Canadian Lung Association Blog

Larry’s New Lungs: Wow that first breath!!!


In his last installment, Larry receives a call that a pair of donor lungs are available in Montreal. Fortunately, his cousin’s daughter was in town from Montreal and she offers to drive him from Ottawa.

Well, needless to say, I was in a daze from then on , but still stayed calm while Colleen drove and we all talked and laughed as we went along and they were so happy and thrilled for me.

In the car, I called my sister Joan in Hamilton and told her the good news. I asked her to let my brothers and other family know.

It was a beautiful sunny day and no traffic this Sunday afternoon, and we just flew along and finally arrived at Notre Dame Hospital in Montreal. We parked the car at the emergency door and told the commissionaires that I got a call for a transplant. They said to just park the car over near the wall and we went inside. I was so glad I didn’t need to talk much. Darlene told the staff at the reception all the information and they brought out a bed and took me downstairs to the operating room.

That was around 2:15 PM and they just gave me something to relax and I was calm and restful, then I saw the face of the anesthesiologist saying they were going to prep me and to breathe slowly and I was out.

The next think I knew, I woke with the breathing tube in my throat and I was noticing my hands were tied to the bed, but immediately someone was there and told me they were going to take the tube out and untie my hands and to stay calm and don’t worry. They did, and I coughed a bit and kind of cleared my throat a bit also and tried to swallow to see, if all was in order and it was. Wow that first breath!!! It was amazing!!! They told me all went well and that I had a successful double lung transplant. Yahhhhhooooo!!!!!

I still had oxygen on and I was glad even to have it as a pacifier, but they had me take it off to show I could breathe on my own and what a feeling. Wow, I could actually breathe on my own. :) simply amazing!!! They also told me that, I received donor lungs from a person that was 33 years old. They didn’t say whether it was a male or female and I didn’t ask yet.

Then, I was in the ICU for a few days. I loved the modern adjustable hospital bed. It was great for my back. All I wanted to do was sleep. My pain meds were really doing a good job. I was wondering what all the bubbly waterfall sounds were. I found it really soothing and peaceful. Later nobody believed me, but I actually found out it was a machine making these sounds so the patient couldn’t hear any noise and so they could relax and be calm.

I was so grateful and thankful to God and the donor, that I was alive and kicking. What an experience and just in the nick of time too!  I counted my blessings and just had to wait for the next step in my recovery. It’s said that “God doesn’t take you to it, if you can’t get through it.” and I’m glad it’s so in my case.

There’s more to come in my transplant journey so check out my next posting. Life is beautiful. :)

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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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