Thursday 10th March 01.15
On our fifth journey to Harefields The night was cold but not as cold as it had been earlier in the week My wife was at work for her second night shift of the week my son had just gone to bed, my daughter being tired had gone some time earlier, I was just settling down to watch a DVD that I had fell asleep to the night before, when the mobile rang.
I wondered if it was Liz but suspected otherwise, I looked at the number for Liz's Picture to be shown but the label Unknown number confirmed my suspicions. It was 1.15am and the voice on the other end said Hello Mark it is a transplant coordinator from Harefields we have a possible offer of organs are you feeling okay? Are you willing to come to hospital today? I explained that Liz was on nights and it would take a while to get her home but I would ring her and could he ring back in 15 minutes.
No matter how many times you get the call it has the power every time of reducing you to a jelly. I shakily rang Liz and called out to the kids that the call was from Harefields. My son was quite good having just gone to his room but my daughter who had been woken in a shocked state was sobbing wrapped in a blanket. Liz went to tell the ward that she had to leave and by the time the coordinator had phoned back she was on her way home.
He asked if I was feeling better now after being turned down on the last visit due to my blood results. I told him that I had, that afternoon, had the results of a full blood count done by my GP surgery that showed a normal range of values and a reduction in the abnormal white cell count that had been a problem a eight days earlier. I had only rung to confirm my improvement on the Tuesday and had spoken to another coordinator who said he would pass on my improvement to the rest of the team and here we were two days later on the road again.
I packed up the hospital bag and got my medication together and when Liz got back everything was ready for us to go ,I was so glad that I had got some more Oxygen delivered earlier in the week and got the new bottle ready to take with us. The children were calmer and I was more nervous by the time we got on the road to Hospital I had kept my Bible with me and had been reading it before we left and I clutched in my hand a wooden cross that I had been given by a pastor in the Churchill hospital when I had been ill with my collapsed lung. I said a prayer to God asking him to look after the family and watch over me through this procedure should it go ahead. I committed my life to his care, confident that he would be with me whatever he decided was to be the result.
The journey to Harefields was quiet and seemed to go frighteningly quickly soon we were pulling into the entrance of the hospital and arrived at the reception to be directed to the same ward that I had been in on the previous Tuesday and as we got to the ward found ourselves in the same room.
The duty doctor attended and made another couple of holes in my arms that were starting to look like a junkies due to the various bruises and needle marks left from blood tests and my previous visit. It took a while and a couple more holes to fill the multitude of blood tubes but thankfully no canular was fitted so I was able to use my arm without worry. After the form filling and swabs were taken, The coordinator turned up and said it would be a couple of hours before there would be news.
This was the worse time, while you wait, that is the time you start to think. Time ticked by slowly but tension continued to build there is no way to immunize yourself to the feelings that well up in you and you are happy when people come to do things like examinations and anything to take your mind of thinking about what is to happen even if that means that you are nearer the end of the process.
The anesthetist turned up and talked with me and then the surgeon, they were happy not to x-ray me and the consent form had been signed the last visit so we waited some more...the nurse came to tell me that the coordinator had rang and asked that I shower and get shaved so things seemed to be moving towards a positive conclusion so I went to the shower area and with the nurses help removed my chest hair again and put on hospital issue disposable pants that I remember wearing when I had my angiogram at Harefields on my four day assessment. When I got back to the room I thought this might be happening now and the fear welled up again.
I took some breaths and made a effort to relax now that the final procedures were concluding and wondered what it would be like to say goodbye to the family as they took me to theater it was getting near 8am and we had been waiting for nearly five hours when the surgeon and the transplant coordinator came back to the room the coordinator was carrying what appeared to be patient handling sling which he left by the door my heart jumped but then I looked at their faces and knew that the news was not good. They said that the organs were not good enough for transplant and my heart sank, my hopes for a new life dashed.
After I heard the news I quickly changed out of the hospital gown and pants as I needed the comfort of my own clothes to feel centered after the disorientating experience I had been though I looked at Liz and she looked so tired I cuddled her and told her I loved her and we left after a cup of coffee into the throngs of traffic fighting to get to work in the morning rush hour we got back home at about 10am with the promise of no more calls till I called Harefields the following week as we wanted the weekend of Mothers day for the family. When I got home only then did I notice the name labels still around my wrist I cut them off before falling into a deep sleep and never did get to watch my DVD.