Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mental Feng shui and the blessing of distraction

I talked a little about how the reality of the situation caused some emotional struggles and required what I like to call mental feng shui. The three days spent mouth agape allowed me to reorganize the situation internally and "normalize" it. There have been more than 1 such opportunity along the journey so far. The original news was just the first in a series of such moments in my personal journey. For me, time passed as my condition remained stable and no progress was made for a while and the reality wore off.

I started a regimen of travel every 3 months from Boise to Salt Lake for appointments and the reality of the situation began to fade. As the frequency changed to monthly travels I knew we were making progress. The discussion of relocation started to take place with the transplant team each trip. We began to prepare as we could by collecting data on places to live, how to deal with work, what is the tax ramifications and what to do about our cats. This was a nice distraction to dwelling on the fact that this was going to be a huge life-change for myself and my family, plus the cats. It was also a diversion from my condition. My condition has and will continue to diminish as time passes but it is so gradual that it almost goes unnoticed. The distractions mollify the 800 pound gorilla in the room and allowed me to continue to do the things I need to do to continue this journey.

Each month's visit ended with the same question and the same breathless apprehension of the answer to come. "Do we need to move?" Finally the answer was yes and that was the the second time it became real. At this point I just wanted to take my ball and go home. This isn't fun anymore! This called for another feng shui session. Once I regained my composure and the glaze was gone from my eyes, the serious planning for the move was the next blessed distraction. With tons to do and arrange I was able to divert my attention for a while again.

More to come...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The journey...

From start to finish, the transplant process is an emotional journey for patients and care givers alike. For me the journey started almost 3 years ago and continues as I write this. On June 13, 2006 I was officially placed on the UNOS transplant list as a potential heart recipient. At the time, I lived in Boise Idaho and was 40 yrs into a congenital heart disease called tetrology of Fallot. I had always had a "bad heart" so the possibility of reaching this point was there all along. It just never seemed like reality to me. On June 13th 2006 it became reality. Honestly, I had a rough time getting my head wrapped around the idea. I went to work othe next day and let my staff know and informed them that I would be taking some time off. I went home and spent the next 3 days in my living room staring at nothing with my mouth open. Once I came to terms with my situation I was able to get back to life as I knew it. Back to work and starting a new regimen of appointments with the transplant team in Salt Lake City, Utah. The fist couple weeks we were on pins and needles and every time my cell rang, we thought it was "the call". To make it a bit more interesting, I had a job that was 24 hour on-call and my cell was also my work phone. After a little while it became less likely that it was "the call" and things settled back to relative normalcy.
I was classified a status 2. This means that my condition was not an emergent situation and I was in "good health" for the relative group I had just joined. I was starting a relationship with the transplant team who would be part of my life for the next x amount of time. The average waiting period for a status 2 patient is 1 yr so the call could come today, tomorrow or whenever. There is no certainty, only hunches and past data to base decisions on, and of course, my health. Any drastic change would change my status.
More to this story coming soon...but now is time for sleep.