Third time (un)lucky
Posted by Oli on Saturday 28th July, 2007
I’m not entirely sure what day it is today. I’m fairly confident it’s Saturday because there’s more sport and less Richard and Judy on TV, but as far as I’m aware it could just as easily be Tuesday week.
I’ve suffered something of a lack of sleep over the last few days and my body clock is so far out of synch I could be in Australia. All thanks to my third aborted transplant call.
Aborted call, false alarm, non-go-ahead shout, call it what you will, it was my third foray down to Harefield in the middle of the night to be pricked, plugged and prepped for an op that never came.
This one was, however, at least mildly entertainingly different, being as I was a “back-up” recipient for the first time in my 3 calls. The previous two times it has happened, I’ve been right ready to receive the lungs when it was decided they were no good. This time, I was second in line to someone waiting (at another hospital) for both heart and lungs, which obviously come best as a package. Should there have been anything wrong with the heart or should there have been any reason the other recipient was unable to go ahead with the operation, I would have received the lungs.
This meant a very different thought process for me from the last times I was on ward F East, nervously waiting to be told if they were good enough or not. This time, I was convinced from the moment I spoke to the T-C, Julie, at just after 11pm that it would not be my night. Which lead, inevitably, to a VERY boring 5 hour wait in a room on the ward to be told that I wouldn’t be heading to theatre.
The saving grace of the whole night was the comforting knowledge that the heart had been fine and the heart and lungs were being transplanted into the original recipient on the list. Not only did it mean that at least someone’s life was being transformed in the early commuter hours of Friday morning, but that the organs of a lost loved one were being put to the greatest use possible and that perhaps in days or weeks to come their family may draw some comfort from that fact.
As it happened, all the whole experience meant for me was an entire night with no sleep whatsoever, which in turn lead to sleeping from 7.30am (when we finally arrived home in the morning on Friday) until 2pm and sitting through the rest of the eternally-dragging day feeling beyond terrible, hardly able to lift myself from the bed to drink some water, let alone contemplate eating or doing anything more energetic like watching TV.
It was pretty horrible, to be honest, and a mark of how much my body now struggles to cope with the unexpected. Without a night’s sleep to rest up and repair some of the daily damage, my body was truly struggling to cope and wasn’t backward in coming forward about it – it was making more than sure I knew about it.
Things are better today, after a sensible night’s sleep, although the tiredness is still pervasive and I could do with a kip every half-hour. I’m sure after another day in bed and another good night’s sleep I’ll be back where I was before.
And at least this time I managed a whole 6 hours at Harefield without mortally offending someone.