In the spring of 2002 I received a call from my mom saying my father had been rushed to our local emergency room with a gastrointestinal (GI) bleed. I rushed to the hospital to only be told the unthinkable, my father was dying. The only reason the physicians could come up with was my father’s many years as a body shop foreman and craftsman contributed to his new diagnosis, inhaling toxic substances while repairing cars. My father was told he wouldn’t survive the waitlist for a new liver. As a nurse I couldn’t accept that, and reached out to an out-of-state transplant center and requested an evaluation for my father and for myself as a living donor.
We were approved for transplant and my father received his transplant in February 2003. He spent 55 days in the ICU and I was constantly inspired by the passion and dedication that his nurses had for their patients and their families. Those nurses shared their knowledge and inspired me to go back to school to obtain my bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) so that I could become a transplant nurse. In 2011, I graduated with my BSN and in 2012 I became an ICU nurse. After a few years, I had the opportunity to transition to our cardiothoracic surgery ICU where I get to care for our amazing heart transplant patients and their families. I am thankful everyday for the opportunity to be my father’s donor and the dedication and inspiration of those ICU nurses.