Monday, July 11, 2011

living in slow motion

I've been living life at the top of the transplant list for a week now. As glamorous as being #1 might sound, it's been quite the opposite. I have not yet been granted that perfect pair of lungs. I haven't received a late night phone call ordering me to rush to the hospital. None of that. I have been, instead, glued to my phone like a schoolgirl waiting to get asked to a dance, except I'm about 100 times more desperate (I guess it really depends on the schoolgirl). Anywho, I've gotten my fair share of teases. All hospital phone numbers start with "358" so whenever I saw those pop up, I'd get butterflies in my stomach. But for some reason, the transplant clinic which is lucky to answer the phone at all deciding to call me several times to give me a friendly reminder that I had an appointment on Tuesday. I was also told I was thisclose to getting a transplant a week ago but the lungs were just a little too big. It was SUCH A TEASE. A reminder from the clinic and the lab?! A call from the transplant team that they were having size issues? Excuse me for dating myself with this reference but am I on "Punk'd" or something?! When does Ashton come out with a Yeti cooler full cadaver lungs? Never? Okay. Calm down, Mary. It's only been a week. It's ONLY been a week and I'm already losing it.

I am already making plans for after the big operation. I know I will NEED my eyebrows waxed so that's first on the list. I've already totally let myself go for the time being. I see a nail polish I want and think "isn't that nice. Maybe in a few weeks". You see, I have a device in known as a tracheostomy tube. Any attempts to look either classy or fabulous are thrown off by the gaping hole in my throat. It's necessary though. I need the 100% oxygen like I need water, Mister Abel, and Jesus himself. It's been God's little way of making me throw vanity out the window. I can promise you I'll be freshly showered with a smile on my face. But those 3 layers of mascara that I used to don may be absent as long as the trach is present. Cause let's face it, I'm not meeting my soul mate in the next few weeks with this thing in. I'm okay with that.

Even if Mr. Sexy Man did ask me out, he'd immediately be turned off by my new hobby: coughing up weird stuff. I've become that kid, you know the one; The kid who looks at what's inside their Kleenex just a little too longer than is considered normal. I'm really fascinated by what can come out of a dead/dying left lung. Mainly it's what looks like the top of a gnarly scab, accompanied by some blood. Sometimes, it's your run of the mill bright green infection mucus with streaks of black running through it. To those who just vomited, I'm really sorry. I have a fascination with the human body, including it's ability to get rid of what doesn't belong inside of it. Reason number 537 that I think I'd make an alright nurse. I probably couldn't look a patient's mucus that long though before thoroughly freaking them out. Oh great, we have Mary again today. She's the one who looks at my mucus.
the mucus queen is yours

As for the time, it drags. And it's maybe because I haven't found a good hobby yet. My mother is a very "mommy" mom and she's good at everything I want to be good at. Her suggestions to bide my time waiting made me laugh though. "Well, you could sew, knit, or crochet!", none of which sounded very exciting to do. Instead of chosen to TRY learning the guitar. My brother Jacob was kind enough to let me borrow his and I'm hoping that I can teach myself just enough Taylor Swift that I can pull off some country-pop teenage angst by the time that phone rings. So far though, the highlights of being home have been a visit from 8 dear friends of mine for a cookout along with some competitive cranium, a scrapbook made for me by the lovely Jen Mejias, and a narrative by Javi and Rebecca, which I'm not sure anyone else will ever be allowed to read. I guess you could say in my down time at home, I've felt a lot of boredom, but I've also felt a lot of love, which isn't something to take for granted. Walking around the rehab facility I was at, I saw so many rooms that, besides the patient, were empty. That was never the case with me. Whether I get that phone call in 3 minutes or 3 months, I will have an army of family, friends, and sorority sisters supporting me in my recovery.

I can't wait to get better and be on everyone else's level once again. And of course I hope it's sooner rather than later. But more than anything, I hope these lungs are a good match for my body and I don't have to think of myself as "disabled" again for a long, long time. Instead, I'd like the tables to turn and have the opportunity to make someone else's day better. One excellent nurse at University Hospital named Monica really inspired me. She was honest about what meds she thought would be helpful to me, she'd come in just to chat when she had the chance, she even took the time to give me a much needed shower, and did I mention she was a UT grad? The love she bestowed upon me was more than any other nurse I dealt with during my month stay. I even cried on my last day in ICU when her shift was over. And I've found myself thinking "I don't want to be Kate Middleton, I don't want to be Lady Gaga *cringes*, I don't want to be Taylor Swift. I want to be a nurse like Monica to where I can make a patient really feel better. That's the impact I want to make. Now if I could only get that phone call, and GET ON with my life!

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