Sunday August 21, 2016, I celebrate my 10th re-birthday—10 years of life that would not have been mine were it not for the selfless kindness of my heart donor and donor family. August 21 is a sad day for my donor family, however, because it is the day they lost a life dear to them. So, would you help me love them by giving a big, heart-warming hug to any organ donors and families you may know? Their courage and generosity are among the highest expressions of human kindness in this troubled world—they are heroes of loving kindness.
In their honor, I decided to post on deborahdawheffernan.com another tool for managing life in Cardiac Land. For me, it is not enough to be grateful for a lovely new heart that beats strongly in my chest. If we are alive—whether we are cardiac patients dealing with angina or recovering from a heart transplant—we have a responsibility to manage our illness well and to live our lives as well as we can in honor of those whose lives have been cut short. It’s pretty simple for me. Thus, my website shares with you the practical side of gratitude in case you are needing a little guidance in how to honor people who have made sacrifices for you.
Introducing QUESTIONS & NEXT STEPS: your agenda for managing medical appointments
Under the TIPS & TOOLS page of my website, scroll down to YOUR MEDICAL NOTEBOOK and click on QUESTIONS & NEXT STEPS. I saved sharing my favorite notebook section until last. With this addition to my website, you now have every tool you need to manage the basics of Cardiac Land—a solid platform for building your own system over time. More TIPS & TOOLS for you will be added monthly, right here on my Blog. That is my intention, anyway; sometimes I am not well enough or I may simply be enjoying my life. To receive update notifications, please FOLLOW me on Facebook. I hope you will understand that I only “Friend” people I actually know.
Now go find a special bag for your basic, portable medical system
The accompanying photograph shows the golden yellow bag with bright green interior that I take to every medical appointment and hospitalization. My first bag was brown, in my closet from business days. Yuk. But guys like brown, I guess, so you choose whatever bag makes you happy! A dedicated backpack for the man-on-the go, perhaps? In the picture, my bag is resting on our big old bed, just as it always is when I am getting ready for another clinical visit. Inside, it holds:
- my MEDICAL NOTEBOOK in girly pink (I promise, it was the only color available at the time!)
- a yellow medications bag, in case of prescription checks or a surprise overnight stay in the hospital
- a little bag (with hearts on it, from niece Clara) for hospital masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes.
What an innocent I was on Sunday, August 21, 2006 when The Call came from MGH!
“We have a heart for Deborah!” Poor Jack: I instantly fell to the ground, scaring the heck out of him. Now, 10 years post-transplant—and almost 20 years post-first-SCAD and double-by-pass—I finally have my systems down. Most of them are contained in my cheerful yellow bag. It is never unpacked and always at the ready beside my medications table. If there is an emergency, Jack or I just grab and go.
And go I do! For a few years now my trips have not been limited to the hospital. At several dark points it was utterly unimaginable that Jack and I would now be spending a month or so every spring in Italy. Yes! You, too, can live your life while also a resident of Cardiac/Transplant Land! It just takes healing, courage, and a little organization. Pack your bag and go!
It is so very lucky to wake up, to be alive. So, happy re-birthday to you and me! xox Deborah