Interview with John Johnson 

Interviewed by Hope McConnell on November 20, 2000

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

 

John Johnson is 45 years old.  He has lived in Roxboro, North Carolina all of his life.  He has a rather large family and most of them live together.  He was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis and treated for it for thirty years.  After his transplant was done, the doctors found that John did not have Cystic Fibrosis, but that he had a rare disease called Pan Bronchiolittis.  This disease is commonly found in Japanese people.  The doctors were very shocked at this discovery, considering that John is an African-American male and has no family that is Japanese.  Besides Johnís case being extremely rare and confusing, the doctors really donít know much about treatment for it.  John was the first male to go on to the waiting list for transplants at Duke Hospital in North Carolina.  He was also the first to be successfully transplanted there.  At the time of the interview, John had been living for eight years after the transplant.  But his disease has come back in the bottom of his lungs and he has been on the transplant list for a second transplant for about two years.   John Johnson is a very strong man who has lived through a lot and is clearly a fighter who beats the odds.

 

Excerpts from Transcript

 

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

 

Excerpt 1

 

Background: 

Johnson was asked what he was thinking after coming out of major, life altering surgery, and his answer added a little humor to the interview.  

HM:  What was your first memory, after you woke up after surgery?

 

Excerpt:

JJ:  I was hungry.  (Laughs)  And I wanted my glasses and my mom had them, she had them in her pocket book and she brought them to me the next day.  I was real hungry, I knew that, and I had a lot of tubes and stuff across me, so I knew I couldnít eat.

 

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

This next excerpt is about the confusion John Johnson felt after surgery.

HM:  Were you confused or anything?

 

Excerpt:

JJ:  A little bit, when I first woke up, I looked around and I didnít know where I was.  But they had told me about the ventilator: donít fight it, just let it work for you.  And so I did pretty good with that. 

 

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

Johnson was asked  to explain his quality of life in relation to the surgery.  

 

Excerpt:

 

HM:  Before the surgery, how would you rate your quality of life?

JJ:  Terrible.  [Laughs]  I couldnít walk.  I couldnít walk from here to outside of the door [about 8 feet] without using oxygen or resting. 

HM:  And after?

JJ:  [Huge smile]  Great. 

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

Does anyone need advice?  This is an excerpt about what John would tell someone who was beginning the process of lung transplantation.

HM:  What would be one thing you would tell them...to kind of help them get through?

 

Excerpt:

JJ:  Keep the faith, and hold on.  That is the hardest part, the wait.  Sometimes you have a short wait and sometimes it is long.

 

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Excerpt 5

 

Background: 

The interview was already over, but John added one more comment.  This quote summarizes the difference the transplant made in his life.  This can give hope to people who are having a hard time with their transplant.  Keep the faith, we are all pulling for you.

 

Excerpt:

JJ:  It's been a great feeling since I got it [the transplant].  Basically I can hunt and fish and do the things I want to do in life.

 

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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