On Tuesday, my daughter’s classmate, Ian, had open heart surgery at Stanford Medical Center. Ian’s surgery was required to graft a new pulmonary artery and valve. Ian had the surgery at six weeks old to create the pulmonary artery he was missing at birth, but now at six years of age, he had outgrown the artery and valve he received as an infant and was in need of a new one. We knew that he might be getting this new, larger graft from a bovine, a pig, or, the best case, from a human donor.

Through the technology of CaringBridge.org, we have been keeping track of Ian’s hospital stay and surgery via his mom’s journal updates. He has been on our minds all week, especially the crucial day of his surgery. His surgery was scheduled for early on Tuesday morning, but it was delayed and delayed again. Late in the afternoon on Tuesday, starving, because he had not eaten since 8pm the night before, Ian went into surgery and again we waited for an update.
At about 7pm, we got word through his mom’s journal that the surgery went very well. His mom also added, gratefully, that his heart graft came from a human donor and asked for us all to give a word of thanks for that invaluable donation.
I could not hold back tears as I read the update and then shared the good news with my two girls. I have been an organ donor since I got my license, but only now as I have gotten older, and had children, do I fully realize how incredible the miracle of organ and tissue donation is. One single organ and tissue donor can save up to 100 lives.
We are all very happy that Ian, this little boy in our life, in our community came through – with flying colors, this monumental surgery . . . especially on the heels of Christmas. But, the success of this surgery was made possible, in part, because someone else chose to gift their organs, to gift life after an untimely death. That someone else, who donated part of their heart, had their own life, was another person’s child, was part of another community.
It is times like these that make me realize how closely connected we all really are. Working together, your community and my community make each other possible. With today’s unbelievable medical technology and human compassion . . . we are really, quite lucky.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
On December 23, 2009, in Community, Personal, by

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