Life in the fast lane21 November 2016
Those mesmerising first few chords play through the radio of the rented Chevrolet, the sun beams through the windscreen and the 110 freeway lies ahead of me.
I feel that lump gather in my throat; I get lost in the track that plays and my mind wanders to a place where it often does … it wanders to my donor and, as the music continues to flood into my ears and plays in my mind, the tears begin to well within my eyes. First the right eye; a salty, watery tear rolls down my cheek and a smile gathers on my lips.
You see, we aren’t even a verse into the Eagles classic, Hotel California, but already I am filled with the same deep gratitude that strikes me boldly so often: my gratitude to my donor, to her family and to the life they have given me.
I am driving in California and I am listening to Hotel California as the road to Hollywood stretches ahead of me. And the tears stream, and my smile beams brighter and my mind is filled with such giddiness, such thankfulness and joy. I am sitting in the car with two of my best friends, we share a song all knowing exactly what is on my mind and what is on their minds too. How fortunate I have been, how incredibly happy I am in this moment.
I received my lung transplant almost five years ago. Since then I have travelled the world – and I continue to travel. I have been round Europe,Australia, New Zealand, Las Vegas and Morocco. I have stood underneath and gazed at the magnificence of the Eiffel Tower. I have watched majestic gondolas paddle by me in Venice. I have climbed to the peak ofan active volcanic mountain in New Zealand. I have danced in the grandest casinos in the world. I have stood in the footprints of Marilyn Monroe and danced my heart out in the magical Disneyworld whilst dressed up like Alice. I have stood and watched the fireworks burst ever so brightly over the Sydney Harbour bridge in a million differing colours and directions,and I have swum in the bluest of waters and seen the most magical fishes on the Great Barrier Reef.
A life has become mine that I couldn’t have imagined. I used to watch Alice In Wonderland when I was younger and I often feel I am living in Wonderland, having a second chance to see the world. I wonder to myself whether my donor had once stepped in the places I step; had she seen the sights I see?
I hope she is also getting to see the world through me.