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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In Toronto...

On January 26th 2009, I received information that I will be transferred to Saint Micheal's Hospital to continue my IV treatments, while waiting for my new lungs. They told me it would be a few hours before they transferred me by air ambulance, as there was an emergency in Northern Ontario and they won't get here until later that evening. ~ that was at NOON

AT 2:00pm or 14:00 for you military folk, I was sitting in my lovely bed, rearranging my bag because, I can only take one bag and my purse. Hmm, so I unpack my bag to get as much in it as possible so I don't have to take it with me. Derek brought the camera up earlier this afternoon so I could record the event as it unfolds. My nurse runs in to my room, and politely blurts out, "They're here..." Do you know what is going through my head at this point... Let me narrate my thoughts:

"Are you freaking kidding me, I have nothing packed, I just took everything out of my freaking bag so I can get more stuff in it. Holy shit, I can't do this, I don't have enough time to get things together, I have to call my Mother, but I can't cause I have to get things ready." said speedily and mumbled. They said they wouldn't be here until later this evening. I guess not!

"CAN SOMEONE GET ME A BAG PLEASE. I have to, I need this, no not that, take this, I'll get someone to pick this up later. Do I need this, no not that one, the other pocket. Holy crap I have a lot of shit. Can someone pull Ena out of her meeting, tell her i don't care if she's in a meeting I am freaking out here... I don't need this, I have to sit down." As I sat there, with my hands in my head, it has finally hit me, this is really happening.

"Can someone please help me, I can't do this???" I yelled at my nurse.

"Alison, stop, take a breath, calm down and relax..." she said like it's an everyday occurrence. Kudos for trying though.

"Are you kidding me, this is the first time I will be away from my mother without being able to come home at any point to see her. Where is Ena, I need Ena here rights now." I yelled in a out of breath raspy get your ass out of my way, kind of tone.

"I am right here Ali, it's okay I am right here." Ena tries to comfort me. It works I am not crying or freaking out, I just needed someone there who didn't make me feel like I was being rushed. And she brought Carrie, who is the Social worker for the adult clinic, well was. She's trying to give me a session, asking me how I am feeling right now, are you scared.

Carrie has this quiet voice that reminds me of wheat blowing in the breeze. At this point I feel like a tornado thrashing and breaking things, and she's asking me in here breezy tone, how am iIfeeling right now, are you scared? SERIOUSLY??? I FEEL LIKE A FIGHTER PILOT GOING MACH 3 WITH MY HAIR ON FIRE. THAT IS HOW I FEEL!!

The paramedics come around the corner, and prepare to strap me into the gurney for a fun ride to the airport. I hug Ena good by, and she says "Did Derek bring you the camera?" naturally I reply, yes cause he had earlier that afternoon. "So Derek was here, and I missed him again?" yes Ena, you did. Derek is now known to Ena and I as Polkaroo. She has yet to meet Derek. They always said "Polkaroo was here and I missed him again?" Just a toast to how old I am. lol

The one good thing about the Ottawa Bus strike is that while they are striking, the medics don't have to go around them on the BUS routes. You heard my correctly, I got the express trip to the airport only the rich and famous can afford. By luxury liner Ambulance, on the EXPRESS Buses only route. Woohoo! Took all of 10 minutes to get to the airport. Little did I know that comfort was non existent on the trip up to Toronto.

We drive out to the plane on a parking strip on the tarmac, lights on, the ambulance doors open to this beautiful bright light, STAY AWAY FROM THE LIGHT, oh wait that's the sun. lol. Picture if you will, a large space with snow coverage everywhere, no trees, no buildings and no people. Now picture the bright sun shining and reflecting off of the snow, it's like a freaking mirror. I was blinded, no one warned me, no one prepared me for the vision I was about to encounter, instead it was full steam ahead into the vast array of nothing, blinded by the light. It's nothing to sing about either.

My bags are loaded onto the plane, yes folks a plane. A little prop plane with two places for gurneys one on each side, and 4 medics and 2 pilots. I only had one medic. She was cool, props Joanne. (Picture posted later). They transferred me onto this transportable table gurney, that is made of metal with canvas pulled super tight, so it's hard. Picture if you will my tiny bony little but on this thing. Strapped in like a NASCAR racer, I cannot move my legs or my upper body, my hands are free, thank god. I grab my camera and hope to get some awesome shots, but you don't see too much when you fly backwards.

My pictures were taken by chance, with luck and totally blind and over the shoulder. If you can picture it, then I am pretty good at describing things than I thought. Don't bother talking cause it's like wearing a lawnmower on your head. LOUD!!!!!!! This one hour flight felt like a million hours of torture. This must be what they did to POW's in the war, cause it is not a friendly adventure. Hyper extended knees, cause of my running shoes, twisted ankles to try and alleviate the pain, sliding down the gurney, sitting on your tailbone, just trying to make the best of a ride you have no control over. Oh did I mention the motion sickness from flying backwards, yeah not only did I fly that way but I was put into the ambulance head first at the hospital, taken out at the airport, but into the plane head first, back to back with the pilot, then put back into the ambulance head first in Toronto.

Ambulance ride to the airport: $450.00
Air ambulance to Toronto: $900.00 (Guesstimate)
Flight Crew & Nurse wages: $500.00

I got the best and most amazing picture from the plane of our propeller and the CN Tower and the River. (Will post later)

NOTE: Funny thing when the plane landed in Toronto, for the first time, the medics had to wait for us to land, usually the plane has to wait for the medics to get there. I guess I was good luck for them. In Ottawa the plane had to wait for us to get there, when usually the medics have to wait for the plane to get there. Luck both ways I guess.

