Tuesday, September 21, 2010
September 21, 2010. What an amazing day today was to breathe and live! Hard to believe but today is the 2 month mark of my Second-Double lung transplant. Although I am marking this occasion, I have to admit that time has seemed so inconsequential. It is hard to describe. Sometimes I feel like more then 2 months have passed, sometimes it feels brand new like I got the lungs yesterday. To be honest I feel a bit enlightened in the sense that time has at times(irony intended) lost its construction in my thought process. I remember after my first transplant the days being long and counting each one. With these lungs I go to bed and wake up breathing perfectly, perhaps that is the difference. So, on this monumental occasion and to celebrate my continued life and presence I will take the time to honor my donor and his family and talk about that day.
Again, I don't know much if anything about this donor. I will first preface by saying I am grateful to my original donor, however it was not meant to be for whatever reason. He/She did give me close to a year though of continued life and happiness. thank you. I never did hear back from the letter I sent to my first donor family.
My nurse, Dave, an Irishman now living in the US, was my nurse that morning July 21, 2010. He had been my nurse for a few days in a row and watched me slowly descend over those few days. He came bolting in the room at like 8:30 or so, maybe earlier, saying they had lungs for me and it could happen soon!! I expected my transplant coordinator (wait, I didn't have one), or one of the transplant docs to come in bearing the news, so at first I did not really believe him. But that was short-lived. He assured me it was no joke. My Mom and Dad were there, I think my Dad had just arrived, the prior day?? memory is poor. I think Rebecca was there too, or on her way. The news gave me a jolt of adrenalin that lasted the morning. They told me to perhaps be ready for the surgery around noon. Not much time. I told Rebecca to go get the boys, so I could talk to them and see them before surgery. They got there around 10 or so, and I was able to kind of summon enough energy to not look to sick and make them think I was strong and everything was "normal" just like last time. It was a quick visit, but worked out perfect. We have photos somewhere and I will round a bunch up of the last two months and put a little slide show together.
Anyway, my adrenaline wore out around noon. By 3pm or so, I am wondering if it will happen or not. Finally, around 4-5 or so, they came and got me. It happened so quick. I don't remember the goodbyes. I do remember getting into the operating room and helped onto the table. Dr. Haithcock came in kind of hurriedly and I had enough time to joke with him one more time about how sore my right rib still was and if this time he could put me back together right. I think he was not in the joking mood, because like a third-base coach or something I saw him grab his earlobe, which must have been the "sign" to the anesthesiologist to knock my ass out, because after our little jibe it was lights out....That was a Wednesday evening, the next thing I remember was Rebecca and my parents and the respiratory therapist waking me up Friday morning..
I don't know much about my donor. I hope to find out more though this time. I will probably send off a letter very soon. These lungs feel so strong. They fit like a glove, or at least seem to. That was one of the major issues I had after my first transplant. I would breathe in and have a feeling of a giant gap in my lower left side.
I have a feeling this was a tragic case of someone very young and healthy dying early. I heard at least 8 organs were donated from this person!! That was the reason for the delay, lungs are the last ones out. I know the blood type was O+. I found out someone on my recovery floor received his heart and was out of the hospital in like 10 days. I know from Dr. Haithcock that these lungs seemed pristine and he was very happy that he was able to match them to me. Truly, saving my life. That is all I really know at this time and maybe that is all I need to know. Time will tell...
To the family of this person, there are no words to say. It is the most self-less act one can do for their loved one. An anonymous gift during such a tragic time. But at the same time, saving so many lives and altering the future for so many families, friends, acquaintances, and people yet to meet. So, perhaps that is why i don't pay as much attention to time because the gift I was given is beyond that it is infinite and not measurable. It is an energy a Force that emanates out and ensures that their spirit continues on forever.