I had the most horrifying dream last night. I haven’t woken up in tears since I was a little kid. And yet, here I was. In my dream, I was in my hospital room, There wee; all manner of tubes and hoses and connectors on shelves, walls, hanging on hooks on the wall. Several children were lined up along the wall opposite the hoses and tubes.
I was held by two men with guns. Taking turns, the men would point to one of the hoses. I had to pick one of the hoses or connectors, some of which were labeled, others were not, I then tried to get the connector to match with an opening in my body, or to connect with a valve or hose coming from the child. If the hose hooked up to me, everybody was safe. If I was wrong — if the connector was matched to something on the child or it didn’t match either of us, the man would shoot the child.
I was unable to stop the game. But nor had I bid the game take place. It was all so unfair, Why did these children have to die while I lived? I refused to accept responsibility for the ones who died before me. Indeed, that was the truth-I had neither brought upon nor prevented the death of these others. They would live or die whether I got a new heart or not.
Mark's New Heart, organized by Erin Rausch
https://ibetmylfe.medium.com/ We invite you to follow along, using the link above. Mark shares the valuable, and…
There is very little we can control about heart disease.One of the things we can control is our individual commitment to making it affordable for anyone who needs it. I was always a contributor to those in need of help paying for their cardiac care. Now I am afraid it is my time to ask for help. A transplant involves paying for treatment itself, but it also makes demands on family members for lodging and meals, traveling, and other expenses. Please help if you can.
The oddest thing about this aspect of my dream, that my choices affect the life of another, is almost the miror of what happens. When a heart becomes available, I will be a modicum of information about the donor, age, gender, any health issues the donor had that may affect future health. In some sense, it could be said we don’t choose the heart, it chooses us.
In the dream, I was forced to make a choice. Choose or die. Reality is not ery much different. The recipient has the ultimate say over whether or not she will accept the donor heart. If she says no, she goes back into line. Another heart may or not become available in time. I think about that choice. I think more about making that choice, then dealing with the dealing with a later turn of events in which my choice leads to me running out of time. What should I do if I am offered the heart of a cancer survivor, for instance?
One particular area that has changed to reflect science in my lifetime is Hepatitis C. Hep C used to be a thing that qualified someone for listing on the liver transplant schedule. It was an automatic disqualifier for a potential heart donor.
Now, Hep C is treatable. Some say curable, which is a bit of a misnomer. It’s said to be cured if the no trace of the virus can be detected in he patient 12 months after treatment. This availabilty of a treatment that can eliminate traces of chronic Hep C has led to some heart programs to accept hearts from donors who have a history of Hep C. Recipients have a high likelihood of developing Hep C. The programs feel that the high degree of keeping the symptoms away through treatment balances the risk of contraction for those patients who are sicker or less easy to find hearts for. My hospital is one of those facilities that offers hearts to its higher risk patients.
As a matter of personal history, a member of my extended family group had Hep C. In fact, he received a liver transplant because of his Hep C. He subsequently died as a result of complications brought on by a relapse of his Hep C.
Baby ain’t taking no Hep C heart, Daddy.
I think the thing for me to take away from this dream is that I need to work of accepting that, while I will have a say on various things that make up this whole transplant process, a whole lot is outside my hands. I need to have faith that my care team, my body, the availability of a proper heart, these things are things which I have to have faith will come together.
In other words, I bet my life.