One man's inspirational battle with devastating illness, financial loss, lung transplantations, and insurmountable complications.
Laura Bichler Hern
Cick here to order!
"This is your only option....It's not a good option, but you will die if we don't transplant right now." All I could do was cry and pray "Dear God! What has happened? Save this man! He is my soul, my life!"
David was a successful, 6ft, 230 pound, 46 year old engineer that was never sick a day in his life. His career was soaring and he was on top of the world! Within one month, he was reduced to a 150 pound shell of a man being kept alive by a respirator. His mind was as sharp as ever.....his lungs were giving out. David was a strong Christian man who was going to be tested time and time again during his two year battle with IPF-Idopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
This is his struggle with his faith, his health, his shattered dreams and his end of life choices. He was an inspiration to every nurse, doctor, surgeon, and lung transplant patient at the University of California San Francisco pulmonary family. His courage, determination, and selflessness will touch the very depths of your soul.
Monday, April 4th. I woke up just before the alarm went off at 5:00am. I scooted over to snuggle with him for a minute. At times he had rested, at times he struggled with the cough. I think he was glad Monday morning had arrived and that he could escape to work, keeping his mind occupied. I got out of bed first, sleepily tripping over the house shoes I put at the end of the bed.
“Laura, will you get me a cup of 7-UP” David said while setting up in bed. I am going to shave and shower.” No problem. I left the house shoes where they were and trotted off to the kitchen. I poured a glass of that sparkling beverage and was walking back to the bedroom when I heard this horrible, low, growling sound and then a loud bump as though someone had slammed a door extremely hard. I ran into the bedroom as David was collapsing onto the bathroom floor. I dropped the 7-UP glass and ran to him. “Dave, Dave, oh my God, Dave” I screamed. He had grabbed the medicine cabinet door as he fell, tearing it off and shattering the glass front. “Oh dear Lord, Dave!” I repeated as I leaned over him. He had fallen face up and while his eyes were open, they were glassy.
He could hear me, but he could not speak. “Hang on David I’m calling 911. Dear God where is the phone? David, stay with me, stay with me!” I frantically found the phone and dialed 911. The second someone answered I yelled “Help him. Help him. My husband has a lung disease and he has passed out. Get an ambulance here now and bring oxygen….he needs oxygen!” My hands were shaking so hard I could barely hold on to the receiver. “They are on their way Sweetheart. Don’t leave me. David. David. Can you hear me?” His lips were blue and he could no longer blink. “Dear God please get the paramedics here now. I am not ready to lose him. Please God, don’t take him away from me now!” I heard the doorbell ring and I ran to answer it. “He needs oxygen” I screamed as I opened the door. “He needs air. Help him.” They followed me upstairs to where David was lying. “Sir, Sir, do you understand me?” the young paramedic said while he was putting a gadget on his finger to measure his oxygen level. “What’s his name Ma’am?” “David, David Bichler. He’s my life, please help him!” I begged.
The second paramedic had gone back out to the ambulance for an oxygen tank and blankets. I kept repeating over and over again “David, I am right here. Stay with me. They are bringing air for you.” Where was the oxygen tank? Why haven’t they got it running? “Please, he needs oxygen. He has IPF. Get him oxygen.” I pleaded. “Ma’am” the second paramedic took my hand and led me across the room so the first paramedic could get the oxygen mask on his face. “Ma’am” he repeated “where is your oxygen tank?” I couldn’t take my eyes off David. Was he breathing? “We don’t have one. He was just diagnosed two days ago at Mayo.” The man let go of my hand and said “Ma’am his oxygen level is 47 and we need to get him to the emergency room as soon as possible. We will bring in the stretcher and get him loaded in the ambulance. We need you to keep the oxygen mask on his face till we put him on the stretcher. Can you do that?” “Yes, yes” I told him. “Just help him. I can’t loose him.”
Looking down at him, I noticed that he was beginning to blink again. “Thank you God! Thank you God! David, can are you able to hear me?” He blinked. The oxygen tank was releasing oxygen with so much force I could feel it in my face. “Don’t worry Sweetie. God is here with us. You are going to the emergency room in the ambulance. I’ll be there with you. You are going to be fine. You are going to be alright.” By that time the men were in the room, loading David onto the stretcher. They told me to grab a coat and follow the ambulance in my car. They carried David down the steps, out the door and into the back of the ambulance which was parked a few steps from the door. I grabbed my coat and car keys and ran out the door. I don’t even think I shut the door. The driver waited for me to back out of the garage. The sirens were blaring, the lights were flashing and my heart was beating outside my chest. I kept repeating the Lord’s Prayer over and over again while following the ambulance to the hospital. Dear God, please don’t take him yet. I love him! I need him! Please dear Lord, save him!