This night two years ago I didn’t get much sleep, as it was the eve of Tuffy P’s liver surgery. For those who don’t know, my wife volunteered to be an anonymous living liver donor. That means she gave up something like 65% of her liver so somebody else could have a shot at living (fortunately, livers grow back, and within a few weeks she had re-upped). It was such an incredibly selfless and generous gift.
I recall how relaxed Tuffy P was on the way to the hospital and during the initial prep. I, on the other hand, was a wreck, and all I had to do was wait. After a certain point, one of the doctors came into the waiting room to tell me she was “under” and all was OK so far. Then more waiting, and still more waiting. After several hours someone came in to say Tuffy P was going to the recovery room and at some unknown time after that I would be able to see her.
When they finally allowed me in (it seemed like forever), I was greeted with two thumbs up and a very gentle hug. Tuffy recovered very well. I recall she used way less of the pain medication than they expected she would need. She had to take it easy for a while, of course, and avoid any lifting while she healed up. In a few short weeks, she was back at work.
In order to be considered as a liver donor, there are a lot of hoops to jump through. I recall with each doctor’s appointment thinking, OK, this time there will be some reason why she can’t go through with it (yes I was as worried as she was determined). Each time, she was given another green light. As it turned out, her overall good health coupled with an amazing attitude made her a perfect candidate.
Not everyone has it in them to do what Tuffy P did. I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t do it anonymously – maybe to help a family member it would be a different story. She is a very brave and generous soul! I think one thing everyone can do, though, is sign your organ donor card and make sure your family knows your wishes. If something very bad happens and you check out early, you can help someone else have a shot at life. If you haven’t yet taken care of business and signed the card, please do it now.