Tell Mr, DeMille I’m Ready For My . Closeup

Mark Golub
4 min readApr 14, 2022

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Well, I got the call! At about 10:30 this morning, I got a call from my transplant coordinator, They had a heart available. My donor is not a teenage Olympic athlete with perfect skin and teeth. Like me, this hear comes with a scuff on the chrome, which is only fitting. There is nothing perfect about me so I don’t know if the rest of me would have been comfortable with a superstar anyway.

The important thing is it beats regularly, it is the right size, and it doesn’t have any disease. Its mother had it tested (paging Sheldon Cooper!). I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this yet. I’ve been sitting here, lying here, with machines inside of me keeping my factory original pinging on track, waiting, hoping, praying for a heart. In my most fanciful moments I hoped I would be out of here in time for my step-daughter’s wedding. In my more realistic moments, I thought such a hope was months early, wildly optimistic. In my darkest moments, fearing I might die before one came. And now, it seems the gods are smiling upon me; I actually have to worry about whether my steroid-bloated body will fit into my new suit.

I’m sticking to the positive now, though. I have a network of friends and supporters far beyond my wildest dreams, something I will be forever grateful for. I have had a good roll timing wise in this process so far. It was only last September that I met with Dr. Vorovitch for the first time to plead my case. I’ve only been inpatient two weeks-I was fearing months. Things are aligning for me in a way that makes me want to align myself forever in this same way, moving steadily, earnestly ahead. Doing the right things, trusting people around me, being honest about what I want. Being honest about what I had to offer and what I was good for. Being the best man I can be.

In my darkest moments, I feared that I might die before that heart ever came.

And so, to you, readers and friends, supporters and lookers- on, I have one big ask. Keep me honest. Call me on my shit. When I make a promise, make me keep it, get after me if I try to slide. The real work has to be mine, of course. It wouldn’t be me being better if you did all the work. But you also play a part. Your help, whether financial, spiritual, or physical, was part of what laid the foundation for a reborn me. Know that from time to time you will have to prop me up (or kick my ass). I’ll make it worth your effort.

At the same time, when I’m crushing it, give me a little attaboy. One thing I’ve noticed since I started out is that we feel better about who we are, what we do, when we see it recognized. I see the smile when I thank my nurses for taking such good care of me. I hear the laugh when I tell Miss Millie I love her when she slides me that exrra sausage link (don’t worry, it’s turkey) on my breakfast tray. I feel the attention from my doctors when I recognize they are people and they have lives beyond taking care of me and their other patients.

So many people have come together for me. I need to be there for all y’all. Imagine how much different our lives would be if we all took a touch of accontability for everyone around us. Call this kumbaya, sentimental bullshit if you want. But it saved my life.

It can’t get much fucking better than that.

This isn’t goodbye. Recovery from a heart transplant takes at least a year, znd that’s if there are no complications. Aside from that, I have hoped all along that this wouldn’t just be about my transplant. Tell me your stories. Share your fears and pains. I want a community of people to grow around this, a commnity of people who struggle with health challenges every day. You’ve helped hold me up. Let’s try to help others too.

If you’d rather just sit back and read, that’s cool. If you’re only here because there’s a pool on my survival, get the fuck out, that’s just sick. (Note:I am engaging in the sort of dark humor one engages in when they have escaped a situation that might possibly have ended in death. Unless there really is a pool, in which case put me down for March 13, 2058.)

Finally, and, again, thank you. I would not have made it this far without some outlet to let loose my inner demons. It is liberating to be able to talk with someone(s), knowing there is a being out there, without having to look them in the eye and say the things I cannot say in person. If you pray, please pray for a successful surgery and a successful recovery. If you’re more if a “sending good thoughts” person, that’s cool, too. It’s been a long, hard ride and I never would have made it on my own

I’ll see you on the other side.

Much love, Mark

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Mark Golub

In 1998 I had a heart attack. I remember the ED doc telling me “You probably won’t die tonight.” I didn’t.