Canadian Lung Association Blog

Larry’s New Lungs: “Mr. Graham, we have lungs for you.”

Larry_waiting room In his last posting, Larry describes his long wait for donor lungs and visit to Montreal in August 2012 for some pre-operation testing.

Well the next time we all went together again in the beginning of October and I was considerably worse.

When, I saw the physiotherapist, I had to do a 6-minute walk this time and I had to raise my oxygen levels to a 4 litre flow rate and my blood oxygen saturations were still at 80. He was concerned. Heck me too!

Even sitting and raising my arms my sats (satured oxygen levels) were low. Still I went through all the regular tests that day and finally saw the surgeon and he said, from the results it still showed I was stable and to come back in 3 months. Rosario and I asked that he talk to Nick the physiotherapist to see his results and that I didn’t feel too stable with my now increased oxygen flow rates,  but he said that’s normal, but he would put me on the emergency list.

My doctor was a little concerned that we both made a bad decision going for a transplant in Montreal because it was taking so long. There wasn’t much more he could do for me.

Finally, I told Rosario what my doctor said and she remembered how bad I was when I arrived home after our last visit to Montreal. I had to stand for about 15 minutes, holding on to my kitchen chair after walking up the hill from my parking lot and taking the elevator up to my apartment. She never seen me like this even in class, but i told her this is normal for me lately.

Well, that put a bee in her bonnet and on Oct. 16th, she called Montreal and spoke to the surgical nurse and told her how bad I really was.

On Sunday, October 21, 2012, I was sitting playing Criminal Case on Facebook, when the phone rang at 11:45 AM. I picked it up and it was the transplant surgeon. He said, “Mr. Graham, we have lungs for you.” and I said, “No way, really!?” “Really!?” He said, ‘Yes, now relax you don’t have to rush. You don’t have to be here until 3:00 PM.” I said, “Wow great thank you. I’ll see you soon!! ” Usually you have just 2 hours to get to the hospital so I had lots of time.

Well, I had already about 5 choices how to get there planned. One was Rosario as my emergency person to drive me. Next was a taxi at a flat rate of $350. Then go by ambulance, especially if, it was in rush hour. Then, drive myself, if I had to or call my neighbour/cousin.

I was really calm. I called Rosario and couldn’t get her so I just left a message. I then tried Darlene, my neighbour/cousin and she was home. I told her, “Darlene, I just got my call for my transplant!” and luckily her daughter Colleen, was there visiting from Montreal and she knew all the shortcuts. She said, “We’ll take you!”” Colleen, know where to go!” so I got ready quickly and grabbed my already packed suitcase and we hopped into the car.

 

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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.

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