So You're Getting on the Transplant List
Last updated: July 2021
So you're getting on the transplant list?
Those were the first words out of my nurse practitioner's mouth! They felt like a punch to the stomach and set me back. The gravity of what I was setting out to do finally hit home!
I was diagnosed with end-stage COPD, 7 years ago at the age of 45. My health plummeted like falling through a wet paper bag and the first couple of years were a blur. My COPD clinic manager arranged an appointment with one of the top respirologists to help with my care. He mentioned that a transplant was an option at some point if I wanted to go down that road.
So I went about the next year telling people that hopefully I can get my life back someday and get new lungs through a transplant. Boy was that a mistake, as every time I ran into someone it was the same question: "Did you get on the list yet?"
Push it to the back
To be totally honest, I couldn't even read the transplant procedure or watch videos from the hospital's website as it triggered my anxiety. I live alone, my children are grown and busy leading their own lives. My family will step up and help me out for sure, this is just my brain firing in all directions. The solution was your typical male response, and just push it to the back of my brain and not think about it.
Doctors and tests
So because of COVID-19 and the pandemic, all my appointments in 2020 were canceled. So as society started to get a handle on how to function in this new world, we rebooked the tests that were passed over. On my second visit, I met the new doctor added to the specialist team that came from the transplant program. He will now be the leader of my medical team and has set a plethora of tests to ready me for transplant consideration.
Most of the tests he scheduled I had in the past. Going to get blood work, CT scans, X-rays, walk tests, and breathing tests were familiar, so they were not a trigger for anxiety. The next wave of tests was all new to me and some of them frightened me. I tried to get some info from the booking secretary as to whether I even needed one test. It didn't seem relative to my lungs or major health tests. Her response was, "That is not for 2 months from now at least." Ok, push that to the back in the "don't think about that file."
So the tests that could be completed by my local MD would save me driving into the big city hospital, so that was helpful. I knocked on the locked door as directed and the cheerful voice from behind hollered "This must be Jeff!". The office was completely empty so she had me sit in the chair in the waiting room. That's when she said those words that were a gut punch, "Congratulations, so you're getting on the transplant list!"
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." - H.P. Lovecraft
"Breathe free my friends"
Jeffrey J Collings
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