Friday, January 9, 2009
On the night of the call several things ran through my mind, but the one that overwhelmingly took most of my attention was how lucky was I that at only 7 weeks I was already where I wanted to be. I don't want to sound like a superman or anything that makes me greater than life but I really knew within that all the things I had been working on had enabled the flow for the events about to happen; I just needed to get to the hospital for my ready, set Go!
I was rolled in on a wheel chair by my brother Juan, my best friend Chris and wife Heather following by my side. Chris had his camera on and he was filming everything he could. Registration and getting into a room went smoothly and we all settled as people came in and out to collect information, draw blood, take my vitals etc. Again I found myself very much focused on conserving energy. I knew I was going to need everything I had in me to sustain what was about to take place in my body. I had arrived at the hospital by 9:45 pm, at this point it was about 12:15 am and the traffic of people coming in and out had stopped and we were all left kind of in limbo. We did not know yet when I was going to get in. The lungs had just arrived at that point but several things needed to happen. More tests and match of anti-bodies, blood type and sizing all needed to be confirmed......We all gazed at the clock incessantly and wondered; I felt I needed to rest and Heather was so tired she laid with me on the bed and we both fell asleep. My brother followed and Chris stayed up filming. We woke up around 3:00 am and realized several hours had passed. Heather wondered if they had found something unexpectedly wrong with the organ; I knew that was a possibility, however, I had previously redirected this scenario in every affirmation session I had engaged in and I went again to dismiss it by locking myself into place with my frame of mind. At this point Heather decided to ask a nurse for an update. Surprisingly, the nurse responded: " Oh everything is set and ready; he is scheduled for surgery in the next few hours".
Well I guess this is it, I said to myself; we all looked at each other in a bit of despair; I would call this excitement because really this is how I felt. In the next 20 minutes an IV will be hooked to my arm, my vitals rechecked and a bed will roll in to take me to the operating room. I got one last coughing attack as I was getting transferred from bed to bed. This is something I will no longer experience, I said to myself. The anesthesiology team came to meet me and talk a bit about the drugs to be used and of course, sign some more paperwork as part of the protocol. All kinds of risks are involved in such type of surgery and so everyone needs to be clear about the facts. It's about 3:45 am as I'm rolled out of the room and my brother, Heather and Chris, with camera on hand, are following me until we hit the restricted doors. The doctors explained they still had not taken the lungs from the other body and there was still a chance they may need to abort. I kissed and hugged everyone, it was particularly hard for Heather and I totally understood what was going through her mind. I could sense a little fear as I gaze deeply into her eyes, I knew I was going to come back soon enough and we will be able to plug into our love for life and into our family. I whispered in her ear not to worry and locked into the sweetest kiss. I briefly made eye contact with my brother for one last affirmation exercise and never said good bye; I said I see you all tomorrow. I raised my fist and called for my brother a famous Che Guevara quote "Hasta La Victoria Siempre". The doors locked behind me but the entrance to my new life was just about to open up.
Once I got into the room I decided to focus on my mental state and immediately started reciting my mantra. "The Breath of Life Will Easily Flow Through Me". The team in the room made me feel so relaxed right away, we chatted and made small talk as I was getting connected to all kinds of different little apparatus and a few more IVs. I kept focusing on my breath and momentarily reflected on my good old lungs while in my mind demanded for some neurons to fire on immediately the proper commands for the new ones to get on with the program. I think about it sometimes and I felt a little crazy but good crazy! Finally one of the anesthesiologists asked me: "How are you doing buddy?" I said good. "Do you need something" he said as he heard me mumbling my mantra and I said "No thanks I'm just meditating out loud". "Well alright I'm going to give you something to relax you a little, Okay?" I said sure.
All I remember is saying my mantra a few times before everything went out but just right before I would completely surrender in a split second I wondered, how many dimensions would I transcend and if anything would change while traveling on the journey ahead. Finally I'd said let's go.
On January 15th will be 4 months since my surgery; my body has done so much and so well it is beyond anything I can explain. Nothing is mundane anymore and life is priceless as everyday I get to take the biggest breath while I listen to Kaya's little voice: "Papa let's get up and play a game". I've been playing it rather well.
Come back soon for Catching my Breath: Part-5 "Coming Back From Space Travel"