Why People Need to Think and Act Like Transplant Recipients Now

And should have been for all of 2020

Dana Bennett
5 min readJan 12, 2021


Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash

I wrote this several months ago, way last year (then ran into a writing wall before I published it). Even though now the Covid-19 vaccines are making their way through the United States (however slowly at this point), we will still need to follow these rules I set forth — ones I have to follow the rest of my life, with or without a deadly pandemic.

How do people who are transplant recipients have to live all the time? Simply put — very carefully. I am a liver transplant recipient, almost five years ago; that became my new job title. This is how I live all the time.

All organ recipients have to avoid certain food and teas, and not take any antioxidants. But the big caveat: I have to keep my immune system close to zero to keep my new, lifesaving organ. I received from someone who died and was an organ donor. Their family agreed to it. Some recipients can receive some organs (not heart) from a living donor. It is a wonderful gift, so we all want to take good care of our new lives, and live in all the prescribed ways.

We must scrub our hands with soap and water all the time, and not touch our faces. We should not take jobs where we have unsafe contact with random strangers. We have to stay away from people we know or suspect have a cold or symptoms of a flu — I will add to this later. We must shower daily, and keep our homes clean.

Sound familiar?

It’s familiar because all of that is true right now and has been since early March 2020. For ALL of us, with Covid-19 ravaging the world but especially the United States. We transplant recipients, but now everyone, must be extra careful to do all these things that transplant recipients do 24/7/365. I’ve been in self-quarantine since March 7th, the day after the first coronavirus infection in the US was detected. This is day 332.

I do socially distancing all the time — not the required six feet pandemic time, but I’m always aware of who is around me. I ride public transit (or used to). I wear a cloth mask just walking in the neighborhood. Two or three weeks ago, when I still went into a store infrequently, I would wear my fancy N95 mask. One that blocks both viruses…



Dana Bennett

has survived, achieved many things. Storyteller. BAMus, Univ. of Hawaii. MHumanities, Univ. of Colorado Denver. Liver Transplant, Cleveland Clinic.