I remember making phone calls to family, friends, work--trying to talk through tears and hyperventilation. Racing thoughts--was I ready for this, could I shower (who knew at the time that would be last real shower for many mos), I wouldn't get to say good-bye to my son--he was in school, were the pilots ready, was I ready (yes I know I said this). So many thoughts...
Well the pilots were ready, the flight went seamless, the cab was waiting at the airport, and I was still a bit shell shocked. God had His hand in it all. I got to Wisc around 230-3pm Mich time.
The staff on the floor (B 4/5) at U of Wisc were very welcoming and that helped my nervousness. I saw many providers involved in transplant care. One of the cardiothoracic fellows informed me that the clamshell incision is the worse incision of all a person could get. Fantastic, I'm really going to go through with this.
I tried to get info on my donor from everyone but they either didn't know or were very tight lipped. The same fellow did inform me the lungs were coming from Central Wisconsin and they were 'young lungs'--I asked to clarify their definition of young and got under 40.
I didn't go into surgery until about 8 pm Wisc time (they are 1hour behind Michigan).
After a very long stretcher ride, I got down to the OR suites and there were like 10 people lined up along the wall all looking at me, I didn't know who they were but I knew they were a part of this transplant. I also got to finally meet the cardiothoracic surgeon who was going to do the surgery (I had met the other CT surgeon during my initial transplant eval). Dr Maloney--he wasn't very big, but he had a sense of humor. The OR RN also had a sense of humor, he was had a bit of a punk flavor so I jokingly asked him to play Backstreet Boys in the OR and he quickly declined.
Who knew that the next 3 mos would be a roller coaster. I had some very serious post-op complications with the right donor lung and acquired a life threatening bacteria (had to be on IV antibiotics for 3mos). I had a handful of returns to the hospital as an inpatient the most serious being 11-17 when I had to go back to surgery to have the right lower lobe removed.
It was devastating, I thought we would be going home and had to have another major surgery. We did finally get to go home 2 days before Thanksgiving accompanied with a PICC line and chest tubes but we were home.
It has been a very difficult 6mos, but today I celebrate I am alive and my lung function has tripled. I imagine the donor family is still grieving and I will continue to push myself as I was given a gift while someone lost theirs.