Interview with Barbara Stepp 

Interviewed by Jamie Goebel on October 27, 2000.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

 

    Mrs. Barbara Stepp is an older woman.  She is married with no children.  She grew up in North Carolina and moved back and forth from New Jersey and North Carolina.  She went to college and became a social worker.  Mrs. Stepp is involved with her church and enjoys continuing her recovery at her rehabilitation center.  She now resides in Durham, North Carolina so she can be close to her family.  Mrs. Stepp had suffered from Chronic Pulmonary Obstruction.  She first had to be put on oxygen and then was evaluated to join the waiting list at the University of Pennsylvania for nine months.  After deep consideration, Mrs. Stepp and her husband moved back to Durham, North Carolina, and she was put on the transplant list for Duke Hospital.  Eight months later on August 17, 1998 she received her lung.  She celebrates her transplant with a “birthday party” every summer.  She is in fine condition and gets better every day.

 

Excerpts from Transcript

 

Excerpt 1 | Excerpt 2 | Excerpt 3 | Excerpt 4 | Excerpt 5

 

Excerpt 1

 

Background: 

 

Barbara Stepp  talks of her feelings and thoughts when she found out she had to get the transplant.

 

Excerpt:

 

It was like, well this is something you have to do.  I mean…I guess I don’t know how I really looked at it.  I mean, it was almost like well you need a lung transplant, okay you get a lung transplant you’ll feel better and then you go on with your life.  I never thought of any limitations that it would be the life expectancy for any of that. It was like if you have a cold, you take two aspirins and go to bed ‘til you feel better.  And that was my, I mean I didn’t take it that lightly, but I knew it was a serious operation and I knew that part of it was very serious. But I just felt that that was something that I had to do.

 

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

 

Explaining how her family responded to the news that she would need a transplant.

 

Excerpt:

 

They were very supporting.  For many… this was something that they heard of but it was like, oh well that happens somewhere else across the country, not right in your own backyard.  And no one was opposed to it.  My family kind of know when I open my big mouth…(Laughs) it is very hard to tell me, when I’ve made up my mind, it is very hard to tell me otherwise and they went along with it. Well, they had no other choice.  But they were very supportive.  And most of my aunts are retired and they were like here and available for coming over and helping me get things done and so forth.

 

My mother has been the greatest support person I have....I think a lot of her encouragement and some of her worries has helped me to where I am now.

 

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

 

Here Barbara responds to the question, "Does anything that stands out in your mind before surgery?"

 

Excerpt:

At some point, now I can’t remember, I know I asked…I asked each doctor that saw me if they believed in God.  And each one of them said, “Yes.”  And it was like, "Okay, you believe in God, I believe in God, okay let’s get this show on the road."  That’s the way I felt. That it was in His hands from then on.

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

 

Mrs. Stepp was explaining how hard it can be to watch a close friend get sicker and how she wanted  to help her out.

 

Excerpt:

 

Some of the people, some of the relationships I have now with people that are from the center I am closer to them than I am to some family members.  And there was one particular friend of mine, she was having such a hard time, it was like…I wanted to say well if I got a call, I just say, “Well can you give it to Laura?”  But it doesn’t work quite that way in terms of testing and so forth.

 

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Excerpt 5

 

Background: 

 

Barbara's response and outlook towards the question, "Looking at the whole experience, how has the transplant effected your life in the long run?"

 

Excerpt:

 

It has definitely made me stop, look, smell, and re-look at all the flowers. I think in some areas I have much more patience then I ever did.  Not that I was an impatient person, but being caught in rush hour traffic doesn’t bother me.

 

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For more information, contact Dr. Mary Jo Festle, Associate Professor of History at Elon University.

Email: festle@elon.edu

This page last updated 11/24/02