My Double Lung Transplant

Friday, October 2, 2009

Who knew it would be this hard?

Who knew?

Really, but like my spidey senses told me well before I got my tx, I knew at some point I'd have to officially say 'goodbye' to my old life, and that i would have a really difficult time with it.

Is is horrible that my old 'life' connotates 'meds'? B/c that's actually what it is.

Since my tx all my tx meds have lived in a big brown bag on the dining room counter, within reach while i was too weak to go upstairs or my brain was not yet accustomed to/good at remembering just what meds i needed to take and their doses. Tonight, i decided it was time to clean the table off and relocate my meds to my med drawer in my room, and vacate the old ones.

And holy shit, it was kind of hard.

Tossing out my advair (which was new!), septra, singular, azithromycin, 1 tablet of pred from my hospital stay, spiriva etc was easy in and of itself, but when it came to getting rid of the physical plastic stuff - the stuff that tied my to my illness and was essentially, my life line, was hard. I always thought I would rejoice the day I threw out my oxygen tubing, and aerochamber, and accapella, and humidifier thing for my oxygen concentrator, but truth be told: it's enough to bring me to tears. It took me a good hour to sort through my med drawer (and to be honest i had other shit in there like cards, bank statements, pay stubs....but irregardless they were all reminders of my old life). That in and of itself was enough to transport me instantly back to the life i led just 2 months ago.

And i didn't like it. Not one bit.

But at the same i said, the physical ties that remain - the carcasses of my old life - i can't just toss out for some reason. All my old meds and PEP mask, and other stuff are in a big brown bag. My box of extra oxygen tubing is in a brown box. And the farthest they both got was just outside my door. I cannot bring myself to bring them down the stairs and initiate the death of my former life just yet. I cannot be that executioner I need to be. I don't know where they will go in the mean time...but right now it seems too early to say goodbye to the illness that i so badly wanted to be free of.

And then there's my newer aerochamber and the like. Still on my desk with the acapella (which is new too). I doubt i will get rid of those, but i will wash them and put them into my new med bag, in case i ever need to do any temp inhaled treatments (god forbid - but keeping them will save me a fortune in the end!).

I stil have my concentrator downstairs. The oxygen tubing is still hooked up to it and it's on the little ugly couch beside it. I still have to remind myself that i don't need to turn it on right before bed. I won't get rid of it till after my 3 month assessment (which apparently is what most people do anyways). But still, as healthy and lovely and wonderful and full of life as i feel, i can't bring myself to detach and sever the oxygen tubing from the concentrator itself. 1 part superstition, 1 part bafflement.

It was weird to see the physical evidence of what it took to keep those old lungs going. Maybe it's different for someone like me (or someone with CF), b/c you grow up being sick. It's not like something that just comes along, threatens your life, and a couple of months or years later you're fine again. I WAS BORN INTO THIS LIFE AND I CAN'T JUST TURN AWAY, NO MATTER HOW MUCH MISERY IT COST ME. NO MATTER HOW IT TRIED TO WIPE ME OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

So maybe i'm not really 'keeping' this stuff out of nostalgia? Maybe I'm keeping it as a reminder to myself that i am 24 years old and I prevailed: I survived lung disease.

But still, emotionally and psychologically: who knew it would be this hard?


Amy said...

I know what you mean. Not having to get rid of all that old stuff since I am still pre-tx but I think about that a lot. What will I do when I can breathe and function like a normal person. The thought scares me. When you grow up knowing you have limits and trying to break free of them, it's hard when you actually can break free and set new goals.

I would not be able to ditch the baggage yet. I would stuff it in an attic so in a few years I can look through it all and remind myself what I overcame. Or so when I am older I can show nieces, nephews, kids etc what I went through and my old life :) But I am crazy haha!!!


Don said...


I really enjoy your blog. You are right, to a degree, that it is a bit hard at first to move into our new (tranplanted) life. I tell old friends and co-workers that I see that I traded all that "fun" called work for pill bottles and insurance forms. However, the further out we get, the easier it gets and the less time we spend on meds (taking them, inventorying them, ordering them) and the less paper work we have as well.

It does get easier.

CYA of TxBuddies