Sunday, December 30, 2007


Babs/Barbs/Bobra was a friend of mine. I first saw her on my very first admission to St Vincent's hospital back at Christmastime 2005. I walked past her dark room and saw a girl so ill she couldn't sleep in bed, but had to sit in a big chair and lean forward. The whole thing freaked me out; I'd never seen anyone that sick. Every time I walked past that room I witnessed very upset people walking in and out, red eyed and tired, sometimes talking with doctors, other times just popping out to make a phone call. I actually couldn't even see Barbs. I spoke to a friend who had transferred over to the adult hospital with me and we both agreed that she was extremely ill.

While I was going about my business, making my own short term recovery it seemed miraculously, she was making a turn too. I don't remember much about the time in between but I remember seeing her Mom packing. Christmas was itchingly close and then I saw her being wheeled out, waving goodbye with a massive bag with all her clutter in it. It was crazy. She had been teetering on the edge, balancing on her baby toe just weeks before and now she was leaving. Going home. Even before I was!

Christmas Eve, I had my own bags packed and was shuffling around impatiently (no change there then!) and I saw her coming back in. With another bag. Not knowing her I didn't want to stare or appear too nosey but it seemed she was back in for another stall. I smiled meekly at her and her mom with sympathy as I got my 'get out of jail' card from the docs.

Some time after I returned into hospital, I was shifted bedrooms and ended up sharing a six bedded with Barbs. Barbs wore glasses, which for some reason I took to mean she probably held a PhD in mechanical engineering or something (talk about stereotyping!). She laughed when I asked her was that true. She didn't hold a PhD but of all the people I have spoken to before, and indeed since, she was probably one of the most mature, intelligent, accepting (of everything), nicest people. She was very funny, and her Louth accent made everything she said make me laugh. She didn't beat around the bush, she had no time for falseness or fakeness and a lot of the time, me! She was direct and said it plainly as it was.

I have so many fond memories of Barbs. One such one was when she was sitting down, with her oxygen on her face, when her Mom jumped up to help the crazy lady in the bed beside her. In doing so, her Mom managed to trip over the Oxygen wire and pull it from Barbs' face. Her Mom was in such a flurry to get over to the crazy loon she didn't have time to see what she had done. I personally found it hilarious as a disgruntled Barbs tutted and readjusted the oxygen. We eventually laughed at it afterwards along with our laughing at the other patients most of whom we considered oddballs.

Barbs had a rough time though. She was waiting for a transplant too, having gone on the list about two months after me. I learned that she had had a pretty bad pneumothorax (collapsed lung) among other things that December I first met saw her. Unfortunately when her lung reflated it decided it didn't much like it that way so deflated again. And again. And again. Eventually she was given a mini chest drain so she could go home and after a LOOOOONG time she had that removed. In between ALL of this she had chest infections and more chest infections and grew 'bad' bugs as well.

I've been transplanted about 18months now, with a lung function of nearly 100%. In those 18months of getting a full blast of air in with every single breath, Barbs has had to struggle. She was on oxygen 24 hours a day and really didn't have the energy to walk at all, apart from when absolutely necessary or when being tortured by Physioterrorsits.

It's a miracle that her body held on for so long nearly two whole years after I saw someone who in my mind wasn't going to make it to Christmas 2005. Yesterday morning, having being admitted a few weeks ago, her body finally needed to just rest. She was only 24. I can't post a picture of her because quite frankly I think she'd kill me. Or haunt me in a really spooky way by throwing spoons at my head or something bizarre.

In the words of Barbara "Every LIFE is worth another. Two words people: Organ Donation".

Rest In Peace.