Subject

 

Subject: Lung Transplant
Date: Fri. 23 Nov 2001 10:29:35 - 0500
From: "James Hope" <jhope@hartcom.net>
 
911 was on Tuesday. No civilian flying for three days (if a lung had come available I couldn't get to Richmond). Just like advertised.

Sunday 10 PM, I get a call, a lung is available, do I want it. "Hell Yes." What is nearest airport? Anderson ,South Carolina. Will call you back.

Sunday 1130 PM. " It will be a Lear Jet at 0130 AM, tail number------, pilots name------. Who is flying with you?" I planned on flying by myself and having the wife drive up. "No way, If you don't have someone with you, they won't take you because you are on oxygen. We will have to get someone else." From Naomi, NO!, I'll go. See you at 0130. What do I pack, summer or winter? Baby ,I don't know, just give me shorts ,socks and tennis shoes and maybe house slippers, they provide pajamas. If you don't have the right things take the checkbook and master card and buy!

Called my stepson, Dwain at 2400. He said he would take us to the airport and drive our car up the next day.

0150 The Learjet arrives. 50 minutes after takeoff we arrive Richmond where an ambulance waits to take me to McGuire VA medical center.

0400 Monday September 17. Surgeons hooked up IVs in both sides of neck and arm. About all I remember. I'm worried about Naomi, No car, no place to sleep, no place to store her bags. She was a rock. She told me they took me to surgery about 0700, the lung came about 10AM, and I was back in intensive care by 1330, on the ventilator.
 
Lost rest of Monday and Tuesday. Awake and aware on ventilator, of course can't talk . Wrote notes. Forgot about the spinal block (epidural) they put in my back, Big machine on wheels. Got me out of bed and set in chair probably Thursday. OFF VENTILATOR. Physical Therapy came in to walk me. I push a wheel chair with oxygen in it. Someone pushes the IV pole and epidural, I'm hooked to a catheter and a lung drain bag . When I'm in bed and getting in and out I'm hooked to an electric monitor that gives my oxygen saturation, blood pressure, heart beat- - it's like an electro-cardiogram with a monitor at the nurse's station. Anyway wires and
tubes going everywhere. Major job determining and arranging for which way to turn. Invariably someone would forget the catheter, My scream got their attention though.

Dwain drove the car up and brought Naomi's sister to stay with her. Wanted $450 to fly home. Got him a rental car for $45.

Fall back on Saturday the 22nd, Try to get out of bed, heart beat goes from 59 to 160, had arrhythmia and blood pressure fluctuates. I didn't feel a thing abnormal, but the nurses came rushing in, put me back into bed and started lots of IV heart medicine.

Monday 24, able to walk

Tuesday 25, able to walk with O2. 1700 leave ICU for ward.

Wednesday 26 Off O2. Did 10 min on stationary bike,12 min on treadmill - NO O2. Walked 15 minutes 3PM,walked 20 min

A
t 8PM Thursday 27 the O2 had been discontinued for two days, feel good. The doctor said I could take a shower and have a laxative. Naomi is going home, I will fly in a couple of days.

Friday 28 15 min walk, bike 17 min at 2 resistance, treadmill 17 min at 1 mph 330 PM BOWEL MOVEMENT. First one since 17 Sep. Shower, wash hair, BM . How could anything be better?

Saturday 29. Naomi home. Had daughter and granddaughter stay night with her. Liz was afraid because Pa Pa was not there. Let dog into protect them.

SUNDAY 30 set Back on O2.

October 1 Monday  Bronchostomy. Sent biopsies off. 2- 4 day delay for results. Friday and Saturday I was really up. I was going to be home by October 15th and  would be able to make reunion. Had Naomi call Ollie, Jim Colvig called me. On top of the world.
October 3rd. Back to ICU. Crazy notes. O2 mask on good saturation (sats), have to cough, pull O2 off with suction stick. Tied up. Ask nurse for mirror TIED UP. The doctor called Naomi at work about 4PM , told her I had to go back on ventilator, I had pneumonia in new lung. Dwain drove her up.

October 4 to 9 on ventilator. Naomi called Jimmy I guess because he came to see me. His Sq. was on alert 3 days off 1 back on for 3 more. His boss let him have time off to come see me. Gave me all the antibiotics in the world and cleared the pneumonia, I have no immunity. Wouldn't let Jimmy kiss me because I was Pure and he was Unclean. Think it pissed him off, but I'm taking no chance on re infection.

On the 16th I was going good on physical therapy Off O2 on 25.

Came home on October 30th.

Worst time in my life when they put me back on ventilator. Wasn't sure I was going to make it. One night at 8:55 PM felt the warm hand of God on me: knew my grandkids were saying their prayers and asking God to look out for Pa Pa. When Naomi came in the next morning I told her I was going to make it.