Okay, so this might not come as a surprise to many people given that it is, in fact, 2009, but tonight I thought I'd share an interesting little fact about me:
I have a cell phone.
Yep, that's right. Much like 90% of the general population, I do actually have a cell phone, and, much like 90% of the population, I consider my phone to be a useful tool to help me stay connected to friends and family (and, okay, maybe occasionally some cute guys met in bars, but do we really need to get into that right now? I didn't think so.).
Or, you know, I DID think of my phone that way. Once upon a time, that is, before it magically leapt from its position as a simple, convenient, little electronic device to suddenly become a majestic machine of semi-deity-like power.
In other words, before I got listed for transplant.
Let me explain. See, I'm told that most transplant centers used to provide patients with a beeper to be used solely for THE Call, but those days are apparently long gone. Or at least they are up here in New York, which means that the only thing standing between me and THE Call is, you guessed it: my cell phone. (Actually, to be fair, the transplant team actually has on file not just my number, but also my mother's cell phone number, my apt landline number, and my sister's cell phone number -- any one of which could be used for THE Call should that an organ actually become available. But I'm told they'll try my line first, and I hope to answer.)
So maybe I'm crazy, but this knowledge -- that my phone could ring at any second, and that the person on the other end could have such life-changing news -- has completely changed my relationship with the little bugger. Whereas before I turned my phone off during movies and plays (thinking that even the vibrating sound would be annoying to others) I now simply silence the phone and hold it gently in my lap throughout the show (ignoring, of course, the fact that a ring would involve both vibration and a lit-up screen, and would be 100% guaranteed to annoy basically anyone within about 20 feet). Honestly, two nights ago I sat through a Broadway production of Othello with the d*mn phone resting on my leg the entire time, all the while worried about exactly how I would get out of the theater and home if THE Call did in fact come. (Actually, since the production was pretty lousy, I was also concerned about what it would be like to have to go straight from bad Shakespeare to transplant. I have to say it wasn't a very pleasant thought.) Even worse, my transplant team made it clear that THE Call could come from any number, especially since they often come at night and the coordinators might be on their cell phones. Great. This means that instead of ignoring all numbers not pre-programed into my caller ID (see earlier comment about guys in bars -- I find I sometimes just don't really want to actually talk to them later), I now absolutely HAVE to answer. Has this made me a better a human being? Possibly. Unfortunately, it has also made me an easy target for both telemarketers and chatty strangers.
Ironically, the only calls I CAN ignore are calls I know are from friends, and I honestly hate to do that. So I'm basically at the mercy of this little machine, and I've become surprisingly good at reacting to its whims and needs. Yesterday, for example, I literally took a flying leap off the back of the couch to reach the phone, which was cleverly positioned on the counter behind me, before it stopped ringing. Several days before that I stubbed my toe racing out of my bedroom -- eyes still bleary from my afternoon nap -- to find the thing buried somewhere in the depths of my purse (I missed that one, but it was just an insurance company rep anyway). When I go to gyrotonics, which is supposed to have a yoga-like calm in the studio, I selfishly leave my phone right by my machine, ringer turned on and volume up. Sure, my trainer knows why I do it (and she happens to own the studio, so it works out), but that doesn't change the fundamental fact that I'm breaking the house rules.
I also never really realized how LOUD New York City is until now -- I find myself removing my phone from my bag at random times or in restaurants just to ensure I don't miss THE Call because some trendy new SoHo eatery just has to play its hipster music at ear-splitting levels. I can honestly say that I rarely noticed things like that before I developed my phone obsession -- as a New Yorker, I actually prided myself at being able to eat in the loudest place around without ever actually acknowledging the noise level. My out-of-town guests would scream themselves hoarse trying to make themselves heard from across the 2-foot table and I would simply smile, safe in my belief that their red faces and flapping jaws were simply a sign of their awe over my magnificent City. Now suddenly I find myself dragging family and friends out of the newest hotspot, shaking my fist at the hostess and muttering odd things under my breath about "hearing myself think" and "just no way to run a business."
Okay, fine, not really, but you get the idea.
I guess it just seems like lately I've been adjusting to a whole lot of what I consider "new normal." Not working, lower O2 levels, more doctor's appointments, and even the joys of a PICC again after so many years -- those things are all somehow becoming "normal" for me now. But the weirdest part for me is the small details: having a bag packed for transplant and sitting in my closet, knowing that everytime I eat sushi (which I happen to love, by the way) it could be the last time ever, and, yes, even the way my heart pounds each time I hear that silly ringtone. It's all part of adjusting and adapting to this idea that my life has changed, and that it's actually going to continue to change -- my "normal" in 6 months or a year will (hopefully) be different than my "normal" now.
In the meantime, though, it's definitely time for me to go to bed and get some sleep -- with my phone on the nightstand, of course.
- I am a 33-year-old wife, sister, daughter, friend, law school graduate, CFer, lifelong student of public service, blog writer, patient, Sagittarius, reader, Top chef fan, double-lung transplant recipient (twice!), and dog owner living in Colorado's beautiful Mile High City. I love all things colorful, funny, inspiring, or needlessly sarcastic. I share my city with about 2,500,000 other remarkable people, share my disease with 70,000 other beautiful souls, share my life with some unbelievable family and friends, and share my apartment with one very handsome guy and one really fat mutt with a kick-butt personality. We make it work.
About This Blog:
This blog is about me, my life, my sometimes craziness, my disease, and my current journey as a double-lung transplant recipient. It's also a celebration of everyone out there with CF (and other chronic illnesses). It's for you, inspired by you, and dedicated to you -- the community that keeps me writing, living, and breathing.
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