Fun new things: Picnic with the Pops and Idina Menzel

One of the things I was super looking forward to during the Year of 30 was going to a Picnic With the Pops concert. They used to be held in a city suburb, so I’d never been able to go. But this year, they moved downtown to the new Columbus Commons, and when I saw that Idina Menzel–who guest stars on Glee and originated the roles of Maureen (Rent) and Elphaba (Wicked), I knew I had to go.

Apparently, so did about 7,000 other people. The concert drew a HUGE crowd. My sister had the day off so she was able to go with me. It was great to experience this gorgeous concert, our fantastic symphony, and the beautiful evening with her.

Some of the set list:

  • Don’t Rain On My Parade
  • Both Sides Now
  • The Wizard and I
  • For Good
  • Love for Sale/Roxanne
  • No Day But Today

One more thing checked off the life list!

Melanie pre-show

Me and Mel

Idina comes into the crowd. This was very exciting.

“Both Sides Now”

And I have been that awesome person at various points in my life. Rock on. 

Lucky Number Seven

There would BE no Year of Thirty without the actions that took place precisely seven years ago this evening.

Seven years ago it was a Sunday night. I was at home, having gone to my favorite Irish Pub for dinner, and having bought a cute Coach bag, but being utterly exhausted. Normally, something like this would have energized me. But with 20-something% lung function, and sleeping about 14 hours a day (when I wasn’t at work, where I tried NOT to sleep, and usually succeeded), leaving the couch was something I just didn’t want to do. If I managed to get dressed, brush my teeth and hair, and put makeup on, it was a really good day.

My family and I were all watching a movie on TV, and I was taking my evening pills, when my cellphone rang. The caller ID showed that it was my transplant coordinator, Karen. I knew she wasn’t calling me to chat, even though we were friends. She was calling to summon us to the hospital.

A 50 year old woman in Minnesota had died after suffering a brain aneurysm. Her brother (her only family) had decided to donate her organs. My surgeon and his team were flying to Minnesota to see if the lungs were good. We already knew the blood type and body type (size and weight) were the same.

Since we live only 15 minutes from the hospital (in traffic), Karen told us to sit tight. Which we did, until 1 am, when I got the call to come to the ER.  (I didn’t call my friends or family yet–except for my boss and my grandparents–because it might have been a false alarm. That happens sometimes.)

Since I was Children’s first double lung transplant, there was a lot of excitement. But once I got to the floor, it was “hurry up and wait” until the OR was ready for us. We would start before the doc got back, but we couldn’t start TOO early. We had to time it exactly. I actually managed to sleep. The hospital chaplain came and heard my confession, but sadly I couldn’t receive communion because I had to be NPO (Latin, “nil per oram”, nothing by mouth).

At 6, Karen appeared and we headed down to pre-op.

Obviously, it worked, or I wouldn’t be typing this!

But the need for organ donors is HUGE. 19 people die every day waiting. The national list is at 100,000 now, I believe. If it’s not, it’s super close to it. Please, please, PLEASE be an organ donor. Here is all the info you need. It doesn’t cost anything. Age isn’t a factor. You don’t have to be in perfect health. All major religious agree that donation is a morally acceptable–indeed, laudatory–thing to do. I’m an organ donor! (Not that there’ll be much they can use, but…)

Tonight I went to yoga class and worked hard for 90 minutes. Tomorrow, the actual anniversary, I have ballet class. My body could never have done these things before transplant, at least not once I was past the age of fifteen.

Please, consider being an organ donor, so that some family can feel the joy me and my family felt seven years ago.