Saturday, May 15, 2010

A New Life

My bag is packed for the hospital. Slippers – check. Reading material – check. iPod charger – check. Loose fitting pajamas – check. I’m keeping my coworkers in the loop on what I’m doing at work in the event that I’m not there on Monday. My family and friends are on high alert for when the moment arrives. People are lined up to visit after I get home from the hospital. E-mail lists have been created. I’m moody. I’m watching what I eat, especially lots of protein and no caffeine. I’m exhausted.

If you didn’t know better, wouldn’t you think I was pregnant? Waiting for a heart is actually not that dissimilar from being in one’s final trimester of pregnancy. [In fact, I wonder how horrified my coworkers would be if I suggested we hold an office pool for when my “big day” will be. Just in case, put me down for June 16.] But more to the point, in both situations, a person is waiting for a new life to be born. In the case of a pregnant woman, of course the new life is an entirely separate person (and is a whole lot cuter than a human heart). But I too am awaiting new life. And in both cases, we will treat our new life with great care.

In the way a new mother nurtures her newborn, I will care for my new heart. I will treat it with the utmost respect. I will listen to it and raise my hand if I sense something is wrong. I will feed it the right stuff (fortunately not by breastfeeding!). I will make sure it gets enough rest and plenty of playtime. I will show it off with pride. In all of these ways I will thank and honor my donor, whoever he or she may be. For all of the levity with which I try to treat my situation, I recognize the sadness and loss that will be experienced by my donor’s family and friends, since only once his or her life is taken can my new life be born.


  1. Andrea, Your strength and wonderful outlook are extraordinary. Your poise and grace under pressure is an inspiration. Keep posting all these good thoughts -- you may have a best-selling novel ahead of you. Also, unlike pregnancy, after the transplant, your won't have to lose 20 lbs. or have stretch marks. :) Much love to you.

  2. As you wait for your phone call that there is a heart waiting for you, I know your thoughts are with the prospective donor and donor's family. It is unfortunate that this is the fact of heart transplantation. The wondrous part is that technology allows for this miraculous procedure to occur and that there are people who recognize the gift they give to others by their selfless act of donation. I know you will care for your new heart as a most precious gift and will be eternally grateful to the donor and thoughtful of the donor's family. I know I will be. I love you Mom

  3. I weep at your reverence and insight. My Bird!

  4. Andrea -- good luck with everything. You are so strong and wonderful, things will turn better very soon!

  5. Andrea -

    This is Garland's roommate from college, Lee. I am following your blog and also get updates from G on your health, etc. I am so amazed by your outlook and poise in the face of all this. Know that my husband and I are praying for you and sending good thoughts your way.


  6. Birdy, I don't know anyone in the whole wide world who deserves this gift of life more than you do. Your patience and sincerity are remarkable.