Showing posts from December, 2009

Dog Meat

People have been asking what it’s like to face a possible death situation. Well, when you know it’s coming, you have to deal with it. We all die sometimes. What is terrifying is to be in one suddenly, without expecting it. A story: Some years ago my partner Jerry and I were invited to a small private party in McLean VA (we were visiting DC at the time), and ran into the host in a gay bar. He made jewelry for a living (very bizarre stuff) and called himself “Mad Dog” (which proved providential). The party was for the next evening. We took a very expensive cab ride there. His house could have been used as a substitute for the Bates home in “Psycho” It was an old wooden clapboard, two stories high, isolated on a little rise, spooky to loot at. Our host met us as the door, naked except for an apron (he’d been cooking for the party---I hasten add this party was not sexual in nature, Mad Dog was just strange). He then introduced us to his rather large Doberman Pinschers: one was a gig


Xmas day. Had to miss usual Xmas eve dinner with friends, since one of them had a major infection, which, of course, I cannot risk contracting. Went instead to see “The Road” I had read the book; it was depressing. Now I’ve seen the movie; even more depressing. However, it is not dull, and the picture makes you think about big topics: life worth living at all costs? Having just had the heart transplant, it is a question that resonates with me. I wasn’t afraid of the operation itself (which, while it takes 4-5 hours is not particularly medically complicated—my cardiologist told me that in medical school they were told you could train monkeys to perform it since it is big pipes attached to big pipes), but I am afraid of rejection issues and being tortured to death in a hospital over the next six months. So far my health is splendid and I show zero signs of rejection, so all is good. Tonight I go to an Xmas feast at my sister’s home. She and her husband are both major foodies, an

Xmas Eve and the New Heart

My cariologist said that some transplant patiences are afraid of their new heart, and such a bad mindset can lead to rejection issues. Not me. I have a mantra: "This is Douglas Whaley's heart; it's my heart now." And it's been behaving very well. I feel like a kid again---much more energy. Have been working out with stretching exercises and 30 minutes on the exercycle in the basement. Most of my life I have had a rigorus exercise program, including weights and bodybuilding, and I'd like to get back to that by summer of 2010. I was scheduled to go over to Ann and Tom's house tonight for their ritual Xmas Eve fondue dinner, but Tom is ill, and, of course, since I have very little immune system, I have to stay away. Tomorrow I will go to Art and Lorri's house for the major Xmas dinner they always prepare, and Tom will stay home (so we're taking turns). These are all part of my chosen family group, and we have been together for decades. Wonderful peop

Heart Transplant

A little background: I am a retired law professor from Ohio State University, living in a suburb of Columbus. Age 66. I had a heart transplant the Monday before Thanksgiving. The whole experience has been like science fiction. It is one thing intellectually to think you are getting a heart transplant sometime in 2010, and quite another to have a morning phone call (I was working at the computer) on Nov. 23: "Mr. Whaley, we have a heart for you." It was the most startling sentence I have ever heard in my life. Of course, the old heart started beating very fast, but by midnight I had a new one. The surgeon who put it in came by days later and told me that when he first saw it, he thought "that is a beautiful heart." A nurse who watched the operation said that the heart they took was so enlarged that it was three times bigger than the heart they put in. I was home and happy eight days later. So, from being on the verge of dying, I am filled with life again. I have no m