13 years ago today…

I was on my way down from Michigan Tech to Michigan State, thanks to Aaron V. I was able to get out of taking a final exam in my first circuits class that all engineers had to take. It’s a good thing, as I got an incomplete in the class. I would have received an F, for certain. At Michigan State, Un-ho picked me up and drove me to the U of M Hospital. 

Why was I going there? I was going there because my dad was receiving a much-needed heart transplant.Earlier in the week, they had found a candidate for him, but it ended up being a bad match. The stakes were getting higher, and with his heart about 14% functional, they had to act fast. What had happened was a young man was killed in a motorcycle accident on the west side of the state. The doctors were on their way to get the heart via jet or copter (I can’t remember what my brother told me early that morning). The scenario was quite interesting, as I was at Dave’s place on Ruby St., a bit “sick” in the middle of the night, when the phone rang there. My brother was on the other end, telling me they had found a heart for dad. I was barely able to process this, but I did, and made the plans over the next few hours to get out of my final, get a ride from MTU > MSU and then one from MSU > U of M. 

When I finally got to U of M, my brother and sister had just left, and I was able to see my dad waking up for the first time. I had to wear a mask and gloves before I entered his glass-enclosed room. It was quite fascinating, compared to some of the other hospital environments he’d been in over the past 12 years (when he first started having heart problems…heart attack, 2 bypass surgeries, etc.). Being able to see my dad, with an elevated heart rate, with tears in his eyes, was a miracle. I had been telling myself, and my brother and sister, for the last year or so, that dad was going to die, and to be ready for it. I was trying my hardest to come to grips with that reality for the longest time. The fact that he was NOT DYING, and was ALIVE and WELL, was something that changed the way I looked at some circumstances. It allowed me to look at some circumstances that are typically “doomsday” with a new set of glasses, perhaps rose-colored glasses.I am ever grateful to the wonderful doctors and medical staff at the University of Michigan Hospital, the family of the victim who donated not only his heart, but his lungs and I think his liver. If I remember correctly, that young man saved 3 lives that day.