Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness

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No Longer Waiting

Jim’s good news story

My story as I awaited a lung transplant is carried in the "waiting for a donation" section and now I am so blessed and delighted to be able to say that just a few short weeks ago I became a recipient of a donated lung. But first let me explain what transpired just before this. It hopefully will stress to everyone the importance of never giving up hope.

I mentioned in my first piece for this wonderful site that my work isn’t overly physical but it can be quite trying by times. It was just a few weeks ago when one night I got home from work and I knew something was going seriously wrong. I was using an oxygen mask but I was also using a set of nasal prongs as well but I still wasn’t getting enough oxygen. I had to get a bottle of portable oxygen and stick in the bed beside me and connect the air nozzle directly to my lips just to get me through the night. The next morning my wife got the kids to school and I called an ambulance. It was just as well I did. I was put on Hi-Flow Oxygen and Morphine at once and the team managed to get me settled down a bit. I wasn’t aware of what was going on because I wasn’t told and even if I had been I was like the happy idiot on morphine and it most likely would have passed me by. But my brave, strong rock that I married had everything laid on her and she knew they were talking about days before the situation went beyond control. Anyway I was under the fantastic care of the medical team in the Mater when we were told three days later that there was a possibility of a lung donation that evening. We were in total shock when just a few short hours later we were informed by a smiling team that the transplant was to go ahead. It was still a bit touch and go and yet again my wife was told that things were in hand but that they had put me on the heart by-pass as they felt that the stress of the transplant would be too much. She waited along with my brother and a neighbour for several hours until finally she was told that all was finished but the chances of mortality in the first 12 hours was quite high and not to get her hopes up too much. So they waited and finally thank heavens they received word that all was well and people around my family started smiling again. It was the longest 27 hours she ever endured.

My recovery so far has been good and steady and I’m taking things one day at a time but I am enjoying the small things, like making my own breakfast or walking from room to room or late at night I’m enjoying the sound of silence in the house without the hum of oxygen generators. I am so aware of how blessed I have been but how can one express the debt of gratitude I owe to the donor family? I have explained my thoughts and feelings in a letter to the family but I fear my lack of word power let me down and I can only pray I conveyed our thoughts properly and they will know they are forever in our prayers. Equally I have done my best to show my warmest and sincerest thanks to the entire team of the Heart and Lung Transplant crew in the Mater Hospital led by the truly wonderful Professor Jim Egan. I think I can safely say Jim knows how I feel. To Mr. Freddie Woods and the surgical team who I thanked every time I saw them after the operation until they began to look at me in an odd way. Thank you again.

So here I sit with the knowledge that I have been so lucky to have another chance at life with my family and friends. And yet how different it could have all turned out if no one had made the decision to become a donor? That simple exercise of filling in and carrying a donor card can make such a difference. Everyone I know now has one. Everyone I know wants to have one more to the point because they have seen first hand the effect it can have not just on one life but on many. Shouldn’t you?

My thanks to Martina and everyone here for allowing me the chance to tell what its like to wait and pray and to show that it is NEVER too late to receive word that you have been chosen from a list for another chance of life and that if you are in the same position I was you must never give up hope and never give up believing in the power of your own private prayers and beliefs and most importantly of all never give up faith in the pure kindness of spirit that makes any person an organ donor.

Now I’m going for a short walk because I can.
Jim Kenny

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