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Waiting For A Lung Transplant.

Waiting For A Lung Transplant

After you have been approved for a lung transplant you will begin the process of getting your finances, logistics and plans nailed down.  It is important that you have a plan for arriving at the transplant center less than two hours from your call.  This may mean that you and your caregiver would need to relocate closer to the transplant center.  I believe that relocating would be best even if you live on the edge of the limit.  I cannot imagine missing out on a transplant just because an hour and a half drive turned into two and a half hours because of a traffic accident.

You will need to meet a few requirements before being listed, most of which consist of classes and training for you and your caregiver.  You will need to fully understand what is required of both the patient and the caregiver once the surgery is over.  It will be much easier to understand all of this information before you are in the middle of the surgery process.  You will need to meet all of the pulmonary physical therapy requirements.  These may vary slightly per transplant center.  All consent forms will need to be signed and returned, and financial approval should be received.  When all of the requirements are met, you will be listed. (Requirements may vary based on the procedures of the transplant center you have chosen.)

There is no way of knowing how long you will have to wait for your transplant.  You will be waiting for a donor that matches your blood type, lung size and antibodies.  It will all depend on finding the best match in the available donors.  Years ago the wait for an organ transplant could have been months, but now, once a patient is placed on the list, it could go very quickly.  For patients only needing lungs (one organ), it could be as quick as two weeks.  This is all determined on your body’s needs and the match to the donor.

You will be required to keep your cell phone with you and charged at all times.  As I’m sure you could guess, it would be horrible to miss your chance just because no one could reach you.  It would also be important to keep the gas tank no less than half full at all times as well.  This could save you some valuable time.

While you are waiting for your new lungs, it is important that you remain as healthy as possible, continuing to exercise and take all necessary medications.  You will have regular visits to the clinic, and you will need to inform the transplant center of any hospitalizations or issues that come up.

The stress during this wait time could become very high.  You will need to find ways to relax and keep yourself calm.  It will be hard, but try not to allow yourself to get so wrapped up in the stress of waiting that you miss all of the “heart pictures” that are happening with your family.  This is a precious time.  You have every right to be stressed out, but don’t let it take over and create new problems while you are waiting.  Those few weeks will be over before you know it, and you will be in the middle of a whole different adventure.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.