Counting My Blessings

It's been easy to focus on all the negatives going on around me. Incessant work, overwhelming social activities, challenging travel...it's all been a pain in the arse.

The thing is, no matter how bad or frustrating your life is, someone has it worse. And, I found that out last Friday night.

My friend Morgan sent me a text while I was in Canada asking if I wanted to play in a charity poker tournament at his house on Friday night. I went directly from the airport to the game. Half of the money was going to the prize fund and the other half was going to his co-worker for medical bills.

The medical bills were for his co-worker's step-daughter who just had a heart transplant.

OK, imagine that you're a 16 year old girl who thinks you have the flu. You don't get better so your parents take you to the emergency room. They tell you that you just need an IV to get rehydrated but then, within days, you find out your heart is failing and you need a transplant.

Now, imagine that you're the parent of a 16 year old girl and an apparent flu episode leads to discovering that your daughter's left aorta is destroyed and only a transplant will keep your child alive.

I can't begin to fathom being in either scenario. How truly terrifying.

The good news is that she received a heart after 16 days on the list and the surgery was successful. The bad news is that there are a ton of bills to pay and she's going to be on expensive medications for the rest of her life.

All of us who played in the tournament decided at the beginning we would donate our winnings back. We ended up raising over $800 which was nice but probably a drop in the bucket for what they're on the hook for.

I learned a lot from the story. A heart issue in children and young adults doesn't manifest itself in chest pains, it feels like a stomach ache. A heart transplant surgery only takes 3 /12 hours. A very common source of organ donors are from the prison population. Not the death row folks, but the weaker inmates who don't survive the big house.

I also learned how fortunate I am in that I'm healthy, my family is healthy and the petty grievances in my life are nothing compared to the burdens in others' lives.

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