November 13, 2013

The First Offer, The First Dry Run

Pulmonary Rehab Day (and night) #26

"We're gonna need a montage...a sports training montage..."

If you know what that's from, then you know why it's been going through my head lately. The days in rehab are beginning to blur together, especially as many of them are two-parters with lunch and nap in the break. I am getting stronger, noticeably, beyond what I thought could be achieved in such a short period of time. But there's still a long way to go to a picture of health.

Yesterday, a small group of us were chatting together after our workouts and we noted that of the "class" we came in with at the top of October, only three of us seem to be left, Rodney and Sean's absences combined with rumour signalling that they got their transplants and are now in the hospital. (We should see them resurface shortly sans oxygen tubes!) Mary Francis, James, and I looked around at 1:30 and realized that we didn't know any of the other people wearing oxygen - they've all come into the program after us. In such a short amount of time, we've become the old-timers -- at least as far as pre-transplant life is concerned.

But that won't last long. We each of us will soon be transplanted ourselves, as we are all on the list. I confess I didn't realize how short a list Duke really keeps until last night. I'd just finished the first half of dinner and was awaiting the rice to be ready, watching bad Tuesday-night, 'Murica! Fuck yeah! TV (Agents of SHIELD), when my phone rang.

"Hi, Cris. This is Sandy, one of the coordinators...we have an offer for you. How far are you from the hospital? If you can make it by 9, please check in at Duke Main Admissions." dot dot dot After a few more details, we hung up and I knocked on the door to Mom's bedroom, where she was also watching 'Murica! Fuck yeah! TV (Biggest Loser).

"Mom? Hey, I don't think we're gonna be able to watch our new favorite show tonight at 10." (Naked Vegas - you've got to check it out.)

"Why not??"

"Because we'll be at the hospital." Sly smile.

Mom went bonkers. Given her essential tremor, the adrenaline surge was like throwing a palsy grenade at her; I almost forced her to pull over and let me drive. Is this what husbands act like when a woman announces it's time?

As it turns out, it was a dry run. You hurry up and do a bunch of labwork and tests and then sit there for several hours while they make the final determination whether the lungs are actually good. In this case, they were not. That's OK - there's plenty of time and clearly I'm at the top of the list for my blood type and body size.

One take-away from last night, though, is that because I can't have anything by mouth from that phone call onward, I will, next time, slug down an Ensure just to make sure there's nutrition going in and I will also take the few minutes to shower and shave, because if it's a go, there's no telling when I'll next see a shower!

There will be another call soon, I'm sure. It is to my advantage to practice meditation, enhance my calm, and be the example I wish to set. I have no doubt this dry run was as it should be and the next call will be as it should be, too. They will not implant lungs that are not 100% ready to sustain a second life.

Last night I was reminded: Duke has my back.

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