Pictures barely touch an amazing story.
Milo recently sent me his second installment. This is the draft before editing...
The beeping, the ticking and the bubbly ol' nurse. . .
"Beep, ba-beep, beep, ba-beep ba-beep, beep, ba ba beep. . . ."
'UG! Why can't my heart just slow down and beat normally for once!' I
thought to myself as I lay on the bumpy narrow bed of my ever to familiar
hospital room. Staring up watching the little neon green lines that were my
heart dancing across the little screen hour after hour. This was a typical
night for me. This is what I did for my summer vacation. While teenagers out
there were doing drugs, joining gangs, stealing, robbing, killing. . .
I was the one who got locked up all summer.
the one who committed the ever so terrible crime of working at a private
school teaching kids music, dance and theater. The awful crime of helping to
lead the gay youth march in the Castro against violence,
when Matthew Shepard was killed.
'Why am I feeling sorry for myself?' I thought to myself disgustedly 'It only
makes me feel worse . . . do I really need to feel worse?'
'Yeah anyway. . .' I thought
But I didn't want or need for that matter to stop. I didn't want to stop
thinking. I need to keep my mind active and distracted till I fell asleep
because the moment it gets quiet or the moment I try and close my mind,
thoughts of dying creep into my head. The awful feeling of closing my eyes
and not being able to open them again. Thinking of that awful couple of
seconds that I'd be conciouse if my heart stopped. . .
. . . Before I would die . . .
I shuddered to myself and pulled up the scratchy thing they call a blanket as
a completely imaginary coldness swept over me. I didn't like thinking of
things like that . . . great another night of nightmares. . .
"Whpheeeeew!" I blew out in frustration.
"Ticktick ta-tick tick ta-tick, tick tick ta-tick tick tickta-tick!"
I suddenly tuned into yet another all to familiar sound. The Thoratec
machine. Ticking away like some crazed Tin-man's heart. 24/7 ticking and
ticking, the only thing keeping me from "silencing" it was that it was hooked
up to my heart and keeping me alive.
I looked at the clock. . .
"Oh just fuckin wonderful. . ." i muttered to myself
as I began the count down to the all to familiar inevitable. . .
'Click' the all to familiar sound of my hospital room door opening.
'Right on time!' I though with a cheery sarcasm
"Hi, your still awake." The nurse said quietly "I just need to take your
blood pressure and take your tempature."
"Okay. . ." I said just barely over a whisper while I rolled my eyes, which
luckily she couldn't see because it was dark.
The nurse handed me the temperature thingy and I placed it under my tongue.
Then the nurse took my arm and started to wrap the blood pressure cuff around
it. I almost screamed at how cold it was.
Then the all to familiar squeezing of the cuff. 'Ouch, that hurts' I thought
to myself annoyingly.
"It doesn't hurt does it?" the nurse suddenly spoke.
"No, it doesn't hurt." I spoke impaired with the temperature
taker in my mouth.
'God, will this women ever let up?' I thought a little feeling of pissyness
started to grow inside me.
Finally after what seemed like, well way to long the nurse finally left and I
got some desperately need sleep that night.
I can't stress how incredibly bored I got this summer . . . there was never
any change of scenery. Didn't get to go outside . . . didn't get to run and
play ball, never got to go and see 'Episode one'. Never once this summer did
I go swimming or get to sleep in until noon, never got my summer tan and
never worked at my summer job. I sat on my ass day after day hooked up to
more machinery then a hardware store.
'Borg boy' they called me.
Can take a time out so just say one thing?
Looking back at this summer It seems like it went so quickly now that it's
over, but while I was experiencing it, it went so slow.
Ever so slow.
August 11th 1999
Hmmmmmm say about. . . 11:00pm
My brother Justus and I were watching a movie called "BASEketball"
It was really funny. . . :)
I was so tired though that I could barley keep my eyes open so I finally had
to tell him to turn it off so I wouldn't miss any of it.
He got up and turned it off an as he was putting the movie back in it's box I
"Justus, seeing how I'm going to be here for maybe a couple of months
and I can't easily take a bath or wash my hair,
maybe I should get my hair cut.
Or I could very well get my hair braided. I don't know."
"Either way it would work. But would you really want to cut your hair?"
"No. . . " i muttered grumpily.
