Interview with May Parker

Interviewed by Amity Lutes on November 28, 2000

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

 

May Parker grew up in Williamstown, New Jersey, and had a traditional childhood.  There were breathing problems in her family but they just assumed the problem was asthma.  When she was older, she moved to Lexington, South Carolina, with her husband.  She has three children and is in her early 50ís.  The disease that she was finally diagnosed with is called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.  Another student interviewed her several years ago while she was on the waiting list at Duke University, and since that time, she has received a transplant.  She had a very good transplantation experience and at the time of the interview was in good health and good spirits.  Although she has lost several relatives to this same disease, she did not let it slow down her pace of life at all.  She runs her own support group and seems ready to help anyone at any time. 

 

Excerpts from Transcript

 

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

 

Excerpt 1

 

Background: 

This is May talking about some of the first things she remembered right after the transplant was over.  She is explaining how great it felt to be able to breathe after having problems for so long.

 

Excerpt:

Iíll tell you what when they first pulled that ventilator out and I took that first breath of air, it was like unbelievable.  You just canít imagine what it was like.  Yeah, I guess, that was the best thing, just being able to breathe.

 

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

This excerpt is May explaining, after talking about the many friends she has made, that she has lost a lot of friends as well. 

 

Excerpt:

Iíve lost so many friends that Iíve made.  With the transplant and all, itís hard to believe.  Some Iíve never met, but Iíve sat down and cried over them just as hard as somebody I know.

 

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, May is talking about the idea of presumed consent for the donation of organs.  She believes that consent should be presumed, meaning that a person's organs will be used unless they have made it known that they do not want to donate.  Here she is talking about the signing of donor cards.

 

Excerpt:

Well, not even that, whenever you sign your donor card that doesnít do any good.  You could sign ten donor cards and it wouldnít be any good if your family doesnít know about your wishes.

 

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, May is explaining the inactive list.  Her brother is currently on the inactive list, so when he decides he is ready for his transplant he will be up near the top of the list.

 

Excerpt:

Anyone that is going to need a transplant, as far as Iím concerned as soon as possible they need to go get evaluated and put on a transplant list.  That way youíre building time, even though you are inactive, they will call people over you.  You are still going up on the list.

 

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Excerpt 5

 

Background: 

At the end of the interview, May was asked to sum up her whole transplantation experience, and this is the answer that she gave.  

 

Excerpt:

It was worth it all.  Like I said, I would do it again.  I think I have grown as a person because of it.  I understand other people now.  I understand why things happen for a reason, I believe that it always happened like that but I believe it more now.  I think that you can fight just about anything.  Not fight it, but live with it, adapt to it.  You just canít give up.  Thatís the whole point, never give up.  I think that where there is life, there is hope.  

 

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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