Story time! I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned this on my blog before. I was going to write one post about it, but soon realized that there was way too much back story for it to be in one single post. So I’ll be doing a series instead.
Coming up on five years ago – January 13, 2013 – My dad had a life-saving bilateral lung transplant. My dad was sick for as long as I can remember. He had a disease called COPD. He never smoked a day in his life, but was the victim of heavy secondhand smoke. Coupled with the fact that he was an identical twin that was born premature, his lungs were never in good shape.
Oh yea, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him being a twin either. There’s actually thirteen children in his family – two died in infancy/childhood and one of my uncles passed when I was in high school of cancer.
ANYWAY, back to the topic. Dad was in and out of hospitals more times than I could possibly count. He had to quit his welding job before I was in school and he became a janitor at a hospital for a little while. He was on oxygen since I was born and progressively grew to need it more and more until he couldn’t be without it by the time I was entering High School. On numerous occasions, my brothers and I would have to stay a week or so at Grandma’s because dad was in the specialist hospital two hours away with breathing difficulty and pneumonia.
Fast forward to November 21, 2011. My dad took a turn for the worse. He had been in the hospital nearly a month already. The doctors had diagnosed him with stage 4 – aka end stage – COPD. There wasn’t much they could do. They had convinced us that letting him go was the best option. The only other thing that might help was putting a tracheostomy in and putting him on the ventilator long-term, which would require him to be put in a home. I was only twenty years old and my youngest brother was just entering high school. My dad wouldn’t thrive in a home and we knew it. We watched him and prayed over him and people came and prayed over all of us too. Eventually, later that evening we had decided that we couldn’t do it. It wasn’t his time yet. So he had a tracheostomy and was put on the ventilator. Amazingly, he did get better. We spent that following Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year in the hospital with him before he finally got to come home. The doctors told him his only way out was getting a transplant. He was destined to become sick again and again, and be intubated again and again.
So my parents set off to find a transplant team.