August 12th 1999
"Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. . . Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. . . Briiiiiiiiiiiiing. . .
(Silence as obviously the caller gives up because no one woke up being my
family really good sleepers)
(But nooooo the mysterious caller has the pager number! ha HA!)
My brother Justus' pager suddenly furiously starts going off.
"Hhmmmmmph, who the hell is calling me now. . . " Justus mutters grumpily
grabbing his pager which was buzzing angrily on the bed table.
"Who is paging me?" Justus asks to himself not recognizing the number.
Justus dialed the number of he caller.
"Hi." He greets the person "Someone paged me?"
"Ummm can you repeat that please?"
"Mom! They have a heart for Milo! "
My mom sat straight up in bed. . .
August 12th 1999
My mom and Justus have been at the hospital for hours signing permission
papers and legal stuff, talking to doctors.
I have been woken up and told.
It is . . . not your average morning.
As the news spreads around my family and friends like wildfire
people start to show up.
Betsey, my sister Jordan and many more.
My family told me later that they all got to see the actual helicopter that
my heart came in on.
My dad sped down the hallway at 90 miles an hour and got to the hospital
finally right at 2pm which is when I went into the Operating room for my
transplant. He pulled up and over him flew a helicopter and he looked and
watched it disappear onto the roof and then was like "Oh shit! That's it!"
I was so scared and so tense on the way to the operating room that they had
to give me three times the dose of the normal drugs to put me out.
On the way to the operating room I was woozy and delirious from the drugs but
also kinda hysterical saying things like "Actually I think I don't want to do
this, how about we not do this and I'll take the next heart!"
"Can't we just go outside for a minute?"
I was so nervous my whole body was shaking . . . and it didn't help when I
had to leave my mom behind as we went into the "clean" hallway that lead to
the rooms that were germ free a.k.a. "the O.R.".
In the O.R. while they are putting me on the operating table
I am still awake. . .
about as awake an conciouse as someone who has just drunk
5 or 6 pints.
I called my mom from the operating table.
"HI! What. . .where. .how are you calling? Why aren't you asleep?"
"I wanted to talk to you."
This was basically are conversation. . .
When we all to soon said goodbye she told me to relax and go to sleep.
I was asleep before I could hand the phone back to the nurse.
While I slept the Thoratec machine was extracted from my torso and detached
from my heart. After 2 1/2 hours the finally fully removed it from my body
and were able to start in on the actual life saving process:
A Human Heart Transplantation.
They sliced carefully through the skin on my sternum rolling it back and then
cracked open my ribcage opening up my chest.
When they saw my heart they said that it was so sickly and bloated
and flabby that it was huge!
And that it didn't even look like it was beating only shaking. . .
The Surgeon (His name is Dr. Rights) said that in the space that my heart
left they could have fit an adults heart,
and that my heart had been pressing against my lungs.
I received a heart which Dr. rights said was the most perfect match he had
ever seen, blood type, tissue, size, age, it all matched perfectly
even though I have a rare blood type.
I received a heart from a donor that was my age.
Why did I live and he didn't?
Why when he was born with and grew that heart that I got it?
Why do I deserve it?
Why does a part of me feel so awful every time I feel happy with my family
about celebrating my new heart?
You know why?
Because somewhere out there some person, some family is mourning the loss of
their sixteen year old son! That's why!
He must have died in an awful accident or something . . . because obviously
he must have been brain dead because at 2am they new that I was going to get
this heart and i didn't have my surgery until 2pm that day, a heart can only
last up to 3 hours out of a body. so he must have been brain dead and his
family must have been forced with the decision of turning off the life
support machines. . .
Do you suppose that when he got up on the morning of August 11th, 1999 that
he knew or had any inkling at all that he would not be here to attend the Y2K
party he was planning with his friends?
That he would not be here to take "Melissa" to the prom when that comes?
I feel as if I should become doubly successful in life in whatever I do,
because I am actually in away two people. I guess I feel s if I owe it to
his family, so they can say look see him? "See that famous movie star?" or
"See that man? He is a dancer and this and this"
"He's the one that got to live. . ."
". . and were proud. And I think our son would be too."
"Beyond every tragedy,
blooms a small,
yet ever so powerful,
flower of hope. . ."
-Me actually, it's original
I hope you have enjoyed my letter,
Thank you all, again for being there for me.
I love you all!