Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day one of the LT adventure

Many times I went to write something here and just couldn't bring myself to do it.  There were certainly MANY moments of each day that I loved, but so much of it was sucking arse. I didn't want to write that and let that be it!! 

But then came along THE day.

At 3.15am the phone rang last Tuesday morning. I was in a very deep sleep but woke straight away. We’ve had a few deaths and accidents in the family over the years, and the phone calls for these always came around this time. So when the phone rang, I thought either something bad has happened, or it’s lungs.

I didn’t think it was bad so I wasn’t surprised when mum said, “Yes it’s your lungs.”

Dad was deep asleep and mum had to wake him up! He came out disorientated and then I could see he got all excited and gave me a hug after I got off the phone. Mum was still a bit out of it and we all stood there trying to decide what we should do first.

I jumped in the shower while mum and dad packed. I’d had a suitcase packed ready in my car for over a year.

Dad decided to stay home to look after things there and join us a few days later once I was conscious again!

Mum and I left around 4.15am.  My parents live near Echuca (Bamawm) and Nicole the LT coordinator wanted us there about 7.30am.  We were both feeling calm and making jokes. She drove so I was able to text people. Quite a lot of people either are night owls or have their phones on at night – hahaha! And the texts starting firing back….they were wonderful to receive so I kept reading them out as I received them.

In between there were times mum and I were quiet - I looked out at the window and tried to stay present and enjoy the landscape outside as daylight started to wake up the world.

A cruisy trip until we reached the merger onto the Hume Highway just after Wallan. Stand still traffic. After about twenty minutes and listening to the radio trying to work out what was going on and what to do – mum decided to ring triple zero. We established a cow had been on the freeway, then shot (we still don’t know if someone actually hit it?) and the traffic should start moving shortly. Unreal!! Poor cow I say. Mum says, “stuff the cow”!! Hahaha!!

The traffic still wasn’t moving – discussed the option of a policeman trying to squeeze in to get to us to try and get us a path out. But then they rang back again to say traffic is definitely on the move….yippee! By then, sister Jo was already at the Alfred, so I was texting her and the CF coordinator with traffic updates!

We finally get to emergency, and Jo meets us. Have a chest X-ray, then Nicole the LT coordinator who is running on barely any sleep for a long time, takes us up to 5 east (respiratory ward) to wait in the treatment room. As I already have my PICC in (from still doing HITH -Hospital-In-The-Home) I am given antibioticss and my first dose of anti-rejection medication.

There - more waiting! My surgery kept being delayed – it was 11.30am to eventually being about 4.30pm after a few changes. Could have run into a herd of cows and it wouldn’t have been a problem! LOL!!

Sue arrived shortly after we were up at 5 east. She got my laptop out and started reading out all my messages for me. I was still very calm and composed but there were tears coming from other directions.

I loved knowing what those messages were before I went in – they gave me so much strength knowing how much love was behind me.

Finally it was time to be wheeled into theatre and I said goodbye to the girls. I’d also spoken to my sister Di and brother Mike had left a message too – so I’d managed to get a moment with all my siblings…wonderful.

Sad when I left them but Jane the LT social worked bubbled away trying to distract me.

More waiting! It was very busy. I believe the lady who donated my lungs, also donated her heart and was also being received at the Alfred. So at least a few transplants were going on .

A dude comes up and says “what side is your defibrillator” – and I’m like “what”?

Wrong patient Jane says – this is a lung transplant! We start laughing and she says I better stay right here so you get the right organ!!

I’m wheeled into the surgery room at about 4.10pm. It takes a while to put my epidural in but overall it’s a smooth procedure. Jane was holding me the whole time as I had to sit hunched over.

Then it was time to lie down and I knew I would soon be gone and in the surgeons' trusty hands. I said goodbye to my lungs and thanked them again for everything they had done.


  1. You are absolutely amazing Gen. My heart was in my throat reading this post. I'm so glad you received new lungs, I am excited for your future,how wonderful it will be, all the great things you can do again. And of course spend more time with your beloved Andy.


  2. You have been blessed, Gen, hope you improve in leaps and bounds.


  3. Hi Gen
    you are a mazing.you have been through so much , and still smiling , so very happy everything has run so smoothly for you and your not so much in pain now , thinking of you and smiling, you got your new lungs, life is for the up now, how wonderful for you.be good to see you out and about when the time is right , love xxx
    Debbie , Callan

  4. Meanwhile...the rest of us waited until after midnight for the phonecall that never came from the surgeon when you left the theatre...but as he did such a wonderful job we weren't complaining, put his memory lapse down to exhaustion, and a phonecall from Joanne to the hospital put our minds at rest enough to go to bed and sleep