Archive for June, 2011


I feel like Peter Pan

On second thought perhaps that isn’t such a good analogy. Superman would be more appropriate. The point is I can FLY.

I was informed through my Medical agent in Oklahoma City that The FAA Medical Branch cleared me for takeoff. For the last year the only flying in N847DD has been by my pals, not with me. It’s frustrating taking a back seat and not Pilot in Command. July 1st will be the 120th day since the transplant so a lot has happened very quickly

Incidentally, if you are a pilot and have a medical issue that keep you from flying I can highly recommend Pilot Medical Solutions at They have done a marvelous and very professional job of interfacing with the FAA which on an individual basis could be a process that last months.

In the meantime, we are on the Canadian trip on the Nancy D!


Update from Dan

June 1st marked my 90 day anniversary. I dutifully reported for my 90 day checkup/inspection and all is well. My medication is cut as is my blood work. They don’t want to see me again until September 1. It appears, thankfully, that I am now in the “has-been” category.

I have only two restrictions. I am not allowed to eat raw fish. This means when I go to Japan I can be rude to my guest by not eating sushi. Wonderful news! Also, I am not allowed to clean out the cat box. Of course, we don’t have a cat. But most of all I can never never never eat raw fish out of the cat box. That is strictly off-limits. I feel like all of this – the entire episode– is something that happened way back when and in another life. Physically my notables are that I eat like a horse and I don’t gain weight. I lost 20 pounds during surgery, have kept it off, and now at my perfect weight. I also eat a ton of beef. If I see a cow driving down a country road I feel like stopping and having a bite out of its ass. Ice Cream is good too. I really don’t know what this is all about but you will not hear me complaining.

So all of this means that we will have a normal summer, weather cooperating. Nancy D is now floating in the Kenosha Harbor (I am referring to the boat here, not my wife) and it is fueled up ready for our Canadian trip beginning July 1. I also have my transplant records into the FAA and I expect sometime in June I will have the clearance so I can fly again. Once that happens then I will officially be “normal”.

So now it is time for me to help those that helped me…

In May I had the opportunity to visit the folks at the Gift of Hope Illinois ( ). Jerry Anderson as their president, and we had a delightful visit and lunch together. Jerry’s organization is the organ procurement organization (OPO) for all of the North half of Illinois and northwest Indiana. All of the organs and tissues transplanted in these hospitals are procured through Gift of Hope. They have the relationships with virtually every hospital and developed a community programs for organ donation. They have a close working relationship with the Secretary of State and other organizations through the area. It is truly a mission driven organization that coordinates the various organs from a potential donor working with the transplant centers for speedy distribution. It is a well oiled machine. As of March they have expanded the facility to include an operating room for harvesting organs. There are many OPO’s around the country, and the Gift of Hope is only the second OPO to have approved harvest facility within their building location. The Gift of Hope folks don’t see many of their clients so it was an honor for me to thank those that work on this stuff every day. I have agreed to work with their marketing folks on an outreach to Chicago corporations. The goal is to expand the donor list to the next level. Seems to me like an easy sell and an opportunity for me to help the cause.  Gee, they even took my photo ! ( )

Then there are the initiatives at Northwestern. In May I had a meeting with the development folks and the Chief of the Comprehensive Transplant Center. They are doing some amazing stuff. I am reading feverishly trying to get my arms around it. One example is growing livers in the laboratory. In not too many years they will be able to take a liver from a pig, strip it down to its chassis (their words not mine) and inject human DNA in to it growing it back to someone’s very own liver. Now that’s really cool. So a guy comes in with a bad liver, the surgeons take a few DNA samples, and then tell him to come back in two weeks while they grow him a new liver. WOW. (Oink Oink). Anyway, they ask that I Chair a group of folks, work to arrive at a CASE statement and disseminate the awareness within the community. There are a number of influential folks and business leaders in the city where they or their family have been touched one way or another through organ transplant. I believe the opportunity exists to leverage those in the community that are passionate for the cause. NIH funding for these various initiatives can kick in, but only after the initial research and development have been completed through the use of internal funds. Obtaining initial funding is the key prior to NIH funding This is leading edge stuff, high-tech, and conducted all within the realm of the University with some very very smart and dedicated folks. I think this could be fun.

So that is the latest on.. As the liver turns…