I know I’ve been gone a long time. Back in January, I had an acute exacerbation of my COPD. I spent a few days in ICU for the first time in my life and then a few more in a regular room for a total of 10 days. I got out late on the 24th of January and finally got home about 6:30 that night.
Man, it was great to be at home. Cuddled with the crazy dog for a bit, drank a little coffee (decaf) and just chilled with the hubby for a while. Then it was bed at 9:30 for a much anticipated night in my own bed. Until…
The phone rang at 11:30 PM, just a mere 2 hours later. It was one of the doctors at UT Southwestern.
“I think we have a set of lungs. Get up, get dressed and standby.”
Talk about caught off guard. I was supposed to come off the list temporarily to give me time to recuperate from the exacerbation. So we certainly were not expecting that call. Second, I didn’t know what to think or what to feel. I was nervous, pacing the floor, trembling even. To give it one name… terrified.
Thirty minutes later the second call came. “Come to the hospital.”
I know she said more, but I don’t think I heard her. Now everything kicked into high gear, including the level of my terror. I was so scared I don’t even remember part of the trip there.
I won’t bore you with the blow by blow of everything that transpired. The fact is I don’t remember several days of it. I vaguely remember a few individual moments or events here or there in ICU. Especially my husband rescuing me by insisting that they get the #@%^*) BIPAP off of me. It was naturally a very tough time, one of the toughest I have ever faced. I ran more than one poor therapist or others out of the room when I just couldn’t take any more. And from what I’m told it was most definitely not always nicely. I think I might have embarrassed the husband a time or two and that’s tough to do.
Before I knew it they were all expressing their surprise at how rapidly I was progressing. That expected 4-6 week stay turned into 2 weeks. I think that was due in part to how well I was doing and, even though I was in isolation with a now suppressed immune system, they wanted to get me out of there to get me away from all the germs that float through any hospital. I did not argue.
Thank God that one of my sisters had (or manufactured) the opportunity to come and spend some time with me. I have no idea what I would have done without her. I was so sure I could take care of myself when I got home. Boy was I ever wrong! She has been invaluable. Thank, Sis!!!
So it has now been 3 weeks. I feel guilty that I waited such a short time for my lungs after going on the list (25 days) and that I am doing so well when I know other transplant patients are not. I’m walking on my own, doing more and more every day. Yesterday was my second visit to the clinic this week for follow-ups. They are more than pleased over the rapid recovery that is going on.
I know I am blessed. The timing alone should convince anyone of that. The rapid recovery is another blessing. I so look forward to the day when I won’t need to cause so much disruption in the lives of others.
My heart and prayers are with the family on the loss of the generous donor. I will never be able to express the full gratitude that I feel for the gift they gave to me. I haven’t quite come to grips with all that has happened, but there is no doubt that my profound gratitude runs true and deep.
My family, my friends, and all of you are certainly a huge part of this. Your support and your ongoing prayers and well wishes have meant so much. You have sustained me through it all and I am living proof that prayers work and I humbly ask you to continue to pray for the long road I still have ahead of me. Thanks to you all, thank you to God, and thank you to some pretty amazing doctors.
And I have to especially thank my wonderful husband. He has been right there with me step-by-step for the whole past year of struggles. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that he saved my life. I would not even have lived the last year. I would have never sought out the treatment that he pushed me to get. And I most definitely would have never even considered the transplant if not for his love and encouragement. He started the ball rolling that has now brought me to the day that I no longer have to wear oxygen and after the 25th of this month there should be no more breathing treatments. I’ve worn the oxygen so long that it took them several days to convince me I could take it off. Instead they finally just turned it off without telling me until I took the cannula off on my own. This day would have never happened without the other half of my heart. He gave me a second birthday and us a second chance at life.
Now… I know you have heard this before, but I kept ending up in the hospital. We really are getting close on “Michael”. Barring any new issues or problems with the new lungs, it should be out in a very short time. Thank you all for waiting so patiently and hanging in there with me.
Until later, have a great day and Happy Reading!