My Thanksgiving Blessing

Back in 2002, my husband was put in a ventilator to help him breathe – on Thanksgiving morning. A few days before, he was admitted to the hospital with walking pneumonia. It wasn’t until they placed a chest tube during the 3rd day that my worse nightmare and my true blessing happened.

Due to his end stage Cystic Fibrosis (CF), his lung function was around 30% and steadily falling. On the Friday before Thanksgiving, I knew something was terribly wrong as the Hubs woke with a lower back pain at 3am and asked that I get him a heating pad.

By Monday morning, he had not slept in days and under his eyes was turning black and green. He couldn’t get up to cough in the sink as per his normal routine and he was barely able to get up off the couch to go to the bathroom. I grabbed his shoes in that instant and knew we could not wait until the next day’s doctor’s appointment. My fear was confirmed when he couldn’t even bend over to put his own shoes on.

As everyone else was making plans for their turkey dinner, we were sitting in a hospital room praying that my husband would get better. Then Thanksgiving Day came and I was called by the hospital in the middle of the night to be told Hubs was put on a breathing machine. My heart sank as I called his parents to give them the news and plan to meet them at the hospital.

After 4.5 weeks at 2 different hospitals, 24/6 dialysis, one tracheostomy, one g-tube placement and countless other procedures, the Hubs was released from the hospital. He was release the day after Super Bowl Sunday 2003 and brought home on all types of breathing and feeding machines known to mankind.

It took 9 months to get him off the machines and back on 4L of oxygen. The journey was long but it left a huge scar on my mental stability.

Sure, the Hubs is in great health today – after years of illness and a miracle double lung transplant in 2004. However, I must admit that Thanksgiving has never been the same since 2002.

Every year I dread the holiday and watch my husband for any signs of a cold or bug. When I hear him even cough slightly, my heart stops and I have to shake my brain back into realizing that each Thanksgiving shared is now a blessing.

My husband lived through that Thanksgiving and 8 Thanksgivings since then. His life is a blessing and being able to have that many more holidays to share with him is what I am most grateful for. His is my love, my best friend and the man I want to spend another 50 years with in this world.

He is my Thanksgiving blessing.

After her husband received a double-lung (bilateral) transplant in 2004, Shannon founded the Angel Cove Organ Donation Awareness Shop, which provides awareness t-shirts and gifts products for transplant recipients, living organ donors and donor families - giving 100% of the profits to help heart and lung transplant recipients with medical costs. Shannon lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her wonderful husband and two chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

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