Our family may be one of the more distinctive families when it comes to organ donation and transplantation. When my mother fell down a flight of steps and later died, we checked to see if she could be a donor. As a result we were able to donate her liver. Sometime later, we received a beautiful thank you letter from a farmer in northern Iowa.
Our family was asked to be part of a national study concerning cardiomyopathy. My dad died of the disease at just 52.
As a result of some tests that were done as part of this study, researchers discovered I had bradycardia and needed a pacemaker immediately. My heart rate was 28 beats a minute.
Despite receiving a pacemaker, my heart condition went from bad to worse. In 2009, I was told I needed a heart transplant. Because I needed a specific type heart, I was told it may be more difficult to find a donor.
We waited about six months. Early on July 19th, 2009, I had a dream. There was a woman in the dream and she was a distance from me. Then she was so close, I couldn’t see her facial features. She put her finger up to her mouth and said, “Shhhhh, don’t tell anybody, but they have a heart for you”.
When I woke up, I debated telling my wife. Finally I did tell her. It was Sunday that day and since we are Catholic we always go to Mass. That day a friend of ours was celebrating the anniversary of his priesthood. We went to Mass at 3 p.m. That was roughly 11 hours after the dream. Half way through the celebration, the pastor got up, stopped everything, and said “Bruce Prenosil, they have heart for you and you need to get to the hospital immediately.”
The church was packed with people and after the announcement there was a roar of applause. I’m told women were crying and so were some men. They knew we had been waiting for a donor heart. As we were leaving, the priest celebrating the anniversary of priesthood leadAfter the surgery, I became a runner and ran in many 5 and 10 k races and did well. Up to that point I had never been a runner in my life. everyone in praying the Our Father for the success of the surgery.
Later when medical personnel got me in the surgery room, I asked the surgeon to lead us in prayer. He was of another faith so I lead everyone in prayer, asking God’s blessing on the doctors, nurses and all the medicines that were to be used.
After the surgery, I became a runner and ran in many 5 and 10 k races and did well. Up to that point I had never been a runner in my life.
I’m almost 14 years post-transplant now and so grateful for what I’ve received. I’ve met my donor family and thanked them greatly. I received the heart of their 18 year old son who was killed in a car wreck.
Sometime after my transplant, this young man’s sister spent the night at our home. She was a student at a local college and had nowhere to stay that night. Her father called and asked if we would take her in. We were thrilled to do so.
Anyway, that’s my story. God Bless!