Go ahead and call it a miracle.
Although I've never met Fred Rahmanian of Berks County, he now has a new pair of lungs. Transplanted by the team at Penn Medicine, he, along with wife, Pam, are jubilant. Sadly, in order to receive the transplant, the original owner must die. What a tragedy! In time, Rahmanian will compose a letter thanking the family.
Every morning while awaiting news of whether a set of lungs would come through for him and his three children, Pam would be an intermediary at Penn Medicine. At stake was, Had Fred recovered enough from Covid-19 to become a good enough candidate? These instantaneous decisions were tough on her. But, yes, he was strong. Stronger than both of them knew. He spent about 20 days in the ICU. And other hospitals, as well. Would he ever go home? Immunosuppressants kept the new lungs from being rejected. Without these drugs, his gift would be undone.
I, myself, had a kidney transplant in 2010 from my daughter, Sarah Lynn Deming. Sarah and I are familiar with the meticulous procedures, as she donated her one precious kidney to her mom.
What's fascinating about Fred Rahmanian is he must always wear his mask. If they visit a favorite place, the mask stays on to protect himself and everyone around him.
Before getting Covid, Fred had no issues with his lungs. He was in good shape. What surprises life offers as we get older! The first challenge, said Dr. Christian Bermudez, a thoracic surgeon at Penn Medicine, was: Is the operation appropriate for a Covid patient? Yes. Recovery was very difficult.
At first, Fred could not move his legs or walk. He could not speak as he was weaned off his tracheotomy. Even when he was out of the rehab hospital, said his doctor, he had lost about 50 pounds and could not eat or drink. He needed to stay close to the rehab in case he had a relapse. He was cleared to go home in March. Home! Fred watched his children graduate and lead normal lives.
You might say, it takes a village. A village of the most talented, expert, optimistic people in the world. Can this possibly last for good?
Ruth Z. Deming