By Lorelei Hill
17 Oct

Biopsy Day

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's biopsy day, again. Is this the eleventh or twelfth? I've lost count.

This morning I arrive first in line. This is a milestone for me. Each biopsy day I think I have timed it just right. Not too early, not too late. But alas, another patient is always there ahead of me.

To be honest, I'm not sure why being first in line is so important. Am I really all that busy that I need to get my biopsy done first? Or is it more the nerves that make me think this way? Could it be my ego is pushing me on, driving me to be first? Sadly, I feel it's a combination of the latter two. Aw well, here I sit at the crack of dawn, all by myself in the transplant waiting area—first in line.

At least I was first in line until a young man, possibly another transplant patient, walked past me in the hallway. He's opened the customarily locked door of the day unit and entered. Huh, I wonder, as I watch him take a seat behind glassed door, the one I am waiting to enter. Has he, by some miraculous stroke of luck, usurped my front running position?

Against my better judgement, I find myself getting up and peeking through the window to see if he has been allowed access to the patient assessment room. Nope. So far so good, he's still waiting in the corridor. The problem is, he's behind the closed doors and I'm still peeking through the window. My higher self keeps asking if any of this really matters and I say no, it does not.

Like clockwork, the nurse opens the door at 7:15. Here we go.

This morning is one of painful pokes, it would seem. An IV sliding into a juicy vein should have been simple. Alas, it was not. Though I must say, it was less painful than many others I've had. While the nurse searches for just the right spot, I introduce myself to the gentleman from the corridor. I learn his name and soon discover he is a father, husband, and a congenital patient diagnosed late in life. Or at least he was congenital before his transplant.

Turns out he received his new heart just after Labor Day and wasn't feeling all that well this morning. Now I understand why he was allowed to enter the unit before the allotted time. I suggest he goes ahead of me. He refuses; I am left wondering again what was so important about being first.

My biopsy doctor is his usual kind, welcoming self. Offering up a big smile when I enter the room, he apologizes for the little pokes. Apparently my veins are not as open as usual and he has entered closer to the nerve than he'd intended. After 30 minutes, another biopsy is over. "See you again next time," Dr. P says with a smile as I press a gauze-covered Band-Aid to my neck. Now only the easy part remains and I’m off to see doctors, have my transfusions, and doze off during my echocardiogram.

The road to and from transplant is a long, often painful one. Filled with uncertainty, pills, tests, and doctor examinations, it is also a path of unconditional love, kind-hearted people, gratitude, and unbridled grace. It is a road I never thought I'd have to travel. Now that I have, I intend to use what I have learned. Following in the footsteps of those who have gone before me, it’s my turn pave the way for others.

On the road to transplant there is no race to be first in line. There is no I’ll get mine before you get yours. The wait can be long or short, and I guarantee you, parts will be painful, but if you persevere, believe me, it is worth it.


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