Pulmonary Fibrosis is a surprise caught on a scan at the doctor’s office. It’s hearing the phone ring and watching your mom cry on the front porch for a while after hanging up the phone.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is kids in the back seat of a suburban parked on a dirt road being told their mom is sick and will need a transplant to survive. It’s confusion and worry. It’s growing up scared of germs and of giving your mom the cold that everyone is passing around at school.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is hours and miles up and down I-45 for doctor’s appointments and hospital stays. It’s copays and deductibles. It’s countless prescriptions to slow disease progression and alleviate symptoms.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a mom praying she sees her kids graduate high school. It’s a mom that masks her exhaustion with makeup and a smile so that she can take care of her family and serve her church so faithfully. It’s attending football games, marching band competitions, and county fairs. It’s teaching Sunday school, serving at youth retreats and mission trips until your need for supplemental oxygen becomes too great to leave the house for extended periods of time.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is becoming homebound and losing your independence. It’s being told your chances of being matched for a lung transplant are slim, and your chances of surviving that transplant are even slimmer. It’s realizing and being wrapped up in the love and support of the amazing community you live in.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is hanging on long enough to see your daughter get married, and being admitted into the hospital on her wedding night because the pain has become too much to bear. It’s a newlywed curled up in her dad’s lap watching her mom sleep, whispering “I’m not ready for this.” It’s everyone taking turns snuggling up to mom and soaking up every hand hold. Every kiss. Every hug.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is being released from the hospital only to return a few weeks later. It’s pulling out of the driveway with the love of your life for the last time as she takes one last look around the farm. It’s being admitted to the ICU and learning the names of all the nurses on the floor. It’s making friends with other families in the waiting room and knowing what cookies to grab at the cafeteria.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is saying goodbye to the strongest woman I’ll ever know as hospital staff prepare to intubate. It’s waiting seven days in hopes that new lungs would come, but they don’t. It’s family and the best of friends waiting in a room down the hall telling stories and reminiscing as we, my dad, my brother, and I, surround Mom’s hospital bed with tears and love and
“You can go home now, Momma”.