This week one of my friends received the most magical gift – a shiny new pair of lungs, new balloons! Her journey to transplant has been rocky and her grit and determination is inspirational. I wish I could showcase her story for you all to marvel at. However, it is not my story to share. What I can share is my reaction to her transplant success which has been more emotional than I expected.
When I woke on Friday morning I had an email waiting to tell me that lungs were available and they might go to her. My adrenaline immediately kicked in, I couldn’t believe that her operation was potentially so close! I was gripped with excitement that her current limitations might be vanquished and fear for what might lie ahead for her. What if she didn’t make it through the op? Would her recovery be easy or hard or both? What was in her future? I wanted a crystal ball to materialize in front of me and reveal her future.
All day at work I compulsively checked Facebook for updates. 12 hours after her call the operation got the go ahead. I then checked Facebook all through the night for word. At 3am I could finally rest knowing she was out of theatre and stable. I still check Facebook and am loving the photos and video of her recovery. Her husband has very graciously kept all her cheerleaders in the loop about her transplant journey.
PWCF are aware from a young age that lung transplant is a future possibility. My friend’s experience has dragged that possibility out of the wings and given it front and centre attention for me. I am in the rare position of anticipating the transplant journey from two sides – the patient and the spouse angle. I could very possibly reprise both of these roles. I know I would find the strength to get through either scenario but I would have to dig pretty damn frigging deep, let me tell you.
It’s got me thinking… I’ve been wondering how I would react to the call. Not too well I suspect given my mini freak out about my friend’s phone call. What on earth would I pack for a transplant admission? Better make sure lip balm is packed, how annoying would chapped lips be on top of everything else?! Who would I call, when would I call? Who would I want waiting with me? How would I pass the many hours of waiting for the go ahead? How devastating on a scale of 1 – 10 would it feel to be sent home again if the lungs weren’t suitable? 11? How could I cope with the pain? Pain and I are not good friends. How many IV’s and machines would I have attached and could the doctors possibly do all the nasty painful things like cannula, catheter, chest drain and nasogastric tube insertions while I was asleep? I really don’t want to be awake for those things. Can you wear undies in ICU? God, I hope so. How would I cope seeing Dave looking like absolute death after a transplant? How could I go to the hospital to visit him everyday… seemingly forever… without falling in a heap myself? Why are physios always so bloody good looking – is it part of their selection criteria? Thank goodness I’m not allergic to morphine.
It’s got me feeling… that my friend is pretty special to me. That she has super guts to step off the cliff and see what happens – will she soar on the new balloons? I hope so! I get the feeling that her husband is the epitome of love and support. That her family and friends have had a rare reminder to show her how much we value her and how she has enriched our lives. That she deserves tip top health and a long and happy life after this epic ordeal. I’m looking forward to meeting her for the first time face to face – what a moment that will be! I’m feeling like I really don’t know what this has been like for them from the inside because I’m not part of the transplant club and neither is Dave, we haven’t had to take the leap of faith off the cliff yet. My limited insight puts things into perspective. My epiphany of Friday morning: life is way too short to eat burnt toast. I’m feeling apprehensive about my future, Dave’s future, our future. If? When? How?
All these things and more!
I’ve tried to walk a mile in her shoes and now my feet hurt. Right now I can slip off her shoes but she can’t. Instead she is walking, walking around ICU with her entourage. Soon she will ditch the entourage (even if they are hot physios) and before she knows it she will be running along the beach with her fur kid. Keep your eyes on the prize, my friend.