What If

(Editorial note : this post is rated M)

Let’s play …… “What If”

“We sometimes spend to much time living in the “what if” and need to learn to live in the “what is”.

Every week I volunteer at my transplant center speaking with folks and their families on the heart transplant journey. These folks are a combination of pre-transplant and some post-transplant folks. Basically, we talk about the realities of transplant life, we talk about fears, the percentages, the outlook ….. I offer hope …. guidance and direction to appropriate folks if I can’t answer their questions. Usually we have excellent conversations about recovery, life and blessings.

Also, every other week I speak to kids, approximately 15 years of age that are in driver schools and are required by the state to take a class on organ donation. I tell the same story of my journey to both groups (patients and students), but that is the only similarity between the two groups. The first group (patients) are more focused on life and living life, so their questions are VERY different than those from the driver’s education classes. This second group (students) wants to know more about how I felt, what I thought about death, what is it like to “die”, and they always want to know about my donor.

Frequently, the kids ask amazing and and very probing questions. Recently, I was asked about my donor …… I explained I didn’t know my donor ……… but that he or she, is WITHOUT A DOUBT, the hero of my story. This particular class took a hold of that and started playing “what if” with me ……. what is your donor molested kids, what if your donor robbed banks, sold drugs, etc, etc ?

While I let them ask their rapid fire questions, as I formulated my response …….. as I had played this game with my self a lot during the first year of recovery …. “what if” this or that in regard to my donor. My first thought was to respond in a more biblical way …… “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” ………. but instead, I simply explained it this way …….. None of us are without sin, and the Lord knows I’ve committed PLENTY and in my lifetime, God will judge us, so it is not my duty to judge anyone. All I can say, is that with the last beat of my donor’s heart in his or her body, they did a VERY gracious and selfless thing by giving me this heart and that person DID save my life. No one has ever, ever, ever given me a gift of such a magnitude …… a gift that has given me an extra 10+ years of living.

The class became silent for a few seconds ……. then they stood and applauded me, applauded the answer. The person that initiated the question then spoke …… “Now that you’ve explained it, that is what I believe to be true love.”

The reality is, the love for our donors is like no other love!

So how did I get to that point ? ….. Years ago, during recuperation, when I contemplated these questions about the unknown life of my anonymous donor I kind of correlated it to work ……. there used to be a saying where I worked that 100 “attaboys” (aka good deeds) from the boss would be wiped out by one “Awww Shit” (mistake/screwup) …….. so when I was thinking out these questions about my donor, I inverted it, I reversed it ……… whether this person had hundred, or a thousand, or a million “Awww shits” (mistakes/screwups) in their lifetimes, all of those were wiped out with ONE (attaboy/attagirl, aka an AMAZING deed) by passing along LIFE to me with their very last heartbeat.

And that is how I learned to live “what is”.

What If


About DAP

I am a heart transplant recipient and these are my stories and thoughts. My desire is to assist others pre or post heart transplant in anyway possible. Please feel free to contact me if you have a question.
This entry was posted in Daily Insight, General, Heart Transplant and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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