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My Organ Donation Journey - Chapter 8

Do you know you could die?

Have you ever read the warnings that accompany prescription drugs?  It’s a wonder anyone is willing to take a single pill. You could develop an ulcer. You could have a stroke.  Your nose might fall off.

Each time I was interviewed or examined as part of the donor assessment, I was warned of the risks of surgery.  In fact I was flat out asked, “Do you know you could die?”

Here I am, all excited and inspired to be a philanthropic donor, and I am confronted with my own mortality.  Now, there’s a real kill joy for you—pun intended.  But the members of the transplant team at Hume-Lee are direct and honest in sharing the very real risks of donating an organ.

I do my best thinking when I run. And this matter required an especially long time on the road. So off I trotted, fully equipped with a water belt and a pocket full of sports beans, ready to think about dying.  Five miles later, here is what I came up with…

I do not live in fear. I do not anticipate bad things happening.  When I get on a plane, I fully expect to land at my destination, in one piece. When I drive up Rt. 95, I anticipate getting to DC—eventually—not dying in a fiery crash. When I scuba dive I don’t jump in the water thinking I will drown. When I enter the operating room on July 9th, I plan on waking up, groggy but very much alive.

But, what if I don’t make it? What if I am among the teeny, tiny percentage of surgery patients who die on the table or from complications afterwards?  It could happen. But so be it.

I’ve live my life with the throttle wide open. I’ve run marathons. Crawled through pyramids.  Sailed on the Nile, Amazon and Yangtze Rivers. Petted a koala bear.  Learned something new every day.  Enjoyed my family and large circle of friends. Owned a thriving business with the world’s best business partners. Worked hard and loved every minute of it.  Crammed three year of living into every one year of life.

I have pondered and prayed about what I am about to do. And I’m good with my decision.  I trust the process and think the benefits far outweigh the risks.

On July 10th I’ll be walking the halls of VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center getting back in shape so I can run the half in November and pursue the next 30 years of adventures.

If you think donating an organ might be an adventure you would like to consider, talk to me. Send me an email at sdubuque@ndp.agency. I’ll point you to people who can share the honest facts so you can make the decision that is right for you.


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