Imagine that you haven’t been able to walk more than 10 feet without feeling like you are going to pass out. Imagine having to sit up in a chair every night to go to sleep because you can’t lie down to breathe. Imagine being a young father and not being able to play with you kids. Imagine always feeling weak and tired. Now, imagine being able to walk more than a mile without feeling winded. Imagine sleeping in any position you want with just one pillow behind your head. Imagine taking your young boys to baseball practice and being able to play catch with them.
Imagine waking up with a new chance at life.
I have been a registered nurse on a heart transplant ICU for four years now. During those four years I have prayed for many people to die, but it’s not what you are thinking. I have prayed for my patients to be healed by receiving a donor heart.
I have spent many days and nights praying with patients and family members while their loved ones are waiting to receive THAT call. The call that a donor heart was a perfect match. Some of our patients would wait months to hear any news. Even though I took care of these patients, I can’t imagine spending months on end waiting in the hospital knowing your body is getting weaker and weaker and your only hope is for a new heart.
I have been excited when we get that call and prep the patient to go down to surgery. I have cried with joy as I see a mother’s eyes sparkle with a glimmer of hope for the first time in months. I have hugged my fellow nurses and thanked God that our prayers were answered. My patient is getting a new heart. My patient’s life is about to change. My patient’s sick weak heart is about to be gone. My patient will be healed.
While all of those emotions and actions are true, there is also darkness that precedes the light. Darkness that somewhere someone lost their loved one. Darkness that children will no longer have their parent when they wake tomorrow. Darkness that a mother is going to have to bury her child.
“The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned.” Matthew 4:16
Sometimes we cannot prevent the darkness from setting. Sometimes we can only wait for the light to come. However, we can decide what we do in that darkness. We can decide to take our darkness and gift it into light. We can decide to become an organ donor. The pain of darkness is real. But the joy of light can help bring others out of darkness.
As I begin my new journey as a nurse practitioner, I am thankful to have worked with the best group of nurses since Florence Nightingale (nurse humor). I am thankful that they were not only my coworkers but also my friends who turned into family. We have traveled through darkness together but we have always found light in each other. I am thankful for the PCAs, physicians, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, and chaplains to name a few. The past four years have transformed me as a person. You all taught me to care deep, laugh loud, cry hard (in the CSR room haha), pray endlessly, work beyond the exhaustion, and beyond else to be thankful for everything because life is fragile.
Just a few of my amazing coworkers!
Only One Goal
My only goal of this whole post is that it would start the discussion that you have with yourself and with your family about becoming an organ donor. Communicate with your loved ones because one day it could be the cause of lifting someone out of darkness back into the light.
You can be the light given to the candle that had almost flickered away.
Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this post. I hope you share it with your friends and family. Thank you for letting me be vulnerable. Most of all thank you to my patients.
With all the love from my heart,