“I may have a new heart for you”

Bob Aronson

Dr.Hosenpud’s call to my cell phone from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida was totally unexpected.  I had only been on the waiting list for thirteen days.   I knew that many people waited a long time for an organ; some even died waiting so when Hosenpud’s call came I was shocked to the point of being dumbfounded.  

“Don’t eat anything,” he said, “drink only sips, pack a bag and come to the hospital as soon as possible.”  He noted that while the match between the donor and me seemed good, there could always be circumstances that might prevent a transplant. It could be a false alarm.  I know I said something to him like, “OK, I’ll be there.” I can’t remember anything else.  I am usually very logical and decisive but at this moment emotions ruled. “This can’t be happening, I’m not ready, this is too quick, do I really need a transplant?” All of these questions despite the fact that I had undergone extensive transplant evaluation and testing at Mayo for several months.

“I’m here for a heart transplant,” I told the receptionist at the hospital, thinking they would rush me somewhere.  They didn’t.  The organ, if appropriate for transplant, had not yet been recovered so there was no immediacy, no hurry. As I signed the appropriate papers and Robin and I called family and friends, my mind was rushing, I felt confused, conflicted and apprehensive. Like a stressful dream, images, thoughts and snippets of conversation raced through my mind.  None lingered, they just flashed by.  Strangely, I was never frightened. I knew that if I had a transplant I’d be fine. That, I assume, is the result of my lifelong eternal optimism.  I am incapable of negative thinking. 

In my conflicted mind the pace of events increased to many times that of the speed of light, far too fast for me to follow, I have to depend on Robin’s memory and the recollection of others to help me with the details of what happened next.  All I remember through that incredible deluge of thoughts and images is waking up in the Intensive Care Unit and wondering what happened.  “Was the transplant over, am I OK, where’s Robin, what’s going on.”  I fell asleep again almost immediately. 

When I awakened the nurse told me I had a new heart that was working perfectly and that I was doing very well.   Robin, holding my hand, reassured me that everything was fine and that I looked good.  The monitors seemed to be happily beeping and chirping in tune with my new heart.  There didn’t seem to be any reason for me to be concerned so again I fell into the waiting arms of Morpheus.  Nine days later I left the hospital totally amazed and full of hope. 

About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on November 4, 2007, in journaling. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have experience being on the donor end of the aspects in life. I was 23 years old when my high school sweetheart husband had been killed at work in a tragic accident. It is ironic when life is thrown at you when you least expect it. My husband and i were talking about a week earleir about his boss who just renewed his driver’s license and chose to be a donor. My husband was due to renew his driver’s license on his birthday, he said i think that I’m gonna sign up to be a donor, cuz when I’m dead I don’t need my organs any more. That phrase he said one week before he was killed stayed with me and changed my life forever. My husband was killed on July 2, 2002 and on July 11th my husband would have turned 24. Because of the conversation that my husband and I had I knew I would change people life through the grief that I was experiencing. My husband was the kindest man that i have ever meet. He was always lendning a hane to someone. I now have the satisfaction that my husband’s spirit not only lives on in me and our children but in someone else. Through this, it has made dealing with the loss of my husband much easier. Since then, I have also became a donor. We wear our donor family pins proudly and remember what a great person my husband was and knowing that someone else shares in his spirit is rewarding and comforting.

    My suggestion in life to those who have not become a donor , please do you will save someone and it makes the grief process easier knowing your loved one will live on in soemone else. It is a very rewarding experience. Through our family’s donation, my husband was able to help over 56 people. Please make the life changing choice to help someone…. As they say leave it here for someone who can use because you’re not gonna need it in heaven…. Life is precious, I have learned to live every day as if it is my last because life is unexpected and make sure the ones that you love the most know how you feel about them.


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