Paraplegia & Organ Donation Advocacy
Paraplegia Information
Organ Donation Information
Pre & Post-Transplant Recipient Information
Disability & Travel
Advocacy Appearances

"I make every effort to live life to the fullest, despite being confined to a wheelchair, and dealing with life after an organ transplant. I hope the information contained in these pages will help others do the same."

Gordon Kirkland

Somebody Said Something About Something-or-Other
©2014, Gordon Kirkland


I usually cringe when I hear a sentence that starts with “Somebody said…” It’s amazing how normally intelligent people will take rumors, innuendo, and pure unadulterated bullshit as fact, if ‘somebody’ said it. Never mind checking the facts. Forget that feeling of disbelief. Don’t even question the expertise of whoever ‘somebody’ is.
If somebody said it, it must be true.

Unfortunately, I often hear it among liver disease patients, and those who have received a transplant. Some of the things that ‘somebody’ says are really out there.

‘Somebody’ is often the source of fear amongst patients. Misinformation is potentially dangerous, and almost certainly disheartening. The ‘somebodies’ of this world pass along rumors that can cause this fear, and emotional distress. They may mean well, or they may just be trying to make themselves look smart, either way I wish they would just shut the hell up.

“Somebody said you can’t fly after a transplant.” Well, that’s half true. No matter how hard you flap your arms, you will not be able to fly after a transplant, but then, could you before the transplant? As for flying in an airplane, why not? Six months after my transplant, I boarded an aircraft and took a four and a half hour flight to Toronto. The next day, I flew four more hours to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Eight days later, I reversed the flights. My new liver did not fall out of my body en route.

“Somebody said I won’t be able to have an erection after a transplant.” Well ma’am, that’s probably true. As for you men, don’t worry. If it worked before, it’s going to work after.

“Somebody said I should eat dehydrated grasshopper spit from sumac bushes.” I had more herbal ‘cures’ suggested to me when I was at end-stage liver failure than I can count. Sure, there may be some herbal products that are good for you, but unless you really investigate them you won’t know if or how they may react with the other drugs you are taking. If I listened to every quack suggestion I was given during that time, I wouldn’t have needed to eat any meals, because I would be too full from all the herbs, oils, and potions. Believe your doctor, not your crazy aunt’s sister-in-law’s third cousin.

“Somebody said you can’t eat raspberries after a transplant.” Why believe ‘somebody’ about what foods you can and can’t have after a transplant. Your transplant team will have a dietician on board, who can advise you about what foods to avoid. The big one is grapefruit because it has a negative impact on the antirejection medications. But there have been some wildly fantastic rumor floated around, all started by ‘somebody,’ covering everything from yogurt to eggplant. Again, listen to the specialists, not ‘somebody.’

“Somebody said you have to get rid of your dog after a transplant.” There is no reason to remove a beloved pet from the household after a transplant. In fact, pets are a marvelous addition to your post-operative physical and emotional wellbeing. If you want, though, you can use the transplant card to get other people to clean the cat’s litter box, or pick up the dog poop in the back yard. It’s not that with good hygiene you can’t do those things, but hey, if you get someone else to, why not?

Face the facts. ‘Somebody’ is not a medical authority. You will never find a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine authored by ‘Somebody.’ End-stage and post-transplant patients have wonderful authorities on just about every aspect of their condition available to them through their transplant units. These are the people who care about you. Why turn to anybody else?

So the next time, ‘somebody’ wants to tell you something about your condition, tell them where they can put their advice or misinformation. Be very specific. If nothing else, doing so is bound to make you feel really good.

Gordon Kirkland Supports
The Following Organizations






Return To Author Index
Return To Appearance Index
Return to Advocacy Index

© 2011, Gordon Kirkland & At Large Publishing
Photographs by Diane Kirkland and Bal Dosanj
No part of this site may be copied without the expressed written permission of the copyright holders.