Today, my husband and I returned to a hospital where we used to spend a lot of time…it is where he went to the liver clinic for years, where he had his liver transplant and to which he will remain connected as a patient of for the rest of his life.
But today was a visit of different kind…we had the weird sense of deja vu as we walked the corridors to attend a pre-transplant workshop…to share our story with those who are still waiting for their call.
My husband waited 14 months for his liver transplant, and we attended every workshop scheduled during that time except for one…ironically, it was the one the day before his transplant and we missed it purely because I had forgotten about it!
But these workshops were something we found really valuable…it was where we found out about information to help get through the pre-transplant wait, and were given a glimpse of life post transplant.
It was also so good to talk to others going through similar issues…it made us feel less alone.
One of our favorite parts was when a transplant recipient came and talked to the group…living proof that it is possible to get through it all and return to living again.
And now it was our turn to give back…
On our arrival, we discovered there was quite a large group of people who had come along to the workshop…a much larger group then we had experienced during our time pre-transplant.
It was heartbreaking to be back amoungst so many very sick people who are all waiting for that call…we know what it is like and you just hope that all of them will eventually join us as post transplant recipients.
My husband did his talk as we displayed photos of his journey, showing just how sick he was pre -transplant and the difference a new liver and three years can make!
Although seemingly odd at the time, we are very glad that we did take photos, even when things were looking somewhat bleak.
As they say, a picture can say a thousand words, and it certainly helps to visually show what the future will hopefully hold for our audience….in particular, what happens in ICU and the recovery post transplant.
We have told this story quite a few times before, but today was really something special…we had so many people, both patients and their families plus staff, come up to us afterwards to say thank you…and to say we have given them hope.
When you are stuck on the waiting list, and feeling so sick, life can become overwhelming with endless appointments, clinics, tests and hospital stays…hope can be quickly distinguished.
The reality is everyone’s transplant journey is different…some have lots of hiccups along the way, others like my husband sail through the process.
But as we left the hospital, we felt very honoured that we were able to show that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel…that transplants do happen, and that things can go well.
That there is hope…
If you would like to us to share our story and talk about organ donation at your organisation or group event, please feel free to contact us.