Don't do's

Some people call it a "miracle."  It could be.

Is it a "gift"?  A lot of people think so.

Some have referred to an organ transplant as "cure", but it really isn't.  I hope I didn't disappoint anybody.

Others call it a "treatment."  That term is the most accurate, but it doesn't sound near as exciting.

While there are all kinds of things you can do that are new, or maybe that you can do again after getting a transplant, there are a few things one ought not to do . . . and those are all covered in the pre- and post-transplant manuals that the transplant center will give you.

I sometimes have a bit of fun telling people how much I can't do, now that I am "burdened" with a transplanted liver:

One can't go sunbathing or to tanning salons.  The immunosuppressant that I take (Prograf) makes one susceptible to skin cancer.  At least wear a sunscreen and be thankful you aren't yellow anymore!

One can't go on drinking binges.  Alcohol mixes poorly with the immunosuppressant; one probably shouldn't drink anyway, with the damage alcohol can do to just about everything.  Alcohol might make you forget to take your pills, and then you will get sick, and might get caught driving drunk to the hospital.  Embarrassing!

One probably shouldn't get a tattoo.  There is always the possibility of getting and infection or Hep C which might lead to another liver transplant.  I'm told they hurt, anyway . . . and they fade . . . and wrinkle . . . and sag.  ;-)  Anyway, anything you'd get will someday go out-of-style.

One can't enter bikini contests with expectations of winning.  A liver transplant incision makes that hard.  Wet t-shirts, maybe?  Just having a 19-inch scar may seem sexy to some.  You can always say the scar is from an alien abduction or a very intense game of Twister.  How about making up a story where you were nearly swallowed by a shark; that really impresses kids!

One shouldn't go gardening barefoot.  Chance of getting cuts and getting infected with a weaker immune system.  Who knows what you might step in anyway?

One isn't supposed to change the kitty litter.  You'd better get somebody to do it, though, especially if you have nine cats in the house like me . . .  

To be honest, I never wanted to do most of those things anyway.

I always thought it might be fun to learn to fly an ultralight.  Maybe try skydiving.  Hey, my doctors never said anything about going against gravity!

Besides feeling a lot better with fewer doctor's appointments and midnight runs to the ER, there is one advantage to having had a liver transplant:  Now, whenever I do go to the doctor or ER, they seem to make an extra effort to see what is wrong.   I almost feel a little like I am an experiment that no one wants to fail.

I would drink a toast to that sentiment, but . . . you know . . .