I was admitted to the hospital last Friday due to yet another pneumothorax, or in layman’s terms, a collapsed lung, ugh. After more than four of these, you’d think I’d be used it! So, after a chest tube and two days in the hospital it has re-inflated, and I’m good to go, with one exception, I was also diagnosed with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) AND still tested positive for Type-A Influenza.
I started treatments which have prolonged my stay in the hospital for 5 more days! Yippee! I’m thankful though, had I not been admitted last Friday chances are I would have turned right around and driven four hours back to be re-admitted on Sunday. So, it was very providential that I had a collapsed lung!
While in the hospital in the Pulmonary Unit, you are encouraged to walk as much as you can. Today I walked a mile and I’m going for more tomorrow. As a lung transplant patient, you are VERY grateful that you can! However, this unit has pulmonary patients that are in various stages of health. Some are waiting on a lung transplant, some are post-transplant and others are freshly out of ICU following transplant, and have been moved to this unit, which also serves as a step-down unit. Then there are those of us dealing with rejection issues, and other issues, that need treatment, like me.
As I walked the halls today I saw folks struggling just to take a few steps. Some were old, some were really young. Most were on oxygen to some degree. Everyone I saw caused my mind to flash back to my days before and immediately after my double-lung transplant in July 2008.
If you’ve never struggled to breathe you probably can’t relate to what someone whose lung function is severely compromised is going through. Let me just say, you feel like you are suffocating. Or perhaps drowning. It robs you of energy, stamina and strength. You constantly feel like you might die from whatever is going on. You gasp for breath with every step.
I remember fighting to take a walk around the hallway right after transplant. You use a walker, or a rolling walker, you might be on oxygen. You have multiple chest tubes hanging out of you. You feel very fragile with each step. You have to make your body press on. Everything in your mind is screaming, “I can’t do this!” Everything in your heart desperately wants to keep going.
What I took away from seeing these patients in various stages of their journey is this; I will NEVER take for granted how far the Lord has allowed me to come in the past 5 plus years. It brought back SO many memories, and here are just a few.
I can remember struggling just to get dressed.
I can remember thinking, “There is no way I can even walk today.”
I remember the hot summer, and how it robbed you of even more oxygen.
I remember struggling for air just to eat a meal.
I remember the only comfort came when I was lying in bed, being still.
I remember constantly being on oxygen.
I remember dreaming that I was running, or hiking, or doing normal daily activities. Then I would wake up to reality.
I remember wondering if the pager was EVER going to go off with the news that it was my turn!
But the best part is, I remember the day we received “the call” that there were, as the hospital put it, “A pair of beautiful lungs for me,” and that it was time to come in for surgery.
Every now and then, different parts of the journey flash across my mind. Today was one of those days.
Today, I remembered, and was humbled yet again.