John....our hero. This amazing, loving, noble, selfless man, who gave Dave back his life. Thank you doesn't even begin to say enough to him, but yet that's all he wanted.
In keeping with John's request, we kept mum on who Dave's donor was. There were some friends who we did share this information with, but those were the people who wouldn't accidentally share this news with the dear aunties or other cousins that would set the gossip phone lines on fire. John wanted what he was doing for Dave to be kept private. He wasn't doing this for any glory or atta-boy praise from others.
The day of the transplant they took John into surgery about 2 1/2 hours prior to Dave. I sat with April, John's brave wife, and we knew what was happening to our two husbands was something that few people will ever experience. We became sisters that day. In a similar way that Dave and John became brothers. There was a new connection between the four of us that would be special from that day forward.
When John's surgeon came out to the waiting room to give us the news that John had made it through his portion of the surgery, and most importantly that he was fine; I remember just sobbing in relief. Thank God, he was ok. Thank you, God that you allowed him to give this gift of life to Dave, without having this action compromise his health in anyway. Thank you, God.
April and I just hugged each other tightly. One down, and one to go. We knew that at that moment Dave was in the middle of his transplant. Oh dear Lord, please be with my husband....
About two hours later, our surgeon, Dr. Dafoe (yes...he is related to the Green Goblin), walked into the waiting area with news about Dave. He said that the kidney was already functioning. It was a robust kidney, and it appeared that Dave's body was taking to it, just fine.
Upon hearing this news, I was overjoyed! Again, tears of happiness started streaming down my face, only to be interrupted by the words, "But there may be a problem with his breathing". What did he mean. "his breathing"? Did it have something to do with his Wegener's flaring? Could there be lung scarring? What exactly was going on???
Dr. Dafoe told me that Dave's O2 saturation was low. Probably in the high 80's. He had fluid in his lungs. He was intibated from surgery, and they may have to put him on a respirator. Scary, scary words..."a respirator". He said that he would go back in 10 minutes to check on Dave and see what the recovery team had decided to do. But to be rest assured that they were working on him. Again, my mind went to some vague memory of a code blue being called in the ER....working on him.
Amazingly I felt peace within this crazy, scary time. I felt as though I was being held by Jesus, himself. I can't say that I knew he would be ok. I didn't. I just felt like whatever happened IT would be ok. Ten minutes went by excruciatingly slow.
Dr. Dafoe walked back out and told me that they had, indeed, removed the intibation tube, and that Dave was now breathing on his own. Praise God!! Thank you, Lord!! His kidney was working and the excess fluid in his lungs was being removed through that robust little kidney!
Dave was in recovery for the next six hours.
During this time, John was able to go into his suite. A suite at Cedars Sinai is truly that....a suite. They mimic something from the Four Seasons. It is a VIP floor where the rich and famous stay. It is the Club Floor! They graciously treat all organ donors as the 'stars' that they are.
As I walked into the room, John was asleep. April, John's mom, his two little girls and John's brother were in there just hanging out. Yes, the room IS that big. John woke up just enough to ask if Dave was ok. I held on to his hand, and told him that everything was fine. I thanked him for saving Dave's life. I kissed his hand, which was the only place I could reach! John is a BIG guy...and I am...not. :)
The truly amazing thing is the look that John had in his eyes. I recognized that look. When a woman gives birth to her children there is a look in her eyes that God allows us to have. It is the look of life-giving. Life, the most precious of all gifts, is not something that God takes lightly, I assume. John had that glowing, holy, life-giving look in his eyes. It was God's Spirit I saw. He was being blessed, even as his actions blessed us.
Thank you, John. Your gift has given Dave his life back. Your gift has given our family another chance to be a family and not have to live around a dialysis machine. Dave will have the energy and will that he once had. He can play with his boys the way he used to play. He can clean out his garage and dabble in some woodworking projects, again. He can paint the bathroom. He can take us on a vacation, and not worry about having to take a four hour nap every day. But most of all, we can have a future. Thank you, John. We are forever grateful to you, April and the girls. We love you all.