Once upon a time… Long, long, ago… (i.e before the debut of my Pulmonary Fibrosis.)
When I was healthy enough to move heavy things around with some manner of repetition. I used to help my friends at Who North America, with their booth at conventions like GenCon. (Did I just out myself as a nerd?)
This past week was my first opportunity to help them again since my illness put the kibosh on… well, pretty much getting out of the house and actually living life.
Part of life post transplant, is the reality of having a weakened immune system. Taking pill after pill. Whose sole purpose is to keep your body’s natural defenses from trying to evict the new tenant(s) residing in your chest.
The trade off being that you are also more susceptible to catching an illness.
And getting sick at a con is a pretty common thing for a lot of people. I’ve been lucky to have never caught the con-crud before, but I’ve always had a strong immune system before.
Getting sick means a vacation at Club Methodist for me. To say I was leery of attending when friends started asking if I could go… Is a bit of an understatement.
The exhibitor’s entrance was a type of gauntlet for me the first morning.
I was the first person there. However; I was soon joined by an ever increasing crowd of folks taking their lungs for granted.
I’m a pretty chill fellow most of the time, but the growing nicotine cloud was quickly starting to damage my calm. Slowly but surly being pushed further and further away from the door. I did the rational thing and marched my butt straight on in ahead of time.
The convention center staff manning the door were awesome. Not only did they let me hang out inside until time for the convention to open, but each following day they would be at the door waving me in before I could inhale a puff of smoke.
I’ve found so many are ready to help once they know what you’re going through. Its honestly startling how happy people, whom I’ve never meet before, will get when they learn I’d received a double lung transplant and see how well I am doing.
And walking around like patient zero with an isolation mask on, definitely gets other convention goers curious about how you’re doing.
Even if they didn’t speak. There was a look that said, “What does that guy have and is he contagious?”
I did my best to assured them that they couldn’t catch a transplant from being near me.
One gentleman, seeing my mask, jokingly commented about my needing to see a doctor if I’d already caught the con crud.
I swear his wife’s ear perked up like a inquisitive puppy when I Informing him I’d recently been given a new pair of lungs.
They were from Omaha. Where she works with hospitals and donor networks to procure organs for transplant. She was so excited to meet me. Saying she’d never seen a transplant patient who looked so healthy and asking me a ton of questions.
On a different day. My friend Keith informed a customer, out of the blue, about my transplant. The lady was taken aback. Her mother, a single lung recipient, had passed away almost a year ago. (She chatted with me for a good little while about her mom’s journey.)
What are the odds of meeting those two people at a convention visited by thousands of people from all around the world?
Maybe I should have bought a lottery ticket?
Nah… if lucks a thing, I think I’m spending it the right way here lately.