Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A typical Thursday afternoon. It was fairly nothing weather, not raining but not sunny. I had managed to haul myself out of bed and away from the computer in time for my friend’s arrival. We sat and chatted, watched rubbish on TV and she cooked lunch whilst I rested. Whilst discussing the politics and moral dilemmas featured in the highly thrilling daytime soap doctors, we were rudely interrupted by my phone going. Dutifully my friend lept up to retrieve said phone and raced it to me. My heart skipped a beat, Harefield’s number was flashing up. “Hello Emily? Where about are you?” I confirmed I was at home and with someone, whilst inside desperately wanting to demand to know what she wanted. “We may have some organs for you.”

In true Emily style I promptly burst into tears and was able to say anything vaguely useful or coherent to a)the somewhat confused coordinator and b)my increasingly alarmed friend. I managed to babble that I would leave as soon as possible and hung up, wailing instructions at my friend to phone A at work and tell him Harefield had rung. I phoned my mother, who panicked and turned to my sister asking if she should drive. Bewildered my sister confirmed this would indeed be a sensible thing to do right now and they set off in the direction of my house.

I had regained some calm at this point and an excited energy was filling me. My friend and I raced round the flat (as fast as tubing and lungs would allow) gathering together essentials, filling the oxygen cylinder and putting them by the door. As we paused for breath the phone rang again. The minute I saw Harefield’s number I knew it was bad news, they don’t ring twice. The coordinator confirmed my suspicions the minute I picked up; the donor family had changed their mind and withdrawn consent. The wall I was staring at became blurry as I swallowed hard and tried to accept this news like an adult but I was absolutely devastated, this chance had been taken away before it even began. I mustered up a few words of thanks to the coordinator and sat down in tears. At that moment my mother arrived, so I quickly explained the bad news through my now somewhat noisy sobs. She was brilliant as always, took it all in her stride and whilst hugging me tightly gently reminded me that somewhere someone was going through the greatest torture imaginable having just lost their loved one. Once I had calmed down we phoned Harefield back just to go over what had just happened. I asked if there was any chance the family might change their mind again and the coordinator said it was highly unlikely, and anyway the retrieval team only had until 5 to get the lungs.

As we sat in a daze, reflecting on what had just happened, my dad and Abby arrived and A confirmed he was leaving work anyway and would be home shortly. Frustration building, I disappeared into my pink sanctuary (also known as the bedroom, A really is a patient man allowing me to pick the paint colours) and sat and blogged my vexations. Having done so and feeling slightly better I rejoined my family in the lounge, where my mother suggested we go shopping as we now had a full cylinder of oxygen plus wheelchair just waiting to be used. I voted against the suggestion because it was still only 4pm and I couldn’t bear to leave the house till after 5; even though the coordinator had said there was virtually no chance I just felt it would be tempting fate.

At approximately 4.30pm the phone rang again. “Emily are you sitting down”. Untruthfully I said I was even though the minute I had seen the number on the screen I had leapt onto my feet and started pacing around by the fireplace. “The family have changed their mind, the retrieval is going ahead and we need you to get here as soon as possible”. This time I was calmer and managed to finish the conversation in a normal manner before heading straight for the door.

As we drove down the motorway I began to feel waves of anxiety rising, the adrenalin causing my heart to thump wildly and my oxygen was as high as I dared have it without risk of it running out before we got there. I demanded my mum and Lucy talk about something to try and distract me so inexplicably a long debate about past holidays – where we had been and what year – started, and we relayed fond memories of frolicking on the beach under blue skies and sunshine. We reached Harefield in good time and quickly settled on the ward, joined by my dad Abby and A some minutes later. Back on high flow oxygen with no danger of it running out I was much calmer and we sat and chatted whilst bloods and temperature were taken. I showered in surgical scrub (which was pink woohoo!) and donned a highly attractive pair of paper knickers and a hospital gown. On return to the room I was greeted by the surgeon who was reading my results. He explained my temperature and white cell count were both slightly elevated so he was waiting for my CRP (inflammation markers) result to come back before deciding if I was well enough for the operation. The minutes dragged on, we all sat and attempted to chat normally but I am fairly sure everyone’s attention was focused towards the door. The surgeon returned confirming I had a CRP of 16. This was a stonkingly low result for me (they were dancing around 100 the last time I got a call) which I explained pleadingly. After a few minutes contemplation he spoke “I think we should go ahead”. Suddenly I realised what he meant, the organs had been checked, they were ok, this was actually going to happen.

I had half an hour to prepare myself before going down to theatre and spent the time with my mobile glued to my hand, phoning a few people, speaking to various relatives, and texting one or two others. Wrist bands were attached, rings removed and consent papers brought in to be signed. I also realised at this point I had never legally verified my will, so scribbled down my parents as executors and got two nurses to counter sign it as witnesses. In what seemed like no time at all the trolley appeared at the door and I was on my way to theatre. I parted from my family with as purposefully loud and confident “see you later” as I could muster, before I was taken through the double doors and into the operating theatre.

To be continued.

27 comments:

Sarah Milne said...

Can't wait to read more Em! You should publish a biog. lots of love as always Sarah and William xx

Anonymous said...

So when is your book due out. You'd be great! Think about it! You have a real skill!

Pauline said...

