State of mind, the night before
First, I have my whole immediate family here (David got into Chicago tonight), and once we all were in a room together at Joe's apartment, I immediately got emotional. Then, Mom and Dad presented us some gifts--matching commemorative "Hugs" statues for Joe and me, and a gorgeous diamond pendant on a white gold chain for me. I dare you to accept that from your parents, who are so near tears they can hardly speak the words as they hand you the box, and not cry!
The most surprising moment of the night for me came just as we returned to Joe's apartment after picking David up at the airport. All Joe's Chicago-based friends were there, and were heading out the door. His friends Rishi and Greg gave me hugs, and one of them said, "Thank you, thank you for what you are doing for our friend." I lost it. I have thought so much about the fact that I am doing this to save a brother's life, a son's, an uncle's. I have thought about the fact that my actions have inspired and touched other people, friends and strangers. But until that moment, I hadn't really thought about this gift from Joe's perspective, and from the perspective of his fabulous and loving community full of people who care about him just like you all care about me. To them, I was not a hero so much for doing this, but for doing it for their friend, who they love. It blew me away. That gives me a tremendous surge of pride and peace as I pack up to leave for the hospital tomorrow.
Which brings me to my current state of mind. I am not scared, honestly, not a bit. I'm calm, and will probably even sleep pretty well. I hope I don't die or anything (the chances are a fraction of a percent, and really not much more than with an appendectomy or other minor surgery), and sure, I've had to face mortality today a little more than most 32-year-olds might in a given day. But overall, I feel calm. Ready. Eager. And above all, truly blessed. Give yourselves all a pat on the back.
Good night, Chopped Liver fans. Talk to you on the other side of the transplant!