1/23/98 2:30 am
There used to be only two days in my life that I feared facing;
the two days I would experience the death of my parents. Since becoming an official liver transplant "candidate" last August,Iadded
a third overwhelmingly frightening day to 'the list" when I would need to face the fact that for me to survive liver disease,it
was going to take another person's life in order to find new life for myself.
My illness prevented me from working any longer than the 2nd
week of September and I retreated to hospitalizations and seclusions in my own home.It was very difficult to see or talk with
any friends or family members.The "wait"was so terrible and Imany times didn't think I could face it. My physical and emotional
strengths were draining from me quickly, till I reached the point of four days in intensive care prior to a three week period
of pre-surgical hospitalization at University Hospital in Madison. The privacy of my own home where I had been able to hide,
was no longer available to me and my private "waiting" period continued from a very public hospital bed.
Then came a fourth and more frightening day to add to "the
list". My doctor entered my room mid day on Saturday, December 13th and told me I was "going downstairs", which meant my doner
had come to me and I was going into surgery. My body tingles and shakes as I write to tell you this.
Now, following surgery and only three weeks of post-surgical
physical and emotional healing in the hospital and two weeks of recuperation in Milwaukee with my Mom, I face this fifth day
to "the list" when I feel I can write this letter to you. I want to tell you many things, but I can't find the right words.
How can I possibly tell you what I want to say and what you need to hear from me?
I can tell you I'm a forty six year old man who has built
a life based on his love for family & friends and his love of teaching high school vocal music for the past twenty two
years in Wausau, Wisconsin. The new life I've been fortunate to receive, now enables me to experience a much richer life with
all those I've loved and those I've yet to meet. I have an energy I don't think I've ever known before, which will allow me
to share so much more of whatever I have to offer others.
My mind is sorting through all kinds of things as I think
about "what's next"? "Where do I go from here"? My main concern now and always will be, is to respect and properly care for
what you and your son brought me. I feel it will never be totally mine. I don't want to ever forget that he is a part of me
and simply think he "gave me a gift". It is a privilege to have another chance at life, and only you and your son have made
this possible for me.
The only information provided me was that my doner was a nineteen
year old young man. If you are comfortable in doing so, I would really like to know more about him. Right now, I only refer
to him as "my nineteen year old". Could I know his first name?
My sixth day on "the list" may come if you and I should ever
meet, but I know it isn't something I would actually fear. I know some period of time must pass before either of us make such
a decision. I can't imagine what the experience would be like, but I know I'd like to find out someday.
I'm sorry to have made this so impersonal by typing this letter.
My hand writing is very shaky right now because of medications & nervousness and sometimes almost illegible. That will
change in time, also.
Thank you for reading this. I hope it brings you some kind
of comfort during this overwhelmingly sad time in your family. You and your son remain in my heart and mind.