Keith Garavaglia, Donor
A Hero To Those In Need
Posted May 15, 2014
Saturday, October 14, 2000, was to be our 17 year wedding anniversary. Originally my husband, Keith, and I were going to go to Chicago for the weekend. We put that on hold due to so many prior engagements. Keith was a Union carpenter. His Company had a deadline to meet. They asked Keith to work weekends until they caught up. So he worked. At 8:15 that morning the phone rang. It was Keith’s boss. The news was not good. He told me Keith had fallen from a ladder, only 4 feet, but was unconscious. He was already on his way to the hospital by ambulance. I got dressed and headed for Barnes Hospital. I don’t remember much of the short trip. I did call my parents. I had a bad feeling that things were not going to be good when I got to the hospital. My family lives out of town. I needed them to be prepared if things were not good. I would need them by my side.
When I got to the emergency room, I had to register Keith and wait… They had already taken Keith for a CAT scan. I knew if things were moving this quickly this was going to be serious. Soon after the scan was complete I was confronted by the neurosurgeon. Keith had a large blood clot on the right side of his brain, and the right brain hemisphere had moved into the left brain hemisphere area. The doctor said he was going to do surgery to try and remove the clot and to do any repairs if possible. I was very to the point with the doctor. I told him “I have 2 children at home. What do you really think?!!” His words still ring in my ears; he said “We have a very healthy 44 year old man here that probably won’t live through tomorrow.” Then he left. At that point it sounded like a freight train was going through my head. I leaned over to catch my breath, what just happened??? Our life had changed in the blink of an eye. Our normal, crazy, fun life was gone.
“Now, he understands how much of a hero his dad will always be to him and to so many others.”
At 5:00 a.m. the next morning I told the nurse that Keith wanted to be a Donor. There was much to be done, but we received nothing but compassion, understanding and time. I was gently guided through all the information regarding Organ Donation. All my questions were answered, now all I had to do was sign those papers. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. Keith was not one to let anything keep him down, but this time it was bigger than he was.
Years later my son told me; that day when he looked at his dad, he knew his hero had fallen. Now, he understands how much of a hero his dad will always be to him and to so many others. Being an Organ Donor was the most precious gift that he could give to those in need.