Thursday, February 17, 2022
I was expecting Valentine’s Day to come and go as easily as it has for so many decades. Sure, there are memories of a 10-year-old me bringing a decorated box to school to receive valentine cards from others, plus a stash of cards to insert into the boxes of each and every person in my class, including the teacher.
Other than that, Valentine’s Day, Schmalentine’s Day. I was never a fan. Even as a youngster, I knew that special tokens of friendship or love should be surprises, not scheduled events.
Well, I certainly had my Valentine’s Day surprise this year.
I took a friend to the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison for some lab work. A lady in the waiting area told my friend which hallway was the right one, and as I seated myself she said, “I should know. I’ve been here lots of times over the past nine months.”
“Oh, really?” I responded.
She nodded. “Yeah. I had a double lung transplant nine months ago, so I come here a lot.”
My eyes got the size of saucers and my mouth fell open, but because of COVID mask wearing, she could not see how truly dumbfounded I looked.
“Oh my goodness!” I gushed. “A double lung transplant??? Nine months ago??? I am SO happy for you! That is amazing!”
She kept shaking her head yes, and I could tell there was a big smile behind her mask.
And THEN…a woman across the waiting room from us said that she, too, had had a double lung transplant. Hers was done two months ago.
“Really??” I practically screamed. “You, too? Awe…that is so fantastic. I am so happy for both of you ladies!” By this time I was on my feet looking from one to the other…wanting to hug each, but held back by COVID restrictions.
COVID restrictions or no COVID restrictions, they walked toward each other and hugged.
Grabbing my phone I asked, “Can I take a picture of you two ladies? I’ll send you a copy. With your permission, I’d like to share it on my blog. Both said, “Sure,” stood next to each other, and I snapped a photo.
On Valentine’s Day in 2022, I met Michelle S. and Sandy D., both recipients of double lung transplants. And I was in awe.
I was in awe mostly because despite a worldwide pandemic in 2020/2021, these two ladies received the superior medical expertise, and the follow-up care needed to give them new chapters in their life stories.
Kudos to the entire medical team at UW Hospital, and kudos to the family members and friends who have taken care of these lovely ladies during their recoveries. Also, a deep bow of gratitude to the families who approved the organ donations.
Both ladies received the picture I took of them. I sent it via email. That same day, one wrote to me and asked for the email address of the other. She wants to “keep in touch.”