Canadian Lung Association Blog

Larry’s New Lungs: 9 days of testing

Maison des Greffes

Maison des Greffes in Montreal — where I stayed for 9 days of testing








Well, here’s the next installment about getting ready for all the tests required to get on the lung transplant list.

My respirologist for 33 years, here in Ottawa, was a big help in getting the ball rolling, so to speak, and talking to the lung transplant coordinator in Montreal. LOL, he was a little hesitant at first because of the fact that, he couldn’t speak French,  but that all worked out and it was no problem.

So my big appointment was scheduled in Montreal in August of 2010 for a bunch of tests and to talk to the doctors and to see if I was a good candidate for a lung transplant. I had to stay at Maison des Greffes in Montreal near the Notre Dame Hospital for 9 days of tests. It’s the place where we can stay pre- and post-transplant at a good reasonable cost, to recuperate after our transplants and to stay, if people live far away. What is so great about this place, is that they have 3 Chefs, so we get to try all different kinds of meals all week. This helped me gain some weight back later on  after my transplant. I sure couldn’t do any cooking for myself.

Thank God, my sister Joan was able to come with me for this. I couldn’t have done it without her. I’m pretty independent, but the hospital team requires a family member or friend to accompany the patient for these tests and to show them we have family support. It’s one of the considerations for acceptance.

Well, here’s me on oxygen already for a year now and I have still about 20% lung capacity left, so I wasn’t too weak to handle all the running around and  didn’t make my sister a slave – do this do that, go get this etc. We worked together and looked at each little obstacle as a another triumph or bump in the road, but we made it. She put herself out big time to come with me though. She’s was the head of Human Resources at Hamilton Place, in Hamilton and was very busy with her job, but she was able to come anyway.

We were back and forth from the hospital and Maison des Greffes everyday and sometimes had to do a couple of procedures at the hospital. At the end of the day we were so tired.

Within the nine day stay, I had an ultrasound of my stomach and heart, CATscan, chest x-ray, MRI, and colonoscopy, blood tests, 24 urine sample, pulmonary function test and a bone density test. We saw a nutritionist and physiotherapist as well. I already had an angiogram at the Heart Institute in Ottawa, so I didn’t need one again. We then saw a social worker and talked to the respirologist in Montreal to actually see , if I was mentally prepared for a transplant. We also talked to the Surgeon who would be doing the operation. They try everything to scare you and tell you all of the downsides and problems that could arise to see , if you’re ready. Oh, and I certainly  was. To be able to breathe again to me would be a miracle and I was ready to do anything at this point.

Well, the 9 day ordeal was complete and I went back home to Ottawa and my sister back to Hamilton and we waited for the results.

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Larry Graham

On October 21, 2012 I received a double lung transplant in Montreal after four years of being on supplemental oxygen and being on the transplant waiting list for 22 months. I still say it's a miracle and am trying to repay that miraculous gift everyday by paying it forward and telling my story to help other people waiting for organ transplants.

Posted in COPD, Stories

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