Today is the opening of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As a Canadian, I am excited to see our athletes compete on home soil, and for this chance to display our country to the world. I am an unabashed fan of the Olympics in general, and am inspired when I watch athletes from around the world come together for what is hopefully fair and friendly competition. As someone who has dealt with chronic illness my whole life, watching people who strive for and attain such levels of physical achievement leaves me in awe, and not a little jealous.
That said, having the Olympics in Canada makes me wary. The last time the Olympics were in Canada, the Calgary Winter Olympics of 1988, my family was watching the opening ceremonies when we got the call saying the liver I had been waiting for had arrived.
When I heard I was going on the heart transplant list in July 2009, the Olympics came to my mind right away. I grew up hearing the story of my liver transplant and the coincidence that Canada was about to host the Olympics again was not lost on me. I honestly thought the call for the heart transplant wouldn’t come till the Vancouver Olympics had started.
Instead, the call came November 16th, 2009, exactly four months after I was placed on the heart transplant list. I received my new heart on November 17th, and while Valentines’ Day will mark the twenty-second anniversary of my liver transplant; Wednesday will mark three months with my new heart.
Tonight, I’ll be watching the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics from my home on my couch. Seems like the most average thing in the world, but to me, it is remarkable.
I have to say though – after a new liver for Calgary and a new heart for Vancouver, if I even hear rumours that Canada is trying to get another Olympic bid, I’m going to be nervous wondering which organ is going next. Good thing I wasn’t around yet for the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics.