The last blog ended with a dream that Clair Sylvia had about a young man. She ‘knew’ his name was Tim and that was bound to him in some way. The fact that she had another person’s heart and lungs powering her body was both exciting and disquieting. Clair was going through all of the feelings and thinking processes that others who have had transplant operation have also gone through. Over time, Clair joined with some of these groups as well as formed one support group of her own.
Still, the thoughts about who had died so that she could live continued to circulate in her head. She also had to contend with the actual changes in her body. The fact that she no longer felt tired or unable to move quickly or bend and stretch was wonderful. The cravings for beer, hot dogs, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other specific foods were puzzling. She hadn’t liked these while she was sick, why did she like them now? The obvious answer to all of the changes she encountered was that she had physically changed. She was now herself as well as someone else. Yet, she was she. The other person was not she, not in control, but still there in so many little ways.
Seeking to connect with her donor’s family was discouraged by the hospital that provided the transplant. They would not even confirm what she thought or knew to be true.
Then another dream occurred. In this dream she saw herself as a man who had turned into a woman, driving fast around a series of curves. Then, leaving the road, sailing across the divide into the oncoming lanes. Flying, falling like in the movie, Thelma and Louise as the plunged into the Grand Canyon. Then finding oneself with a whole new family.” Clair didn’t fully understand the dream until it came to her that she was not the driver. The dream seemed to portray the donor’s, Tim’s, decision to stay in the land of spirits and not return to his ‘real’ life.
Events such as these dreams continued to play in her mind. Her whole perspective on the people who were both close to her and those who came and went in her life took on a new perspective. Now, nobody seemed quite the same as before. Her own vitality and strength, the new self-confidence brought out by her body’s new strength, her questioning all cam into play as she started to question everything. Movies such as Field of Dreams and Ghost had strong emotional impact for her.
Finally Clair found a doctor, actually a Jungian analyst who taught seminars on dreams. Soon she had an appointment. This man was writing a novel about two people involved in a transplant relationship. Soon, a study group was formed. One common realization that came out of this new study group was that each person having had a transplant felt as if they were no longer alone. One person in the group adopted a whole new personality. The use of profanity crept into his new personality. Other reported a number of changes in their daily lives.
The sum-total of this period, the shared experiences, and the constant dwelling upon the subject of who her doner was and what was he/she like became a focus of her life. And, like all things that we focus upon, something had to result from all of that energy. This is what the next post will be about. Dave