BY: Rishka HadadMy
My best friend was dying of heart failure. Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome (MODS), the doctors called it. It was in the early stages. Only his heart had been affected so far. The doctors asked a lot a questions before going to the Board of Medicine for a heart transplant permit on him. We were all thankful when he qualified, but the joy was short-lived. “Unfortunately we don’t have any donor hearts that would match,” the doctor said solemnly. The entire atmosphere of the waiting room changed. “Jacob’s heart is dead, but we put him on dialysis. He could survive for sometime with that alone, but his other organs will start to shut down. Starting with the kidneys, then the liver, then the lungs, and one by one every organ in his body will die,” the doctor took a breath and then added, “if any other organ shuts down he will no longer qualify for the transplant.”
Everyone in the waiting room was silent and full of sorrow. “He’s going to die,” Jacob’s mother wailed suddenly. “My little boy. I’m losing my little Jacob,” she cried. I looked down. I could practically feel my heart breaking into tiny pieces. As I sat there beside Jacob’s mother my mind let the twenty-seven years Jacob and I’d spent together flash before my eyes. It had always been Jacob and I. We were playmates, best friends, and two halves of the same soul. It was when the image of our high school prom entered my mind that I knew I couldn’t watch him die. It was at that point that I realized what feelings were really there, the feelings that had always been there.
I walked up to the doctor and confronted him, “What are the chances of finding a donor?” “I’m afraid they are very slim,” the doctor replied and started to walk away. I grabbed his hand, “Test me.” The doctor turned and was wearing a look of confusion and disbelief, “I’m sure we will find a donor there’s no need to-” I cut him off, “By the time you find a donor heart that matches, Jacob won’t qualify for the transplant. I’ve been the donor for all of his blood transfusions. I am most likely his best chance at this point.” “Are you sure you want to do this?” the doctor asked. I looked at him and showed no fear or doubt, “Yes. He would do the same for me.” “Very well,” the doctor responded. The doctor lead me into a room drew blood, and did an echo-cardiogram. I waited for several minutes and the doctor returned. “You are an almost perfect match,” his voice was sorrow filled, “you don’t have to do this.” I looked at him and smiled, “Yes I do.”
I asked the doctor not to tell anyone about what I was planning to do, he reluctantly agreed. The doctor walked into the waiting room and announced, “We found a donor heart.” The entire room erupted with joy and happiness. “Oh thank God,” Jacob’s mother cried. I shared their joy and didn’t betray the truth.
I walked into Jacob’s room and he was awake. “The doc said they found a donor Mia,” his voice was happy. “I heard,” I tried to keep my voice flat. Jacob smiled at me. “It’s time,” the nurse said as she injected an anesthetic into Jacob’s IV. “Will you be here when I wake up?” he asked as his eyes began to droop. “I’ll never leave you Jake,” I said softly as I kissed him on the lips. He had a look of pure shock on his face. “Later Jake,” I said as I walked out of the room and changed into my operating gown. “Lets get this over with,” I said as the doctor gave me a shot. I smiled as the sleepy feeling swept over me. “There is a note for Jacob when he wakes up in the top drawer beside the bed. Make sure he gets it,” I said to the doctor. “That’s the least that I can do,” he replied as I feel asleep.
Jacob’s eyes opened five hours after the nurse had given him the anesthetic. He blinked as he looked around. His mom, dad, little sister, the doctor, and his close friend Andy were all in the room. “Where’s Mia?” he asked in a confused voice. His mother’s eyes filled with sorrow, “Jacob there’s something you need to know.” “Mia isn’t here,” his dad jumped in. “She told me she’d never leave,” Jacob’s voice was full of pain. “Here,” the doctor said as he handed Jacob a note, “this will explain everything.” Jacob took the note and opened it. It was from Mia. He began to read to himself.
I’m sorry that I’m not there now that you’re awake. I had a difficult decision to make and I made the choice that I believed was best. You have always been my best friend and it took almost losing you for me to realize just how much you mean to me. I love you Jacob. I always have and I always will. Take care of my heart Jacob, because now it beats for you.
Tears rolled down Jacob’s face as he clutched his chest. ”Mia,” he whispered as tears stained the note, “I love you too.”