I, in no way, am totally recovered, but I am well on my way. I have to be careful that I don’t forget that I am immune compromised and that I can’t physically do everything that I once was able to do. When I feel so good it is easy to forget that I had a heart transplant twelve weeks ago. A fact that is brought back to mind anytime I look in the mirror without a shirt!
The hardest thing for me is making the switch from living day-to-day to planning ahead. For the last four months I have been about the here and now. My focus was on the current day’s progress with no regard or thought to looking at the calendar for the days, weeks and months ahead of me. Now that I am feeling much better, I am making plans for months down the road. Some of these plans aren’t that great – doctor appointments and scheduling estimates on needed home repairs. Other plans are fantastic. We have booked our first trip back to Disney World and we are looking at a Spring Break trip next year.
There is one calendar event that is more than a year away, but holds a very special place in my heart. Please allow me to tell you the story. While I was hanging out in the hospital, Michelle and I made a pact. We promised that we would no longer allow the routine of life to prevent us from experiencing life. What we meant is that we had turned down opportunities in the past to be with friends and family, to watch the sunset or enjoy a good meal simply because we had a busy day and we were “too tired”. We have come to realize that these things are the good stuff of life, so we made a pact to hold each other accountable. We promised each other that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to pass up this good stuff any longer.
With this as the back drop Michelle called me one day after school and told me that our friends had invited us out for dinner. She, knowing our pact, of course accepted and told me that she would pick me up after an appointment. That would put us to dinner around 6:30ish. Well, she had the wrong time for her appointment and now we weren’t going to be able to make dinner until around 8 pm. She called me and said that she thought that was too late on a school night to go out to dinner. She asked me to call our friends and cancel. The thought crossed my mind to hold her accountable to our pact, but I decided not to. Well, when Michelle got home we were sitting around talking about our day and her phone went off. It was her Face Time ringtone and she announced that it was our daughter McKenzie. This struck me as odd because McKenzie never Face Times us and I had just talked with her about an hour ago.
Michelle handed me the phone and I was looking at two people, a young man and a young woman, neither of who were my daughter McKenzie. It took me a second, but I recognized Jordan, who was my nurse when I was in Cardiac Critical Care and Matt, who was my nurse on the Post Transplant Unit. I was very surprised and wondered what was going on. They proceeded to ask me to officiate at their wedding next year. I was blown away and I jokingly said that I believed that I had the date open. See, they had talked to Michelle earlier in the day and made arrangements to Face Time around 7:30ish. Thus, the reason Michelle was so adamant that going to dinner at 8 was not going to work. Good thing I didn’t push our pact, because I would have ruined the surprise.
What an honor this is. I still can’t believe that two of the people who experienced my weakest moments thought enough of me to allow me to be a part of one of the biggest days of their lives. Little do they know, unless they are reading these words, what it means to me to be able to give back to these precious people who gave me so much. I also know that there will be other nurses attending their wedding that were also a part of our journey. I will be able to go full circle from a guy walking around a Cardiac Critical Care Unit wearing a gown that opens in the back, dragging an IV pole around as I do countless laps, to a guy who gets to pronounce two wonderful people husband and wife. God works in strange ways and has a marvelous sense of humor. I would have never met Matt and Jordan if not for my heart transplant. They will forever be a part of my journey and now I will forever be a part of theirs!