Not only did I have to ride on this gurney in the plane, but I also had to ride on it to the hospital, in the hospital, to my room. (pic to follow) Wanna know how happy I was when I got to my room? They wanted to carry me to the bed, and I said, verbatim: "Put this puppy down, take these belts off, put the side down and let me stand and stretch." I stood so proud, so strong and so happy to be off my ass, and on me feet that every bone in my body cracked. lol

This is my experience thus far. More to come.

Sweet Dreams to all.
Alison :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Another step closer...

I can't believe I am awake at 6:30 in the morning. But it's like I said before, when you start thinking about what your are going to blog about next, you have to either do it now, or it will stir in your head for a long time, and you will never get back to sleep.

I was told some great news yesterday. I have made it one step closer to my goal of a wonderful new life. No, I haven't gotten the call for new lungs just yet, but I have gotten the call about a bed becoming available in Toronto. Yep, you heard it first here folks, I will be moving to my new home. For the next little while I will be a Torontonian, I am not 100% happy about, seeing as I hate big cities. They are too fast, to loud and most importantly, NOT HOME!

I talked to my most wonderful and understand hubby about this, and all I could think about was that my family, who are the most important people to me and a huge part of who I am, won't be able to visit me on a whim, like they kind of can now. Now, not only will I be anticipating the call to a new life with clean, clear new lungs, I will be worrying about the distance my family has to travel when when visiting me. I will worry about them when they drive up, if they are driving alone, what if they get into a car accident, what if the weather isn't clear. Then once they are here, I will be worrying about whether or not they will get home safely, and again the weather and the accidents.

When I am supposed to be the most excited, I think I will be the most nervous too. Not for me by any means, I have been ready for this since I did the Assessments two years ago, but for the people who will want to see me. Catch 22 I guess.

I have mixed emotions when it comes to leaving. I want to stay so I can see anyone at any time, but I want to go. I want to go so bad, that I can't imagine how I couldn't possibly be excited. I think I am going to have to think for myself for once, and not worry about what others have to do to be with me. I have to stop thinking about the "what if's".

Another day and another step closer to my new life. Wow, all this in one week, and I couldn't be happier.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I needed a few days to regroup and think about what I was going to say.

As Thursday came quickly, and that day was just as crazy as the next step will be. I was hoping that the Doctors would meet bright and early in the morning on Thursday, but NO. As luck would have it they weren't meeting until 4:30p. That's something I never thought happened, i didn't know Doctors met after hours like that. I guess I was wrong.

So as I woke Thursday morning at 6am, to my dismay nothing had happened, but that was obvious. I tried to go back to sleep, tucked myself back into my little nest of pillows and blankets. Got my physio done, that usually get's me to sleep, but no, didn't happen.

While I waited patiently, okay, okay so maybe I wasn't so patient. While I waited to hear something, I kept thinking to myself, what if they say no, what will happen. I am now immune to all medications, so now what is going to happen. Well, I just sat and waited... and waited... had some lunch, waited and waited some more. My nurse, Ena, came to my room and we chatted for a little while.

As we were chatting her pager went off, she looked at it, and it was a 416 number. I told her to call the number from me room immediately. I told her she had no choice but to call the number. This was around 4:45, think about it people 15 minutes and they already had their meeting. So as we anxiously awaited the answer at the other end of the line, we sat, we waited and we listened.

As Ena wrote on the paper the notes Cathy was telling her, she teared up. Then I got to talk to Cathy, and the my eyes were so big, you could probably drive through them. I AM ON THE LIST, and I cannot stop smiling.

As the news spread through the room, I called my Hubby first, who had just left the hospital from visiting me about 20 minutes before that. So I left the cookiest message ever, so he knew what I was feeling. Then I couldn't get a hold of my parents, so I texted them. That text read as follows:


After I made the necessary family calls, I called my best friends Rebecca and Jo. I called Rebecca at work and Jo at her house. The both got excited, had questions and well, it was awesome. I left a message with their parents, who are like second parents to me also. I was the best feeling in the world.

My phone didn't stop ringing. So now that all the necessary information had been passed around, I am just now, slowly recovering from Facial muscle spasms. It's funny, I forgot I had so many muscles in my face. When I heard, I was smiling so much, it was almost as awesome as my wedding day.

So now I am patiently waiting on the list for a new set of lungs. I will be in Ottawa until new lungs or a bed becomes available in Toronto. Woohoo!!! I will keep everyone posted as to the process as I am aware of it. FABULOUS!!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Easy does it, easy does it.

Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow the Doctors in Toronto review my tests, and decide whether they will take me and put me on "The LIST". And I am feeling the punch right now, boy oh boy. It's trying to stay calm, when the boats are being beaten by the sea in a hurricane. What's that called a White Squall, yeah that's what it feels like. For sure.

I am trying to stay calm, and relaxed, but it's my life in their hands, literally. It's up to them whether I get to see another set of lungs. Oh my Lord. Time is so strange right now, it's like I can hear the tic of each second on the clock as though it were chiming right in my ear. No question.

Now when they say I will be listed, it's all about timing. I will find out soon, and if I get in I have to wait here in Ottawa until they have a bed available in Toronto at St. Mike's hospital. And as soon as that happens I will be taken by air ambulance to Toronto. Once in Toronto, I will be admitted and wait in the hospital until lungs come for me. I will keep you all posted on that too.

Well that's all I have to report today. See you next time. If you have questions, just ask.