It's the simple things in life that matter. Although a somewhat late delivery, today, my best friend, Julie, sang "Happy Birthday" to me.
In December 2003, Julie received a lung and liver transplant. After her road to recovery, she's led a (mostly) normal life with all of its ups and downs. Last Thursday was one of those downs.
Thursday morning, Julie's boyfriend could not wake her up. She was unconscious for the better part of the day, even once she'd been stabilized at our hometown hospital. By Friday afternoon, she'd arrived at Duke by helicopter. In her sleep on Wednesday night, Julie aspirated something into those wonderful transplanted lungs, which were already strained.
She spent several days sedated with a feeding tube and on a ventilator. It was hard to watch. Julie's sprightly, bossy and ultimately, very in control of what's going on around her. Yesterday, they brought her off sedation and took out her feeding tube and ventilator. Since then, she's been turning into her old self. Whereas yesterday, she could hardly lift her own arms, today she could roll herself over in bed. Yesterday, she could hardly interact with company, today she greeted each of her visitors by name.
She managed a few jokes, and so did I. When I asked her if she wanted me to sing for her, she vehemently shook her head no. That's status quo - she hates my singing (and always has)...and my whistling for that matter.
And, despite being fairly exhausted, she pulled me to her for a hug and sang to me. I mean, it didn't sound all that great, but it's the gift that counts, right?