Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2004 | 4:59 p.m.



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Still More Coolness

The Call

Dr. Sweet and Donna called right on time. It was good to hear their voices. One of the risks of a lung transplant is a condition called bronciolitis obliterans. In fact, ultimately it is what most transplanted people die from. Jasmine had it, and Dr. Sweet had suspected it in the months before her final illness, but we were watching her numbers. Many times it is a slow process. Jasmine's, unfortunately, was highly accelerated. The thing that pushed her over the edge was the last infection -- and we still don't know what the bug was -- which caused severe damage of the alveoli in her lungs. The alveoli, for those of you who are not doctors and don't remember your high school biology, are the tiny air sacs in your lungs that exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. Jasmine's were in very bad shape, very damaged.

They thanked us for letting us keep her lung tissue in a bank for further study. They hope that it will help them find the cause and cure for these conditions. We hope so too. We were also able to donate her corneas and her heart valves. That helps us make some good of her passing as well.

I blurted out my question sort of awkwardly -- the one about whether or not Jasmine's breathing was actively suppressed. It wasn't. It was suppressed to some extent by the sedatives -- I knew that, it always is. That's one of the dangers of sedating someone with lung disease. But if she had tried to breathe on her own, it would not have stopped her. And she wasn't really able to breathe on her own -- her lungs were just that sick, and without the ventilator, we wouldn't have had her as long as we did. Dr. Sweet said we made the choice not to let machines keep her alive any longer. All the post mortem findings support that we made the right decision.

What did I want? Did I want more guilt? Did I want to know we could have saved her? Did I want more confirmation we did the right thing? Do I wish we could have told her she was going to die? Am I just selfishly hung up on wishing I could have said good-bye to her, to have told her I loved her one more time? Why do I still feel so sick about it? Why am I not relieved?

Last night we watched tv for a few minutes before we went to sleep. We were laying in bed and I was just sort of idly changing the channels. I passed the Disney Channel, where Sister, Sister was on -- definitely not one of my favorite shows. It was late, about midnight. I had a strong flashback to sitting in the darkened hospital room with Jasmine, watching those shows with her, wishing I were anywhere but in the hospital. The flashback was so strong, I could smell the smells, hear the sounds, the whir of the feeding pump, the beeps of the IV pumps. And I found myself wishing I could be back in that hospital, in that room watching Sister, Sister if it meant I could be with Jasmine again.

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Recent Entries ...
Go Here - Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006
Short, But Sad Good-bye - Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005
Jasmine's Story ... Our Story - Friday, Sept. 30, 2005
Ache - Thursday, Sept. 29, 2005
Twists & Turns - Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005

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