It was November 10th 2011: It was a normal day for the De Loach’s (expect for me who has IPF and has to wear oxygen 24/7, this is as normal as it get for us). Bob and Rob were off to New York and I’m off to work thinking about the day and the long weekend with my girlfriend who is staying with me while Bob is away. It was a normal day at work as I ate my lunch in my office because I do not have the energy to walk to the staff lunch room. Back in the classroom we start lunch breaks for everyone else, one of the students’ needs to go to the nurse for a procedure so the other aide leaves.
Whoever said your life can change in a second was right. The phone rings, it’s the office, Tampa General Hospital (TGH) is on the phone they want to speak to you. I politely ask if I can call them back; the voice on the other end says "No, I’m coming to stay with your kids and you have walk to the nearest phone with an outside line." It finally dawns on me what it was- “the call”.
I thought about “the family plan” developed for when the call came, but I was so excited and I couldn’t drive home. Some of the school folks offer to drive me to TGH. The new “family plan” is quickly developed: Rachel, Joshua, and Angela would meet me at TGH and my school buddies would stay with me until my family arrived. I arrived at TGH and the testing began to see if the donor and I were "the perfect match".
As we waited for the test results to come in, the doctors and I spoke to Bob and the rest of the family in upstate New York via Skype. Everyone was in a good mood and when my coordinator announces “IT’S A GO” the room breaks out in cheers and tears as our prayers have been answered.
The next hour is a blur, the family walks with me to the OR and we say goodbye. I really got scared in that second. The surgery started shortly after that and my new lungs are in on November 11th 2011.
My donor and their family are my heroes. In their grief they honor the request of their loved one and gave me a chance to continue on with my life. As we celebrate this second year, we have to remember my donor’s family. Please remember to check off that donor box on your driver’s license and tell your family your wishes.
**Thank You, Pamela for sharing your story with us! What a beautiful gift that has been given. ~Breathing