Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The false alarm

Man, I had such a boring weekend...

Let's go back to Saturday. Bonnie and I spent the day at the Toronto Zoo with her son Wayne and his girlfriend Kim. We had a fantastical day.

I was psyched to see so many family members; they looked so happy in their cages. 

That night after Wayne and Kim had gone back to their hotel, and I had just crawled into bed, my phone rang.

I looked at it and saw an Ontario number. Immediately my heart skipped a beat. 

Before my hand could reach out and pick it up a truckload of thoughts ping-ponged around my head. Could this be it??

I picked it up and heard the most incredible thing. As I was listening to the woman on the other end, I heard Cletus open his big fat mouth.

"We have lungs for you."

I hung up and screamed for Bonnie. Lungs, lungs!!! I immediately called Brad. I could barely articulate. Lungs, something about lungs, I have to go get my lungs. The phone tree began.

Wayne and Kim came back and threw me into their vehicle. I was a raving lunatic the entire way to the hospital. I wouldn't shut up and I couldn't stop laughing. No tears, just laughter. What was funny? Not sure. Everything.

We got to the ER and checked in. To my dismay there were no balloons and fireworks. No champagne anywhere. What the heck? Did these people not understand??  

I was x-rayed right away and then taken to the transplant unit. Next came IV, blood work and an ECG.

I began fasting. We got word that nothing would happen that night. Likely morning. I sent Bonnie, Wayne and Kim home. I wanted them to get a good night sleep as the next day would be nuts.

They left and I was given my very first dose of anti-rejection meds. I slept that night, but woke up a lot. My head was burning. I figured that side effect was totally worth it for new blowers.

The next morning seemed to fly by. I drifted in and out of sleep. I wanted coffee soooo bad, but figured new windbags was more important for some reason. The fasting continued.

Bonnie, Wayne and Kim showed up and I was told the surgery was delayed and I would be able to eat until 1-1:30 that afternoon. I plowed through walls to get to Starbucks. I decided, as it would be my last coffee with the crusty lungs, I would go big and order a grande. For non-Starbucks lovers (is that possible??), that's a size larger than the tall. Ya, wild times.

Next I was told the surgery wouldn't happen until the next day. I asked if that meant I could go out for a bit and got a yes. So, we decided to go to Ikea.

I mean, who doesn't check out of the hospital to go to Ikea before a double-lung transplant?

After that, Wayne and Kim dropped us back at the hospital on their way to the airport. Bonnie and I hung out until that evening when the Hamiltons took her home to be with the G-man. Then the Hamiltons came back to be entertained. Kristy (another post-transplant wannabee) also stopped by. It was a great semi-distraction (nothing can fully take your mind off potential new blowers).

I had to fast again at midnight. As I am diabetic, they gave me a sugar solution through my IV to avoid a low.

The last I heard, it was looking like 7 am for surgery. I was woken at 5 am to take another dose of anti-rejection meds. Pamela came to visit at 6:30 am. She brought a disposable camera as I didn't have one (and needed it in case surgery was at 7). Somehow, back in June when I thought I bought one, I actually bought 3 rolls of film. 

Don't ask.

She also went to work cooling off my face with wet wash cloths, which eventually turned into an icepack.

Later on I was told the OR was booked for 5 pm. I spent the day chatting with Bonnie, my roommate and others who dropped by.

3 PM

The surgeon walked in. He uttered the word "unfortunately". As soon as that came out I wanted to shove it back in. Pure dread. It was a huge disappointment and I did feel let down. I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel a crushing blow. However...

I soon learned that one of the lungs was viable; it would save someones life. 

Later that night I received a message from the daughter of a physio friend. Reading her words gave me an unbelievable cold chill.

" mom Pat is in surgery right now getting the healthy lung."

All the waiting, the wondering, the excitement, the was all worth it. I would do it 100 times if it meant someone's life was going to be saved.

The entire experience was beyond imagination. It was extremely intense and I can't wait to do it again. Perhaps next time a chainsaw and duct tape could be used and I'll wake up without the crusty ones.

A million thank you's to all of you. I've read every word of love, support and encouragement, and once again can't believe how lucky I am. Life is good.

P.S. Don't forget to consider organ donation and maybe even bring it up in conversation tomorrow. It really is the most selfless and priceless gift you can give.


  1. I think you should order a venti next time! ;)

  2. so sorry to hear it was a dry run but congrats to your physio friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

  3. how awesome for the lung to have saved someone you have a connection with! you are such an inspiration!! love you!! my gift to you is Tia entertaining you with her texts :) xoxoxo

  4. You are SUCH an amazing inspiration and your positive thinking is remarkable. :-) Next YOU will get your lungs!!

  5. Here's to you getting the next set of lungs! Lots of prayers for you and your friends and family! I admire you for your graciousness in not being the recipient this time.

  6. You are amazingly selfless, Jess. Been thinking about you a lot lately, helps me to see the best in every day- you are certainly an inspiration!

  7. Thinking of you! How amazing to know that they still were able to use one lung for someone! You are such an inspiration and here's to hoping your perfect lungs will come soon !

  8. Thanks everyone! The truth is I cancelled the surgery to go to a party. Priorities people.