This time three weeks ago, on June 7th, I waited with anxious anticipation to learn if my daughter would get her second chance at life. We had lungs!.... But we also had bad weather and the procurement team could not travel. Ugh. We didn't have lungs after all. So I prayed and cried all night long hoping that the lungs would still be viable at first light. I mean after all if our team could not get there in a reasonable time frame, they must move to the next waiting child.
The Texas Children's Lung transplant team worked all night with the LIFEGIFT team to maintain the donor lungs. It is absolutely mind boggling to consider all of the details that must be worked out to procure one single organ. Everything must be set on the donor end with airport take off/return flights, surgeons, operating room times, and the procurement team from LIFEGIFT. In addition, all of that must take place on the transplant recipient end as well. I watched and waited as nurses hustled to give pre surgery meds, draw blood tests, coordinate with doctors, doctors coordinate with anesthesia, anesthesia coordinate with the OR team. It is amazing to me that the details can ever be coordinated effectively. Somewhere at the donor hospital, nurses are gracefully caring for a child and family that have suffered immeasurable grief and tragedy. The nurse/doctors are also working to coordinate with the organ donor organization to procure the organ. (In our case, the lungs). And there could be so many more people involved if there are more than one organ involved.
With the work of the Texas Children's lung transplant team and LIFEGIFT, our miracle arrived on June 7, 2013.
One week later, I saw a miracle unfold from the complete other end of the spectrum. A two year old little girl was admitted to the ICU in the room next to Parson. She was the victim of a "NAT" - non accidental trauma. She was essentially brain dead on arrival but the team would work to save her life if at all possible. When all efforts failed, the family was approached about organ donation. The family decided to donate her organs and LIFEGIFT began the process of transforming this tragedy into a miracle for three waiting children. Her heart, liver & kidneys would be the miracles that three families were waiting anxiously to receive.*
I approached the LIFEGIFT team and invited them in to see what donor lungs looked like one week later. They were appreciative and thankful to see Parson SO alive as she kicked her legs in the air nonstop. I asked if any of them were involved directly in our miracle and I was so fortunate to meet Corey Franklin the donation recovery specialist who recovered Par's miracle lungs. He explained that he spent the night in the airport waiting in constant communication with our transplant coordinator. They talked off an on throughout the night and made arrangements to procure Parson's lungs as soon as weather permitted. Corey then made the flight to get Par's new lungs. Wow - this guy leads a wild & crazy life. He has spent the past two Friday nights as a real life miracle worker. ("Donation recovery specialist" and "transplant coordinator" just do not seem to be proper titles - I am thinking "miracle worker" is a better fit for both.)
Really, I was an emotional wreck watching it all unfold. Thanks to the amazing gift of a donor family, there I was sitting watching my daughter's chest rise and fall with the blessing of her new lungs -- while in the next room a precious little girl was being prepared to go to the operating room as a donor.
While completely lost in my emotions, I watched as surgeons, anesthesia & LIFEGIFT coordinated the miracle in the room next door. My mind kept going to the story in the Bible when Jesus fed the five thousand. I know it is a crazy connection, but so VERY real to me in this moment of a miracle unfolding. I went to the scripture in Matthew 14:13-21 to read it again. So fitting. This is fishes and loaves happening right before my very eyes! I especially love the fact that the disciples tried to tell Jesus how to run the show in vs. 15, but Jesus said "hold up" I have got a greater plan. He fed the multitude with a little boy's lunch AND had leftovers. THAT is what I am talking about. Fishes and loaves. Here lies a little girl who has suffered at the hands of another, but God says, "hold up" I have got a greater plan. For the firsttime in her little life, that child may have felt peace and three other children will live because of her. THAT is fishes and loaves.
The disciples told Him that they didn't have enough food to feed five thousand. I told Him that there was no way the donor lungs would still be available that next morning. But He said "bring them here to me" I have got a greater plan. [Deep Breath] Whew, three weeks later, I am sitting here by Parson's bedside as she sleeps staring at my real life miracle breathing easy. THAT my friends is fishes and loaves.... AND the good news is that there is plenty of left overs for you too.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me."Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. -- Matthew 14:13-21
Main characters AKA "Miracle Workers":
Corey Franklin, Donation recovery specialist of LIFEGIFT
Erin Wells TCH transplant coordinator that was "on call" and worked all night/day for Parson's new lungs
* Donor information mentioned above was provided through the little girl's Aunt.