Prince White played bass last night with his band, Revolution Heroes, for over three hours.
Today, at a coffee shop, like many artists after a performance, he can easily critique the high and low points of the show.
But it doesn’t last long. He can’t help but smile. “We sounded good,” he said. “That’s my element. It’s where I’m meant to be.”
Bands play in bars and clubs every night. But for White, music is his purpose. It would be called his lifeline, but right now he is focused on the bass line.
On February 20, White underwent a kidney transplant at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. His post surgery goal was an easy choice. White raised two families and always said once they were grown he would dedicate himself to music.
“All along my biggest dream was to just play music. I didn’t care if I got famous,” said White, a 66 year-old West Brandywine resident.
About 20 years ago, White started to experience kidney problems due to a build-up of albumin in his system. Doctors eventually discovered the capillaries in his kidneys had ruptured and scarred over due to high blood pressure as a child (of which White was unaware).
White was being treated at the University of Penn and getting dialysis treatment in Wilmington where Crozer held an information session and he learned more about their transplant program.
White worked as a painter for 18 years at Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston. At home, peritoneal dialysis gave him more freedom and he continued to work before his retirement and practice with the band.
Three years ago, White started with Crozer and credits their transplant nurse coordinator who went over his history and told him he was a perfect candidate for a kidney.
“What my transplant nurse coordinator did for me was a miracle,” White recalled.
In February, within a few days of telling him of a possible kidney, White received a call to come in for testing. Having gone through operations prior to the surgery, he thought it must be meant to be if he “kept waking up.”
“My transplant day, February 20th…It was me just turning it over to God, saying if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.”
White doesn’t know from whom the kidney came. He doesn’t want to sound cold or ungrateful, but the subject is depressing.
“Somebody died…somebody died for me to have this kidney,” he says wiping away tears forming at the corner of his eyes. “It still messes with me. That’s part of the reason I’ve done so well. I can’t dwell on that…”
Instead, White focuses on the music, which he plays by ear.
“And by heart,” he adds.
If he were to set up right now in the coffee shop with his bass (he also plays the six string and 12 string), White would play ZZ Top’s “Mushmouth Shoutin”
He plays the blues but loves heavy metal and rock-and-roll. When he talks about playing “Mushmouth,” Kiss, Def Leopard, or Guns N’ Roses his smile widens and he shifts in his seat like he is ready to leap on stage.
Life post-transplant requires immunosuppressive medicines to help prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney and follow-up. Both the transplant team at Crozer-Keystone and White believe a goal is important.
“We ask every potential transplant patient, ‘What’s the one thing you can see yourself doing after your transplant that you can’t do now because of dialysis?’ Coming up with an answer to that helps the patient remember what life was like before their kidneys failed,” commented Joell Alter, director of Marketing and Outreach for Crozer’s Regional Kidney Transplant Program. “It helps us as a program to keep them motivated while they wait for a kidney.
Added White: “Have a goal. That’s the main thing. I had a goal. My lifelong dream and ambition to play music. Because of the desire, I made myself have the energy.”