Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I awoke in a hospital bed
To find the ox licking my face,
His wet tongue wiping away
The tears of the world with each rough stroke.
- July 5, 2008

Life has been most interesting of late. At midnight on the night of June 12th, while visiting friends in Seattle, I received a surprising phone call. "Can you be in San Diego by 6AM? We have a new liver for you." 
To say I was stunned would be a gross understatement. After three and a half years on the transplant waiting list I had begun to lose hope of ever getting such a call, losing strength and stamina with each passing day. Now, at the end of the first day of the first vacation I had allowed myself in a very long time came the call! My wife got on her cell phone immediately and made arrangements with Alaska Airlines to get us on the first flight out in the morning. While it was not possible to make it to San Diego by 6, I could assure Dr. Barry, the surgeon, that I would be there in time for the operation at 9:30. We showered, repacked our bags and at O-dark- thirty our friends drove us, still stunned, to the airport. 
A favorable tailwind got us to our destination 10 minutes early.  As I climbed into the first cab in the line at the airport I notice something that gave me a bit of a start. Atop the meter box was mounted a museum-quality reproduction statue of the ancient Egyptian god Anubis, the guardian and escort of the souls of the dead through their journey in the underworld! Hmm. I asked the middle-eastern looking driver to explain the meaning of our black lacquered companion, but he could not. It was not his cab, he shrugged. It was at that point that I reflected on the fact that it was Friday the 13th. Good thing for me that I am not superstitious!