Excellent reading! Think I know how it felt (sort of). So glad you got through it.

Lots of love

Pauline

Lorraine said...

OMG - what an ordeal. Can't wait for the next exciting installment.... much love, xx

swissfriend said...

Emily, your Mum was surely right about the Black Thursday but even the worst days have a silver lining as you were to find out. I will never forget reading your blog and feeling your despair; the emotional rollercoaster for all of you that day must have been incredible. I have never prayed so hard in my life as in the half hour following the family's first decision.

It's so great that you are back in the saddle, writing your own blogs and generally living life. Keep on taking great care of yourself.
Hugs,
Janet

Flipper said...

I am not unconvinced that you haven't received the revived lungs of the late Barbara Cartland (they would match your type for pink, spangle and frou-frou -ness).

I await the next installment, where the dashing surgeon returns to his now slightly less breathless patient...

from Philippa xxx

Kat said...

Oh my goodness! This is such an exciting story...even if I do know the ending (well, not ending as such...but you know whtat I mean!)! What an stressful day that must have been for you all, filled with so many ups and downs!
I was sitting on a bus into Kingston with Char and Jess when Char received a text from Lucy telling her you'd been taken into theatre for the transplant - we all got very excited (not helped by a reasonable amount of alcohol consumed previously...) and started talking and squealing very loudly, so pretty much everyone on the bus knew what was happening!
Looking forward to the next installment! Love Kat xxx

inga cheale said...

hi emily
wow excellent reading and can not wait for the next chapter.i am so happy for you.hugs and kisses to you xx sloppy kisses from daisy and murphy xxx

inga and family xx

tea can wait.... said...

Hurry up woman. Stop gadding about with the new lungs. Typical. I'm trying to avoid cooking dinner and I have no new installment to read.

Great to see you posting again, hope to catch up at some point.

xxx

Jayne said...

Oops,

I should have said that the above post was from me.. Jayne xxx

annemac101 said...

You are such a good writer Emily can't wait for the next installment ,I still say you should get your blogg published if the jades and coleens of this world can turn their frivilous lifes into a book yours would certainly be a best seller. Keep on getting your strength back
best wishes Annex

liz - (the one you don't know) said...

Truly fantastic writing. Still can't believe you (and your poor family!) managed to get through all that. Thank you for feeling able to relive it all too. Putting my life into perspective, as always. Avidly awaiting part 2...

Anonymous said...

WOW
I don't even know you Em, but you have just made me cry. YOU GO GIRL! I wish you all the luck in the world - you can take on anything now you have your new lungs.

Anonymous said...

WOW
I don't even know you Em, but you have just made me cry. YOU GO GIRL! I wish you all the luck in the world - you can take on anything now you have your new lungs.

Anonymous said...

Emily feeling soo emotional for you -your journey from transplant call onwards......can only reflect on Rachs call too and all mixed emotions, tears, prayers and hope too...........

Look forward to reading rest of your blog- sure every minute detail stick in your mind etc.

(((hugz)) ro you Emily xxxxxx
Thinking of you Elaine Rach and family xxxxxx

nikkinoodles said...

Like an episode of Holby City but infinitely more important.

Can't wait to hear more, Em.

xx

Anonymous said...

*loads upon loads upon loads upon loads and loads of pink lined hugs from America* You are a true soldier!

You make me proud to be a CF/transplant patiant! You give us a good... no wait.. GREAT name!

I am so happy you finally got your new breathers!! I was so worried towards the end of the wait.

-breath_seeker-

Pip said...

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Pip X

Josette Falzon said...

My my..what a touching story. Can't wait to read more. You should really consider publishing a book. I'm sure it will sell well with all your fans. Can't wait to read more.

Love

Jos (Malta)

Anonymous said...

I am so looking forward to reading the next "chapter". I definitely think you should write a book, it would be amazing, and also do a lot for organ donation. Good Luck.
Beth

debbie said...

Just Amazing the worst and best day of your life rolled into one, just fantastic Emily.. your doing fab. too

Anonymous said...

As a faithful reader of yoru blog for a year now I am teary eyed and covered with goosebumps as I read your recent installments. Thank you for allowing all of your readers to share in this experience. I am 28w/cf and find strength in the way you handle every situation with such courage and grace, you continually inspire me, thank you.

Lizzie said...

Ooohhh so exciting to get the way it happened from you! Can't wait for the next installment. I know others have said it but you truely should publish your blog, youhave suh an amazing story and more than adequate ;-) writing skills hehe.
Lizzie xxx

MoO said...

I am totally inspired. Grace loves to frolic on the beach, I only hope she continues to frolic in your ever amazing footsteps.

Lots of love MoO xx

misdee said...

Oh Em, i have got back today frm Harefield, and am reading this holding back tears, as after actually meeting you today this seems eons ago that i was waiting for news via Emmie.

It was lovely to finally meet you for a short chat today, and I wil lsay it again, You look amazing! positively glowing.

Lots of pink sparkly hugs heading your way.

Sarah

Rachy said...

Emily I can't see my screen for tears!

Anonymous said...

hi ive just read your blogs and all i can say is i am so happy for you and your friends and family ,brought tears to my eyes.You are a true inspiration to others in your position and i wish you all the best for the future .

andrew