I only have two clear memories from the three days I spent on the transplant list. The first is one that scares me whenever I remember it. The second is one I never want to forget:
I wake up from a strong hand rocking my shoulder. I can tell it's night time because all the lighting is electric. The hand belongs to one of the surgeons that has been talking to me over the last few days, he is abrupt, in an efficient way. I don't remember how he delivers the news, I think my brain, that was struggling to remember to breathe by itself, needed some time to wake up. But right behind him was Dee, my transplant coordinator. When the doctor stepped aside, Dee stepped forward and grabbed my hand. She looked into my eyes and, without smiling, said to me "Ellie, we have found you a liver."
The relief. Even my struggling brain could understand the scale of this news and I burst into tears and grinned as wide as my swollen face and lips would allow. I remember my response so clearly because I remember being so proud of myself for using such big words, when thinking had become so difficult. "Why aren't you smiling Dee, are you just managing my expectations?" She said "Exactly Ellie, there is a liver that is a match, the team are on their way to see if it's suitable but until we see it, we don't know if we'll be able to use it." Then she said "But I'm glad you're so happy you cried."
She left me only long enough to phone Paul with the news, then she came right back, grabbed my hand again, and stayed there with me until Paul arrived. Dee and I spoke about traveling, where she'd been, I wanted to go to sleep so badly but I knew she was keeping me awake for a reason. Then Paul burst in, sweating from head to toe after sprinting from his hotel room, 15 minutes away. And the grin on his face!! He came and Dee slipped away to leave us alone.
We were so happy, ignoring that the liver might not be suitable, letting that aspect fade into the background to be faced only if it needed to be faced. Paul's grin didn't fade for a second, and the last thing he said to me, before he had to leave, was that when I was better, he'd take me for ice cream on Penarth pier.
The liver was more than suitable, it was perfect :)