Rod Davis, Liver Recipient, 1997
It was 1988, the year when Rod Davis was working three jobs in California, his twin brother Roger called him about a job opening with the University Health System Organ Transplantation Program. “I was on Cloud 9,” says Rod of the opportunity. He and his family packed up their belongings and headed to San Antonio. Rod, with great pleasure, had become an Organ Recovery Coordinator. One day, while attempting to donate blood, Rod was turned away due to elevated liver enzymes. He mentioned his disappointment to one of the founding directors of the transplant program, Dr. Caliann Lum. With great concern, Dr. Lum had him tested. Rod had a liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). But this did not deter him from his passion to help people through his work. By the end of 1996, his disease began to challenge his being. Fatigue and relentless itching had now become unbearable. Thoughts of his family during long sleepless nights kept him going. Transplant surgeon Dr. Glenn Halff and transplant gastroenterologist Dr. Kermit Speeg had both warned Rod that an organ transplant was his only option to live. He continued to work while on the transplant waiting list, until he was sent home on April 1, 1997. Rod along with his wife and five kids were all gathered when the call came in that a liver had become available for him. It was a surreal moment for Rod to now be on the receiving end for an organ he is used to recovering for patients. As he gathered his thoughts in the shower, he observed his scars and scabs in disbelief. The liver transplant surgical team Drs. Glenn Halff, Robert Esterl, Francisco Cigarroa and Ken Washburn worked diligently together on his case. And when Rod woke up the next morning, the itching was gone.
“Not a day goes by that I do not think about my donor family. I am amazed at the individuals that lose a loved one in tragedy but still take a moment in their thoughts to think of others. I honor my donor by taking care of my gift, by listening to the doctors and nurses and following exactly what they ask me to do. I know that I am going to have some good days and some bad days but I will always work hard to be a good person, husband and father.” ~ Rod Davis
Rod is pictured with his first grandson Tanner.