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The Fine Line 14: Always a Bridesmaid

The Fine Line is a series from Rick. Check out earlier parts of the series here.

There are moments in our lives that seem brighter than others, pivotal moments that strike a chord with those around us. Flashbulb memories, that Saturday, December 3rd, 2016, I can ask anyone of my friends or family where they were or what they were doing when they found out, and they could tell you a story.

Because It’s Life-Changing News

At 10:12 AM my phone rang. The transplant docs had called before, but I was always a backup. I remember my mother had kept saying “always a bridesmaid…” after the fourth backup offer in a month. So when I answered the phone and an excited voice told me the news, I was ecstatic and started packing my bags immediately. It was a liver offer for me.

Screenshot of Rick's incoming call about a liver

I was preparing my room, my go bag, and everything else for a recovery, unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I knew it would be months before I would be able to do things normally, but I packed as if I were staying in the hospital for a month. I didn’t have a perfect picture of what was about to happen, so it was hard to prepare for. I called my dad to pick me up and take me to the hospital… voicemail. I called my mom… voicemail. I was alone in the house and I began to panic for a moment.

A transplant is a very time sensitive thing, and I needed to be at the hospital within an hour or so, so I kept calling. My dad answered: “I’m in a parade.” he said, “No, that’s not a thing, we need to go now.” I responded. “No Rick, I can’t, I’m a part of the parade. Call your mother, I’ve got to go.” My dad is a Shriner, and occasionally he is part of their parades, in my mind he’s always in a tiny car, even though I’ve never seen him in a parade.

Well that abrupt “No” sure wasn’t the response I expected. Finally, my mom answered and explained she was in a grocery checkout line. Thankfully the ladies in front of her let her cut them in line, pay for her things, and leave quickly.

Preparing for the Unknown

I kept packing. At 11:34 AM, my mom arrives and we make sure I am completely prepared. Having medically uncontrolled hepatic encephalopathy, important things could easily slip my mind. With lists and lists, I double checked my double checks.

My mom dropped me off at the entrance while she went to look for parking. With my cane, I made my way to 3 North, the part of the hospital I’d been instructed to go to. There was a tall man in surgical scrubs standing next to the desk, I said my name and asked the front desk nurse where I needed to check in. Before the front desk could reply, my transplant surgeon introduced himself. “Hey, you’re Rick, right? I think I can help you. Let’s head this way.”
We walked over to my room and he explained some of the prep that was about to occur. I was so excited it was almost too much to absorb.

Check back for more from Rick’s series “The Fine Line”

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.