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Mum's long struggle for breath

By Leonie

I feel that the sad stories need to be told as well as the successful and happy ones.

Mum was a 58 year old who had never smoked in her life.  She loved the outdoors and her family.  At the time of her death, her grandchildren were four and two.  My twin sister and I were twenty-seven and our brother was nineteen years old.

Six years ago, Mum had to quit work because of her shortness of breath.  She went from being able to get out on her own, to only being able to get out with me (Leonie) – her carer.

Mum was placed on oxygen at home in January and after three months of going through tests at the Alfred Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic she was placed on the organ transplant list.  We were told the average waiting time for Mum’s lung size and blood group would be three years.

After numerous hospital stays and discharges, we expected Mum to come home to be with us last November.  She was discharged a final time and came home on a Friday, only to be readmitted on Sunday.  Mum was moved to ICU in a bigger hospital and decided that her five-year struggle had to end.

Mum was put on a ventilator (her wish) in the hope of removing excess CO2 from her blood stream.  A week after trying everything we could, exactly two years and three months after being listed on the potential lung recipients list, we (her children) made the decision to turn Mum’s ventilator off.