end stage liver disease and would need a liver transplant to continue living.

I would have liked to scream out of frustration, but I did what I always do, move on.

I’ve heard often, “You need to plan your future now, the time is right.”, others may say “You never know what can happen tomorrow.” meaning don’t do anything about IT.

However, where can we find the perfect balance?

I have come to learn that we can find the perfect balance today, but don’t forget to bring your yesterday into the picture.  All our experiences make us what we are.

So, YES yesterday is important, but today is the time to make a difference in your tomorrow.

Live your today wisely,  responsibly,  go a bit crazy once in a while, because if you don’t you’re just a living corpse, and most of all treasure all that is important to your heart (this means take care of your spirituality).

Don’t take me wrong, material things are also important.  Who ever said that material things weren’t is lying and probably just wants to rip you off.

We need material things to survive and give us comfort as well, just don’t get to greedy and keep close to your heart those who don’t have as much as we do.

Last, but not least I want to mention a  blog written by Feminista Jones, I recently read, where she talks about the insights her mom gave her on life and relationships.

One of the most interesting parts were these words,  “Don’t look into the future because it’s already written…we just have to play it out as it comes.”   

A very wise woman if you ask me, let’s take her little piece of advice and our locked door isn’t going to aggravate us as much anymore.  

Life is what it is, you just have to figure out how you play along with it.