|Deer in winter on Dalham Estate, Milnthorpe, Cumbria|
Early this month though we were suddenly shocked into the crude reality of the transplant world. One of our friends got her call, being the first of our little group who have been patiently waiting and a friend to many of us with Pulmonary Hypertension; we all waited with baited breath to see how she got on.
|Lake Coniston, Cumbria in December|
Unfortunately news unfolded that my friend's transplant was not looking very successful and hence another long, unbearable wait for news for many of us and especially the family. A sleepless night and another day passed, by which time we had begun to absorb that the risks associated with transplant that were described and drummed into us at the outset of our transplant process were indeed very palpable and were unfolding frighteningly before our eyes. I think every possible prayer was said that second evening; every possible positive sentiment, thought, vibe, intention, was sent by friends and strangers alike and in the morning we received the extraordinary and astounding news that a second donor had become available in the night and my friend was given yet another set of new heart and lungs the next day.
Recovery is long and slow for any heart and lung transplant recipient and our friend is now making a very slow recovery and we are all still praying and thinking of her and her family.
For us, it has served to highlight both the worst and the best about transplant. The worst, that it reminded me of why I was filled with horror and dread at being told I needed a transplant - it has somehow become 'normalised' for me now, while waiting all this time, when really it is a long, long way and far removed from 'normal', with very high risks involved: the best, that miracles really happen thanks to some wonderful donors and their families, strengthening my hope and belief that my transplant will come when the time is right and be a success.
It has also made me think of the two donors involved and their families, who will be grieving this Christmas and I hope their families can in time take some comfort in the fact that their loved one has saved lives.
It is Christmas time and not too late if you haven't already to do some good and sign up to be an organ donor and tell your family: