A True Transplant Tale
by Steve Baum
Evening of Nov. 10, 2009
I remember precisely because the call came at eleven ‘til eleven on the day before the eleventh. And it was November. No one called on the home line anymore – it had been “magicjacked” to save sixty bucks a month. We only used the number because it still looked good to have a home number and not just mobiles. More rooted, I guess.
Anne, startled, looked at me and I looked back. Who called at eleven ‘til eleven on a weeknight? I see her face reading, “What’s wrong? Is it one of the kids?” Even with great kids there are always mothers’ nightmares.
The jacked phone never answered correctly on the first ring so you had to push the answer button and just ask, “Hello?” or, “This is the Baum’s,” or some-such until the system caught up with itself. Still, sixty bucks saved is sixty bucks in a recession.
Finally the click and then, “Is this Mr. Baum?”
“Yes, can I help you?”
“Mr. Baum this is Deborah at UAB Hospital. Can you confirm your birth date for me?”
This was it. Had to be. Maintain.
“June 4, 19xx.”
“Thank you, Mr. Baum. Dr. Bynon has asked me to call and say we believe we have a suitable liver and kidney for you.”
Maintain. Look at Anne and try to calm her with your expression even as every nerve ending in your system has jolted into action mode. But you’ve got to maintain. She’ll need that.
The caller began going through her checklist as I grabbed a pen and paper and we were off to the races.
A few questions back and forth and then confirmation of contact numbers: Can we be there by morning? Can we start out now? Take your time but we think surgery will start tomorrow at 1:00 P.M. Now there is a chance there could be a complication…these things happen. But we think this is the one.
Anne had a full grasp now of what was up and she showed that wonderful exterior calm but we both knew the news was racing through her and she was sorting priorities as fast as she could. In the meantime…
Maintain. I’d have to be calm enough for both of us. Heck, the darn suitcase had been packed and by the door since January. Arrangements made at work? Check. Wills and trusts updated? Check. Bills paid three weeks in advance? Check. Family, friends and neighbors on alert? Check, check and check.
“Honeybunch? It’s time for another one of life’s great adventures.”
Pretty brave considering what I was about to go through. Well, we weren’t alone. I knew I could count on Chuck.
This manuscript and another:
The Road to the 2010 US Transplant Games
…will soon be published as one book by Grave Distractions Publications
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