Five years ago today, Keegan received a miracle. An angel heart that saved his life. In fact at this moment five years ago, the surgery itself was just getting underway, and we had no idea if he would come back to us out of the OR, yet alone be here today.
I read an article on a support site for congenital heart defects called Heartwaves. The author discussed the idea that most CHD families can identify a "moment of impact" where the reality of having a critically ill child hits you. I know exactly when my moment of impact occurred. It was September 18, 2007. Dr. Guleserian had just told us the day before that Keegan could not come off of ECMO unless he miraculously received a heart transplant, the odds of which were stacked against us. We had a million meetings with different doctors and staff members over the next day. We were supposed to sit down with a social worker a little after noon to discuss our family support systems for caring for Keegan if he received a new heart and what preparations we were making if he didn't. I wasn't leaving the ICU very often, if at all, but Gray begged me to go down to the basement cafeteria to pick up a lunch tray, even if I didn't eat it. As we waited at the elevator bank on the lobby level with trays in hand, I watched the other families swirl around me, coming and going, in the normal parts of their days. I sank against the wall and knew that "normal" no longer existed for us. I was drowned by a feeling that my son would never leave the hospital alive.
Of course twenty four short hours later, that would prove not to be true. Our miracle would come in the form of a little boy named Johnston. But for his parents, Kevin and LaMonica, my moment of impact would become their reality. In their weakest moments, they found the strength to bless our family with the gift of life. I fear the day I might again be faced with the decisions they made on this day five years ago, but I pray that I may have the courage they did. I pray that I will never forget to be grateful for every breath Keegan takes for as we are keenly aware, it is given just as quickly as it is taken away. More than anything, I pray that in five years, I can look back and say once again how blessed we are for each day and continue to be humbled by the gift of life we have been given.
Register to be an organ donor today at www.donatelife.net.
You have the power to save a life.