Interview with Lori Hughes

Interviewed by Chad York on November 1, 2002

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

Lori Hughes was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  She grew up in Pearisburg, Virginia, and moved to Indiana after college with her husband. Lori suffered from Cystic Fibrosis, and that is what eventually led to her transplant.  She received her double lung transplant in 1997, and has not experienced any rejection since then.  Lori now lives in Lawndale, North Carolina with her husband and her two year old son.

Excerpts from Transcript

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

Excerpt 1

 

Background: 

During the interview I asked Lori Hughes how she was treated by her teachers when she was in school.  This is an excerpt from her response.

 

Excerpt:

I had one teacher in high school that I remember, her name was Mrs. Floyd and she was my gym teacher in 8th grade.  And she sort of coddled me and always reminded me that I didn’t have to do something if it was too strenuous or whatever, and I really didn’t like that. My gym teacher in 9th and 10th grade you know, told me at the very beginning she said,  “You know yourself better than I do and you know if you need to sit out, I’ll understand but do whatever you want.” And I kind of liked that better you know than being coddled, cause like she said I know myself, and I know what I can do.

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

Lori Hughes gave this reply when I asked her what her initial reaction was to learning she needed to be evaluated for a lung transplant.

 

Excerpt:

I get a little short of breath here and there, and you know, and I can still function pretty normally and so at that time it was sort of like, “Why do I need to get evaluated for a lung transplant”?  But then as it starts snowballing I think it just gets, you know as a snowball goes downhill it gets bigger and goes faster and faster and that is what happens with your lung capacity.  It just goes downhill so fast, and you are sort of like, one day you are fine and the next day it’s like I can’t breathe at all.  So, I just remember just getting to a point where I thought well okay it’s getting worse and it’s worse. So I might as well go in and start doing the tests for it, for the transplant.

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

I asked Lori what the preparation process was like going into the transplant surgery.  She responded with this amazing story.

 

Excerpt:

But then my blood couldn’t be thin for the transplant, so what they had to do was they had to come in and give me a shot of vitamin K.  And basically vitamin K has to be given very, very slowly through the vein or it can make your heart stop.  And they gave it to me too fast, and that is what it did.  What happened was, they started giving it to me and I told them my chest was burning, and that I couldn’t breathe.  And my husband said I basically turned blue and passed out.  Then they ushered him out of the room and at that time, I have what I feel, I call it my out of body experience.  I didn’t do the “go towards the light” or anything like that.  But I was aware that I was somewhere else.  I wasn’t looking down on myself, I couldn’t see anybody, I could hear them, and I could hear them saying, “Hang on, come back to us.”  You know, “You’re going to be okay.”  And I remember thinking to myself, “I’m trying, I’m trying to come back.”  And I didn’t feel anything, I couldn’t feel any pain, but I just know that I wasn’t, I was just somewhere else, you know, not really in with my body any more.

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

During the interview with Lori Hughes I asked her if she had experienced any rejection after her transplant.  She responded with a story of a scary mix up from her hospital nurse.

 

Excerpt:

Well, one time they called me after one of my biopsies and she said, “You have mild rejection.”  And she said, “There is nothing you can really do about it.”  And I was like, “Oh man, that’s bad.”  (laughing)  And about 5 minutes later she called me back and she said, “Oh, I read your report wrong.  You have Bronchitis.”

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Excerpt 5

 

Background: 

When I asked Lori Hughes how she felt about her transplant right after the procedure, this was her response.

 

Excerpt:

 

And I did tell my mother at one point, that I had felt like I had made a mistake.  Because I was like, “It has not gotten any better.”  And she was like, “No, you didn’t make a mistake.  It’ll get much, much better.”  Now my first breath off of the ventilator felt very good. Some people say that it was better right away, but for me it wasn’t, it took a while to build up and get to where I felt like I was better.

 

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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