Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame member Ron Cullison continues to successfully recover from a liver transplant that he underwent about two weeks ago.
The long-time local baseball coach had been diagnosed with liver cancer earlier this year. Shortly after, Cullison went through several evaluations to get placed on a liver transplant list.
To his shock, he received a call around 9 p.m. on July 23 that a liver was available for him. The next day, he was in surgery in Omaha and the transplant was successful.
It didn’t all go smoothly, though. A few days later, complications arose when the new liver bial ducts didn’t line up with the bial ducts from his old liver, which caused swelling and leakage.
A second surgery was needed and the doctors were able to fix the problem.
Cullison said going through two major surgeries in a short time span took its toll, but he’s now on the mend.
“I feel really good,” Cullison said. “I’m getting stronger every day and we just now have to hope everything stays where it is now and keeps getting better. It was quite a blow having two major surgeries in a week, but we were able to overcome that.”
Cullison was discharged from the hospital on Monday and is now continuing his recovery and an apartment nearby. He has to return to the hospital three times a week for tests.
Cullison said there’s no timetable on when he’ll be able to return to Beatrice.
“It just depends on how everything goes,” Cullison said. “We just have to hope for no infections and my blood count has to be good. A lot of different things enter into the equation. They won’t let me go home before it’s time. I’d love to be back in Beatrice healing, but I’m better off being close just in case something happens.”
Cullison was a member of last year's Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame class. His coaching career included the Beatrice Eagles Midgets/Juniors, Nebraska Wesleyan, the Beatrice Bruins and Southeast Community College.
During his time as a Juniors coach from 1989-2007, he won five state championships, 12 area championships and accumulated more than 750 wins.
During his time with the Beatrice Bruins, he served as a pitching coach and coached the likes of Major League baseball pitchers such as Joba Chamberlain and Jake Diekman.
Cullison considers the last two weeks to be nothing short of a miracle. Just a few days prior to receiving the call that a liver was available for him, he had gone through some tests that didn’t go well.
“I got that call Sunday night and I was in shock,” Cullison said. “I thought they were just calling me to see how I was doing, but it was to offer me a new liver. After the shock finally wore off, we talked for a while and I accepted the new liver. We were then up there by midnight.”
Cullison has had good support since the transplant. He has to have a caregiver with him at all times while he recovers.
“My wife Linda and my sons Jason and Gary have been with me at all times and have been great,” Cullison said. “I’ve also got some good friends that have come up to see me. We had a lot of visits in the hospital. And the doctors and nurses up here are some of the smartest people in the world. You just have to put yourself in their hands and they will figure out the best course to go.”
For those wanting to visit Cullison or send notes, his current address is 3601 Jones Street, Apartment. 250, Omaha, NE 68105.
One thing Cullison has missed during his hospital stay is his favorite past time, baseball. That changed, though, after he was discharged from the hospital on Monday.
“We are getting a TV hooked up right now and I’ll be able to watch baseball again because I’ve missed watching the Royals,” Cullison said. “Everything is going as well as expected and we just have to hope things stay the course. I look forward to eventually returning to Beatrice and seeing everybody again.”