May 1, 2015

My Lung Donor was a Transplant Nurse

Ross Lloyd, Double Lung Transplant Recipient

Each year, an international nursing organisation based in the USA hosts an essay competition where transplant patients can nominate their transplant nurse for an award. This is in recognition of the many nurses who help us before, during and after our transplant. This year, I submitted a nomination which was quite different to any they had received before as my story does not reflect the usual transplant nurse, instead it reflects my donor. I believe the majority of donor recipients would support the feelings expressed in my story below.

It all began in 2010 when I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis. By early 2011, I was on oxygen 24/7 and on a CPAP machine at night. Mobility was limited to an electric scooter or wheel chair.

In late March 2013, I was listed for a double lung transplant at Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane. Eight days after being listed I had my first call in, but the transplant did not proceed. Three and a half weeks later I received my second call in, but again the transplant did not proceed. Just six days later it was a case of third time lucky, my successful double lung transplant occurred. The likelihood of receiving that second chance at life was less than 1%.

Why I Celebrate My Transplant Nurse

My transplant nurse whom we celebrate was with me during the operation but she was not one of the assigned operating theatre nurses on that day in May 2013.

My transplant nurse whom we celebrate was with me every day during my recovery at Prince Charles Hospital until my release from hospital on 17 May 2013, and yet she was not rostered on for any of those days.

My transplant nurse whom we celebrate has been with me every day since I returned home, and has watched my progress even though she was not assigned as my home care nurse.

My transplant nurse whom we celebrate pushed me with my physio activities so that I could participate in two Bridge to Brisbane runs in 2013 and 2014 since my transplant, and yet she is not a physiotherapist.

My transplant nurse whom we celebrate is not my partner, nor is she one of our two adopted daughters.

My transplant nurse whom we celebrate has not only ensured that I have a second chance at life but has given that second chance at life to my partner and our two daughters.

My transplant nurse whom we celebrate is my donor.