All I need is a terrier for the basket...
Later on, we did a bit of shopping in town and came back via the adrenalin-packed "Town and Country Fair" on Parker's Piece. While sipping half a pint of cider each and eating strawberries and cream in the sun, we read that Piper, a prolific and articulate blogger from New York, finally got her new lungs. She'd had something like 5 or 6 dry runs, including a 'damp run' where she got as far as being sedated before they decided the lungs weren't up to scratch. Something about the combination of Piper's great news, our morning cycle, the sunshine, and yes, perhaps the cider, brought me to the edge of tears, and I felt acutely aware of just how far we've come.
This time last year we were struggling to come to terms with the transplant idea at all. I've just been looking back at photos from last summer's holidays and remembering how much Will was struggling. He was determined, but just so compromised. Then we went through the unreality of being listed, the paradoxical hope that lungs would come soon but preferably not today or tomorrow, then the panic of the call and sheer other-worldliness of the surgery itself.
But then those first three weeks - the hardest days of all - and the first three months, which were only a little less hard. To start with, it was simply a question of getting through each day, trying to believe that when we went to bed we were one day closer to something better. I was scared most of the time and Will was in pain and not sleeping and on the edge of losing belief. Jim and Tori are about 3 weeks post-transplant now, and reading their posts reminds me of just how hard that time was. It really doesn't feel like there will ever be light at the end of the tunnel.
But there is light. To start with, there'd be tiny flashes every now and then. Then, around the 3 month mark, it was like someone switched on a light bulb. A pretty low wattage one to be fair, but light there suddenly was. That light grew slowly brighter over the next three months, but I was still scared. But yesterday, I realised that I am actually not that acutely scared anymore. It's taken nearly 8 months (and don't get me wrong, there will be more bumps and hard times, and I'm not blind to the challenges ahead), but... can I say this outloud?... not sure... I'll whisper it... I finally believe in these lungs.
It is a truly miraculous thing, organ donation. It really works! It gives life! Live Life Then Give Life! Yesterday, while I was gardening, I was listening to Will sing Schubert. We went to the gym together and he lifted weights and he ran and he rowed and he has muscles in his legs! After work today he played table tennis. There is so much out there to fit into the days. I wonder how Will's lungs feel about these activities - have they sung Lieder before? Are they missing clubbing or motorbiking or playing rugby? It's so poignant that the ultimate gift - the gift of life - is given with no conditions attached. The tragedy and generosity and wonder of that gift is incomprehensible.
This 100th post is sent out into the ether with gratitude, awe and an enormous virtual hug for those stuck in the transplant tunnel waiting for the signal to change.