Saturday, 17 May 2014

Abort! Abort! Abort!

As you can probably all guess from the fact I am posting, today did not go as planned.

Before I go any further I'd just like to thank everyone for their support and good wishes. It really meant a lot to see how many people were willing me to do well. Some of you prayed, some of you cried, most of you crossed something or other and a lot did all three. It was really very much appreciated. I'm just sorry it all came to nothing in the end.

It was 03.53 when I became aware of Peter scrabbling out of bed and charging for the study. He reached the phone just as it stopped ringing and he was on his way back to the bedroom when my mobile started ringing. I answered it sounding very much like a bulldog with a mouth full of jelly, well you do at that time of the morning don't you. It took a while for me to realise what the person on the other end of the phone was saying. I remember quite clearly asking her if she had the right person. I then asked which operation it would be and nearly fainted when she said heart and lungs. I was told to get myself together as the ambulance was on the way.

Wide awake I just stared at Peter and then we both started to laugh. I showered and cleaned my teeth. I couldn't eat or drink but was allowed a few sips of water. Peter got on with letting everyone know. I felt rather guilty ringing so early on a Saturday but those that I rang had insisted they wanted to know so we did. I was speaking to my sister when the ambulance arrived and  I was soon on my way. I wasn't that inspired when the driver said to me 'I'm quiet pleased to have a live patient. I usually deal with the organs.' Cheerful I thought, very cheerful. Peter followed behind with all my baggage. Of course with it being a Saturday we got to Papworth very quickly where my driver overshot and had to turn around. It had not been the best journey ever.

I was taken up to Mallard and put in a side room where I was weighed, measured, asked a load of questions and had all the usual tests including the taking of fifteen bottles of blood. I was told that I wasn't in competition with anyone else, however they were also bringing in a lady for heart transplant so if the lungs were not good enough at least the heart would not be wasted. I was then told there would be a delay as the donor hospital had an emergency come in and had to wait for a theatre slot to retrieve the organs. They expected me to be going down sometime between nine and ten so we settled in for a long wait. At nine I was taken for a shower and given an antibacterial gel to use all over. I was put into a gown and given some very sexy stockings to wear. White ones to prevent blood clots and red ones so I could walk around without slipping over. I looked such a sight Peter couldn't stop laughing.

By now I was getting excited and started planning all the things I was going to do when I got out. Like going down to Wales and actually walking along the prom. I should have know better.

Then the transplant coordinator, Paul, arrived and he looked really worried. The first thing he said was 'I'm so sorry'. The heart was perfect but the lungs were badly damaged. They had performed CPR on the donor and this has forced the stomach contents up the windpipe and into the lungs where the acid all but destroyed them. This had not show up in the initial tests and it was only when the donor was in theatre and being checked over internally that the problem was discovered. So that was that. I was given a cup of heavily sugared tea and sent home.

There are positives, though it doesn't really feel like it at the moment. Someone will get their new heart. I've also gathered a lot of useful information. Things like don't bother showering because you will have to do it all again once you arrive. And prepared to have people doing strange things like measuring you legs etc, etc.


The most positive thing I've learned is about myself. When it really comes down to it I am one cool cookie. I was calm throughout  and even let them take blood without flinching. Everyone else was falling apart around me but I just sailed serenely on. Even now I can't cry, even though I feel as though the bottom has just dropped out of my world. I guess it will hit me at some point but for now none of it feels real. As it is Diana will be visiting tomorrow as planned and I will be back on work on Monday, life, as they say, goes on. I just hope I'm not in for another sixteen month wait.