For the last two weeks, as my kidney donor surgery date was approaching, I kept my eye on Thanksgiving. Whenever “this is difficult” or “this is painful” or “this is scary” crossed my mind I always chased it with, “Yeah, but it will all be over soon and you’ll be home by Thanksgiving.”
Well, I’m home now, in my own house, with my own puppies and my own rainy 45 degrees outside and it feels great.
I never could have imagined all the feelings I would have had between when I left this home ten days ago and got back to Seattle last night. And the overriding one, so appropriate for the season, is gratitude. I am grateful for so many things.
I am grateful for the men and women who work so tirelessly day in and day out at Cedar Sinai Hospital to offer not just the best medical care I’ve ever received but the best customer service I’ve ever had. My lead surgeon Dr. Gerhard Fuchs, night nurse Betty, organ transplant coordinator Ellen, and dozens of others I encountered were all so caring, so competent, so knowledgeable, so friendly that I felt like a pampered guest in a fine home.
I am so grateful for Scott Mason, my kidney recipient, for his inspirational bravery at not just surviving the past few years of dialysis and ill-health but doing it with grace and strength most of us would never find in that circumstance. And for Scott’s family, especially Mickey, Ted and Robert for being so much fun to hang out in a hospital with before, during and after the surgery.
I have been grateful to my long-suffering wife Donna for more than 21 years. She could have really taken advantage of this past week with the anesthesia and all the bed rest to either kill me in my sleep for the insurance money or have all the time in the world to vanish with some boy toy to an exotic island somewhere. Seriously, guys, if you ever wondered if it is worth getting married, it is, for occasions like this when you need someone in your corner who loves you to see last thing before they wheel you in to an operating room and first thing when you wake up.
I am grateful for the behind-the-scenes and on-camera crew from CBS This Morning who profiled the transplant process every step of the way and made it fun too. Lee Cowan, I envy your beautiful “Anchorman” hair. I hope the vast reach of their television show gets many Americans looking at organ donation as something they can do, dead or alive, that literally saves lives.
I am grateful for the management and staff of KROQ radio, especially the members of The Kevin & Bean family, who accepted this decision and the terrible timing of this procedure happening at our busiest time of year on the show. I am positive that most of the Miss Double D-Cember contestants will be very sad not to meet me in person this year. Right, girls? Hello?
Lastly, I am grateful to the many hundreds of Kevin & Bean listeners who have shared their stories and their support via email, Twitter and Facebook over the past two weeks. I heard so many beautiful tales of lives changed by successful kidney transplants and many other sad accounts of friends and family members who lost their fight with the clock as they died waiting for theirs.
There are many excellent resources if you would like more information on kidney donation. You heard what Charlie Rose said at the outset of the piece above, “18 Americans die each day while awaiting an organ transplant.”
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We all have so much to be thankful for. Can’t wait to get back on The Kevin & Bean Show, maybe as soon as this Monday, the 26th!