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Lester Williamson of Independence, MO

I was recommended for the kidney/pancreas transplant. Then I found out the hospital that I had been going to was not able to do the type of transplant that I needed. So I was transferred. There, I found a way to get the dental work done that was holding me up being placed on the list. Finally, on April 25, 2012, after a year of tests and evaluations, I was placed on the list.

Life went on and time passed. At first, every time the phone rang with a number I didn’t know, I jumped, hoping that it was the call I was waiting for. I eventually just quit worrying about it. Then, in what would be the last month on dialysis, I began to retain fluids. My legs would swell to the point that I could barely bend my knees. By then, I was going to school and helping with Divorce Care. I was awfully uncomfortable, but I just kept pushing through everything because I knew I had things to do and people were counting on me. Finally, on Sunday night, Dec. 2, 2012, the call finally came. I was watching TV with my family and my phone rang. I took it out of the case and looked at the number. I laid it on the couch, since I didn’t recognize the number, and went to the kitchen to refill my tea. As I was doing that, my voicemail alert went off. While I was checking that, my phone rang again. This time I answered it. The voice on the other end was the transplant coordinator from the hospital. She said that I was #1 on the list that night and that they were beginning cross-match at that time. She asked me some questions and gave me some instructions. Then she said she would call me around 6 the next morning. I shared this information with my wife and we started calling everyone we knew. I went to bed later that night and just laid there, finding it hard to believe that the time I had been waiting for was finally here. The transplant coordinator called me at 3 in the morning and told me I had to be at the hospital by 5. We got up and got the kids up and we all got ready to go. When we arrived at the hospital, I checked in as I was instructed. I had to get some blood drawn and a chest x-ray done as well. Then I was taken up to my room to prepare for the upcoming surgery. At first we were told surgery was at noon. Then they told us it would be at 3, then 1, then 11. Finally I was moved down to surgery waiting. By now, it was mid-afternoon. Finally, they came and got me and moved me to the operating room. As I am moving from the bed to the operating table, I noticed a box on another table. In big red letters on the side was the word “Perishable.” I asked one of the nurses if they were in there and her answer was yes. I started to cry knowing that my life was about to change forever. They began getting me ready for surgery and the next thing I know, I am in I.C.U. with my wife beside me, with my parents soon to arrive and my family nearby. My parents had driven up from south Texas Monday morning, arriving some time Tuesday. I was told everything went well and to just rest. The surgeon came to see me later that day and told us that everything went really smooth and as soon as he connected the organs to my blood supply, they started working right away.

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