Interview with Pauline DeLuca

Interviewed by Stacy Morin on November 1, 2002

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

 

Pauline DeLuca, age 49, had her lung transplant on January 6, 2001 at Duke Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina. A mother of two, a wife, and a full time employee, Pauline is doing well today. She originally is from Massachusetts, but is now living in Raleigh, North Carolina and working in Cary, North Carolina. Pauline grew up around Worcester, Massachusetts, but was born just over the Connecticut line. She also spent some time in Sutton, Massachusetts and Westborough, Massachusetts. Pauline has two daughters, ages 18 and 22, and she describes the relationship between her family as “very close.” In 1980, Pauline was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis after she had x-rays taken at a dentist appointment. Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease that can affect many areas of the body, not just the lungs. It is a disease of the immune system that makes the body fight against itself, thinking it has an invader and killing the healthy tissue. For most people, this disease can be combated with a regimen of steroids, but for a small percentage, a transplant may be the only answer. For Pauline, a lung transplant would be her saving grace.

 

Excerpts from Transcript

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

Excerpt 1

 

Background: 

This quote deals with Pauline deciding to get a transplant and her perspective on the situation. It shows her strength and her ability to do what’s best for her. It shows how she was living and what she wanted to do for herself and how she decided to get on board with having a transplant even though her family was not sure of it.

 

Excerpt:

Still, that much time of quality life versus I don’t know how much time of this life that really sucks. All I do is sit around all day with an oxygen mask, with an oxygen tube up my nose. I can’t do anything. I can’t go shopping. I got to the point where I needed a wheelchair to go shopping with my daughters at the mall. You know, that’s not life. That was not a quality life to me. I didn’t want to keep living that way. So I was really…didn’t take me long to get on board and then once I decided I was all positive. I mean this was the way to go. This was going to happen and everything was going to be fine.

 

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

Pauline talks about the issue of support groups and shows how she found support in other people using this as one of her coping strategies. It also gives her perspective on how beneficial support groups are.

 

Excerpt:

But that support group was very beneficial, very beneficial because you actually talk with people who have been through it. You could ask them questions. “Well was there pain? What about this? What about that? What was your…how are you doing on recovery? Did the incision hurt you?” Everybody was very forthcoming with information. Everybody wanted to talk about it, wanted to share, it was great. Support groups are awesome.

 

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

This quote addresses the whole issue of donation and telling people that you are a donor if that is your desire because when it comes down to it, the family makes the decision. And if they do not know that you are interested in becoming a donor, then it can make for a very hard situation like it was for the donor in Pauline’s case. The girl didn’t tell anyone and when the family was asked, they were torn about what to do until they found it on her license that she wanted to donate.

 

Excerpt:

But, had they not been able to convince him and no one had checked her license, she wouldn’t have been a donor. So the lesson to be learned from this is that make sure your family knows your intentions before something happens because they’re the ones who make the decision, not you. And if you really want to do it, you better make sure that they know about it.

 

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

This excerpt illustrates Pauline’s outlook on life. There was a lot that she learned and I thought that this was an interesting statement that is true for everyone, not just people who go through an experience like Pauline’s.

 

Excerpt:

I realize that you don’t live forever. Sometimes I feel like I’m on borrowed time. That even though I feel so good, it can be snatched away in a second.

 

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Excerpt 5

 

Background: 

This quote deals with the quality of life that Pauline experiences today. It is interesting how everyday stuff that we take for granted and things that we don’t enjoy doing, Pauline is thrilled about because she couldn’t do them before. She said her quality of life is one hundred percent better now and she feels like her life is as normal as anyone else who is her age.

 

Excerpt:

And in reality, I have not breathed this well, like I said, since I was a teenager…But just the quality of life. Just being able to carry laundry up the stairs. Being able to do the vacuuming. Basic stuff that you don’t think takes a lot of energy that takes a tremendous amount of energy and you just don’t realize it because you’ve got the lung capacity to have some residuals so if you exert you’re lung will work a little harder, you get more oxygen, everything’s fine.

 

 

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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