By Christopher Green
I was not planning on writing for the Blog last night. In fact I was just going to post about the Blackout on the Facebook or over at Democratic Underground, you know talk about rummaging around, looking for the candles and the wind up radio. I really didn’t think it had too much to do with the thrust of the blog.
But when I sit down and really think about it, about how much my life is centered on medical devices, medical devices that need electricity, it becomes something more than unnerving. Even a chance occurrence such as a Blackout can have a profound effect on my life.
Yep. Now, it seems, in pretty much every corner of my life, no matter how small and insignificant it may have seemed to me back when I was a regular walking talking breathing person, I am dependent and restricted because of my attachment to some sort of enhanced Oxygen supply. These items range from my concentrator to that mobile tank I sling over my shoulder or even that big 50-hour tank stashed in the corner of the living room. Whichever one it is, I cannot escape that reality. It is my life.
Just as the tethered ball is defined by the line and the pole, my life is centered on whichever Oxygen delivery device I happened to be attached to at the moment.
Until, that is, I undergo go my Double Lung Transplant.
That realization made me feel slightly less anxious. At least for the moment.
As the blackout dragged on into a second hour, Laurie and I started to assess the amount of Oxygen I had in various tanks stashed around the house. We figured, worse case scenario, I could last almost four full days if things got that bad.
Four days. After that, I would start slowly suffocating as the mucus in my lungs began to take over. You see the O2 keeps the gunk from accumulating in all the nooks and crannies down there in my lungs. I probably wouldn’t die right away but the possibility of an infection would increase exponentially. At the very least, I would be severely limited in my activities, gasping for breath just to walk around the house.
As it dawned on me, because of the Blackout, how much my life revolves around that lifeline in my nose, I came to a few conclusions about my future. Even after I get the Transplant and it is successful, I will still be dependent on technology for my very existence.
After the Transplant, I will be trading in my Oxygen lifeline for a fistful of anti-rejection, immune suppression and anti-biotic medicines. From what I have been told, the amount of drugs I will be taking could push way past ten each and every day for the rest of my life.
The handbook I have been skimming over the last few weeks warns that if I miss just one dose, I could be putting my health in jeopardy. From what I gather, the cumulative drug levels in my system need to be maintained at a certain saturation level and that if they fall below that critical point; my body could breech that medical Maginot Line and start the relentless rejection process.
I do need to know about all the various drugs I will be taking. I need to know how they work, all the possible side effects and everything that could go wrong if I miss a dose.
So, I guess it is time for a reality check.
Because I am compromised, I worry about the world around me. The economic situation is still dicey. It is, at least to my jaundiced eye, not as bad as it was back in the 70’s when the whole country seemed to be teetering on the brink.
Sure, the mood is testy out there but the current crop of politicians is not sounding dire alarms and the “news” media of today provides plenty of distractions to soften the body blows we are taking.
Back then, the way of life for millions of people was evaporating right before our eyes. Jobs along with whole segments of the US Industrial sector were vanishing and we knew they would never come back. Family dynamics that held firm for centuries, for better or worse, were under a relentless attack.
The black and white filmed media world most of us lived in back then made the images even more stark. The crisp HD video color images that make up the daily dose of infotainment passing for news now just seem less ominous to me.
You see it really does comes down to this; all these drugs and oxygen machines cost big bucks and if things don’t pick up, I, just as countless millions of people like me living only because of expensive medical intervention, could very well become a casualty of a deteriorating economic situation.
And that, my friends, is a little disconcerting.
I promise I am not a hopeless pessimist. I just tend to approach something as irrevocable as a lung transplant with as clear and realistic eye as I can muster. Trust me on this; I agree with Martha Stewart in that this transplant is “a good thing.”