One phone call.
It was a hot summer afternoon in 2011. She was firm. Her voice brooked no argument. She was my doctor.
Six months of planning laid in utter disarray.
“This is not happening.”
She explained why she would not give me a medical clearance to travel. I was not listening.
“You are now active on the waiting list. You can’t travel out of the country.”
A long groan escaped. And my head reeled. She continued speaking. I tried to plead my case. She won’t bulge.
“Thank you very much.” I wiped away the tears I knew she could not see. I was overwhelmed with disappointment. I must have sat there for hours turning the events leading up to that moment in my mind. The scenes flashed by like in a movie.
December 2008 in the intensive care unit, I was in need of non-evasive ventilation. My lungs were not holding any air; I could not breath for myself. They placed a hood that looked like an astronaut helmet over my head while the machine breathed for me. The image reflecting on the window of the Nurses’ station shook me to the core.
The visit to Prof J, my lead pulmonologist, in 2010; when he told my husband and me that he had discussed my case with Transplantation team. He told us they had agreed to review me as a possible candidate for lungs transplantation.
In January 2011, I underwent an extensive medical work-up to determine whether I was a suitable candidate. What they deemed as my complex multi-systemic medical history appeared to pose a huge risk to the surgery and its outcome. I waited for months for them to make a decision. Then I deliberately allowed it to slip off my mind.
I knew this call was coming, but I was not ready for it. I knew the implication of being active on the waiting list for lungs transplantation. It meant one day I would receive the phone call that would convey the message: “Someone has given that I may have a second chance at life.” I did not know how to pray about this. How was I going to ask God to give me quickly what I needed at that phase of my life without thinking of the person who would have to give what I was asking for? I was troubled. I was perplexed. Yet I knew, humanly and medically speaking, this was the only option left for me.
I was waiting for a precious gift from an Unknown Benefactor. Someone who when he/she had the control would have made a decision to give of himself so that someone else can have a chance at life. Someone whose family at the darkest hour of their grief would have to make a decision to abide by the request of their loved one.
That was a tough period.
This one prayer I did pray with all my heart, that I would have the opportunity to meet this individual before the throne of God when I get to heaven.
Two years later, and the call came.
It was on Saturday, April 13th, 2013. It was a little past 4:00pm. I knew the time because my husband left home for Choir practice less than an hour before the call. Just when I was in the middle of preparing for a major event in my church.
“We are ready for you.” It was Prof. R on the line. It was not a social call. I knew what had happened.
Someone had given. And that person had paid the ultimate price.
My heart skipped a beat. Then it started racing and pounding in my chest.
I was panicking.
He was speaking. I hardly heard him.
“Are you ready?”
I was shaking like a leaf. My legs wobbled. I lowered myself on the black leather sofa in front of me.
“Yes” barely audible escaped like a whisper. He spoke some more—told me the team was waiting for me. I needed to be in the hospital immediately. I thanked him and dropped the phone
It had happened. Someone has given me a priceless gift.
I will never be able to thank him or her.
But I believed God answered my prayer, and I will have the opportunity to see my Unknown Benefactor in God's presence when I get home to heaven. Perhaps, then I will be able to thank him/her.
My heart went out to the family I knew would be grieving at that moment. My hands trembled as I picked the phone again. I called my husband.
“You need to get back home, Prof R just called.” I didn't need to say more. He knew what had happened. “I am on my way,” he replied.
I am a blessed recipient of a priceless gift with which God has given me another chance to live again and fulfill purpose. I understand fully well the import of this precious gift. I am also reminded that I have been so blessed so I can be a blessing to others. I cannot be an organ donor, but I can give in many diverse ways to make a difference to someone’s life.
So again, today, in the honor of my Unknown Benefactor, I recommit myself to be a conduit of God’s blessings to as many as God brings my way. I commit to use my second chance at life to touch lives for good.
Dear Friends, I ask you to join me on the 13th of April to break your alabaster box and let the fragrance of God's extravagant generosity flow from you to touch someone's life for good. Give the precious gift of kindness. Meet a need. Give a gift of forgiveness. Give someone a reason to release exhilarating praise to God. Go the extra mile to touch someone's life for good.
Do it because it is the right thing to do. Do it because it brings glory to God. It pleases God when we perform acts of kindness in His name.
Do it in honor of those who give that others may live.
We can please God with the aromas that rise from being a blessing to others
– Joe Stowell (ODB, April 2015)
Being a blessing to others is blessing God. Ask God today to lead you to someone who He wants you to touch in a special and unique way. We are blessed to be a blessing.
This post is in honor of organ donors: those who give that others may live.
I dedicated this post to the memory of my Unknown Benefactor.