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March report

At our March meeting, our secretary Linda – in the temporary absence of our president – welcomed members and introduced our speaker for the evening, David Woolford, and his wife Alison.

The title of David’s talk was “The Air that I Breathe” and told the story of his experience of, and recovery from, a double lung transplant. 

His talk was both informative and unexpectedly amusing.  He was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in 2008, after periods of breathlessness put down to emphysema, and the possibility of a lung transplant was raised.  By then he was confined to a wheelchair – he told us of one amusing occasion when visiting Mottisfont Abbey: Alison was pushing him uphill and had to reverse out of the way of oncoming walkers, but unfortunately she tumbled backwards into one of Mottisfont’s many box hedges! 

On a more sober note, he told us of the time when, with his son Tim, he went to buy a Valentine’s card for Alison, but the shop assistant ignored him and would only deal with Tim.

After collapsing at home he was rushed to Winchester Hospital for tests and then transferred to Papworth Hospital, where after further tests – both physical and mental – he was put on the waiting list for a transplant.  This was in August 2009.  By December that year (two days before Christmas – planned as a big family celebration) he was told to be ready for the call, which came late on Boxing Day evening.  After arrival at Papworth Hospital in the small hours, the operation began at 6.00 a.m. and lasted seven hours.  His first breath with his new lungs he described as incredible!  Since then, life is almost normal:  he takes 17 pills a day and has check-ups at Papworth every six months.

Finally he stressed the importance of organ donation and the need to tell family of your wishes in this regard.  Survival rates after transplant have much improved, and now stand at 50% survival after 5 years. 

David finished by saying he has survived 14 years, and intends to survive for many more!

Next month’s meeting is on the 10th April, the speaker will be Jill Perryman with a talk entitled “57 Cathedrals”.  All are welcome.

Linda Aucock


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