News came out on March 19th that Walter Trout’s condition had rapidly deteriorated with doctors saying without a liver transplant in the next 90 days he’ll surely die. The rally cry was “let’s band together for Trout”. And band together they did. Blues fans from all four corners of the globe got involved either by contributing financially or by using the power of social media to spread the word. The outpouring of love and support drives home the fact that we are part of a very big family, the blues family.
At the time of writing this the tally was over $131,000, surpassing the initial goal of $125,000 and considering that Walter faces a long road of recovery to get back up on stage, any additional money will be put to great use in helping the family. Make no mistake, he will get through is. The money is helping pay for some of the finest medical treatment available at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. We’ve seen some of our blues family go through and recover, Gregg Allman and Curtis Salgado are two that come to mind immediately. Now that the money has been raised the hard part is waiting for him to get even worse in order to be put on the priority list. Marie explains more about that process in the message below.
From Marie, Walter’s wife:
“First I want to thank all of you. Walter and I are speechless at how you have rallied around this cause. You have absolutely filled our hearts to the brim with your care and concern. To all of you who have donated: Thank you – thank you – thank you! As we are facing a long period of uncertainty, your contributions are helping Walter relax. The outpouring of love, concern, and prayers from you all is truly amazing. This is healing energy and he feels it!
I am spending a lot of time in the hospital with Walter. He is very weak; he is tired all the time, and he has all the symptoms of end-stage liver disease.
The past two weeks where Walter has been hospitalized have helped him regain his kidney function, and almost cleared the infection that was throughout his body. This is the good news. The bad news is that since he is now doing better, he is no longer a top priority for immediate transplant. He still needs a liver transplant more than ever – and they still figure that statistically this will be within the next “90 days” – but because his kidney function and other vital functions have normalized somewhat, he is further down the list. He is now “medically stable” and the doctors have determined that the safest place for Walter to be now, is at home with care 24/7.
So Walter will be coming home to me some time next week to continue the wait for the liver there. It is a paradoxical situation: On one level, Walter needs this transplant desperately. On another level, his other organs and body systems are still functioning. These will need to get weak enough that they also fail or are on the brink of failing before he can receive top priority for the transplant. The livers are allocated depending on need. And whoever needs one most gets it. This is a fair communal system – yet emotionally and individually it is hard. Because basically the message is: “Yes, you need a new liver, but until your other body organs and systems also shut down, you cannot receive priority.”
The trick is then to keep his overall cardiovascular and pulmonary condition from deteriorating while he waits. He needs to do so to withstand the operation. He needs to be in good physical condition to withstand the 8-10 hour long operation. This is a tall order, since walking is exceedingly painful for Walter right now.
So we will get home care and Physical Therapy for Walter to start training for this upcoming marathon of an operation. At home, he will be less at risk for infection and some of the other risks that are in a hospital setting. And he will need someone with him all the time. I will go through some training to know what to look out for. There are a whole host of symptoms that warrant getting Walter immediately to the ER or back to UCLA. We know his day is coming for the operation, but when that is – remains uncertain.
Many of you have asked if there isn’t something we can do to speed up the process… and really there isn’t. There are no experimental programs at UCLA currently, and a living donor option is not possible. Thank you to you who have offered to be tested as a living donor – but it only works when the patient is a very small person or a child. Walter is too big – even at 120 pounds! And although it is excruciatingly hard emotionally to watch Walter continue his trek downhill as his liver is failing, it is important for me to keep in mind that this is sacred life we are dealing with here: The gift of life in the form of a donated liver will be afforded to Walter from somebody who is going to die – typically a violent and sudden death.
This process is tender, it is difficult, and it will be life-saving – even as death comes to the donor! And saving lives – saving the most amounts of lives with these sacred donations of organs – is part of what these teams of doctors and surgeons consider each day. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do when it comes to these precious organ donations – all who are on the liver transplantation list are equal: The sickest gets priority. I feel the whole gamut of human emotions. I love Walter so much. He gives my world colors. He is the most alive and vibrant person I know. And I am determined to keep fighting this battle and do whatever is necessary to get Walter back to living life where he can share his gift with us all. And I have no doubts that this will happen, especially now with your help, love and prayers. This community we are creating here will sustain his faith, help him have peace of mind and enforce his willingness to persevere. It is just a long, long and arduous trek with no shortcuts and no easy solutions. It is marathon upon marathon upon marathon. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Thank you again for your support. We so appreciate each one of you. I hope that you will continue to pray for him. Hang in there with us! It offers us much relief to know we stand shoulder to shoulder with you all. Let’s keep the positive energy going.
We are long-distance runners – and we all run this race with Walter!”