I was feeling a lot of things! I would feel happy, but then I would feel nervous – like, I’m thinking what all could happen, go wrong.
It was, like, 12:35 at night…we walked into the emergency place, we went to the ICU, and then they prepped me for the surgery.
Your lungs are here!
It was like 4:00 in the afternoon, and I remember I was sitting on the couch watching TV, and my sister was down the street with my neighbor. A phone call came and mom came in and she just said, “Laura, your lungs are here!” And I remember I told her all of my stuffed animals’ names, like, “Go get them!” We didn’t pack any clothes, I remember that – I had all of my stuffed animals though!!
So the ambulance came into the neighborhood… And I remember it was snowing, and I was watching the snow fall and I was so excited because I knew that as soon as I got my lungs I could go outside and play in the snow, and I hadn’t done that in so long. The cold had really bothered me, so I knew that it would be better when I got them.
Oh my God, it’s here!
She was cleaning the house, and I was sitting on my couch watching TV. We were talking about my fluid, because I was a little over that day.
My mom answered the phone. She had a big [gasps] look on her face – like, “Oh my God, what’s going on here!” And she’s like, “We got to go, pack your bags! We got to go to the hospital! Oh my God!” And I cried. Like, “Oh my God, it’s here!” We woke up my stepdad, my dad’s like, “Yes!”
We got the call at 7:20 in the morning, and we got there at, what, like 8:15? And I didn’t get my transplant until like 10 at night! And my doctor told my mom not to rush, and my mom was just said, “Never tell a mother who’s trying to get her daughter better not to rush!”
We got a call at 1:41 in the morning from the doctor, and my mom thought it was the cops because she was half-awake. He said, “Don’t get ready yet, we don’t know if it’s yours.” And then at, like, three in the morning I got woken up, and my mom and dad told me there was a heart and we drove up…All I remember is that I accidentally packed all dirty clothes!
I remember every day since I was put on the transplant list waiting for that call…So it was June and all of a sudden we had a page- it was the hospital number. I went into panic mode. I was scared, I was crying, I locked myself in the bathroom, and I didn’t want to go. I didn’t have the strength at first to push myself to go there. I didn’t understand why I had to go, and why there wasn’t anything else in the world that could make me better.
Then finally the transplant coordinator told me that I needed to calm down and I took some medicine to help me with that feeling. Then we got in the car and went to the hospital, but I had a fever, so they weren’t able to do the transplant that day.
Then I was called in August, for the second time. This time there was more preparation, even though there isn’t much you can do to prepare for that. But I knew how to act, and that you need to go and get it done.
Why would she be calling me?
When I got the phone call, I was outside in the yard, just jumping around, and calling everybody, telling them I got my transplant!…My mom came home and walked past me like I’m just some weirdo in the yard! She still didn’t know!
The nurse called the house phone. It wasn’t even their number, but I answered it, and it was her. And then I kind of just knew, because I’m like, “Why would she be calling me?” So then she said that I had my transplant and she was just asking me, do I have a ride, is anybody home, and all that stuff. And I was like, yeah.
But the nurse told me that she called my mom before that, so I thought she knew…and then we finally hang up and my mom asked me, “What’s wrong with you?” and I was like, “I have my transplant!” I think she was just shocked.
It felt like 10 years had gone by
Jess: Within minutes, everybody was moving…I called my dad and I cried with him for, like, ever. And then he was like “I got to go, my ride’s here!” and I was like “Okay!! I’ll see you later!”
Mom: The family was all here by 9:00 that night. And they ended up giving us our own waiting room because there were so many people.
Interviewer: What did you do all day?
Jess: Sat there anxiously. It felt like 10 years had gone by.
Jess, 18, and mother