In 2007 our daughter Imogen Oulton (then 9) had a double lung transplant at The Alfred. Six months before, she had been sent home from school in Brisbane with a headache. Over the next couple of weeks she progressively got sicker until she was eventually diagnosed with mycoplasma pneumonia. Imogen was ventilated in ICU for 2 1/2 weeks. We thought we were incredibly lucky when she was able to be taken off the ventilator and was moved back to the wards, but 3 months later she was still in hospital and requiring constant oxygen and a wheelchair. At this stage she was diagnosed with end-stage respiratory failure and bronchiolitis obliterans.
This is when the wonderful paediatric team from The Alfred came in to our life. Glenn and Jacquie flew up from Melbourne to see her and over the next couple of weeks she was accepted onto the transplant list. She was then transferred down to Melbourne and stayed at the Children's Hospital for 3 months while we waited for a donor. The team had originally planned on a heart/lung or double lung transplant from a child, but when no suitable organs were available, they decided to use adult cut-down lungs with her. This proved to be a great success.
After 6 months living in hospital and using a wheelchair, Imogen walked out of The Alfred Hospital only ten days after receiving her transplant. The first couple of days post-transplant were very long and hard, but once she got past these her recovery was a breeze. We stayed in Melbourne for a further 3 months for rehab, and then we returned to Brisbane just in time for Christmas. Imogen was then able to return to full-time school, and apart from two overnight stays in hospital for minor infections, she has been extremely well ever since. We now live on the Central Coast in NSW and Imogen enjoys Nippers, swimming, drama and charging around the streets with her friends and little brother and sister.
In August this year Imogen competed in the World Transplant Games on the Gold Coast - she won four gold medals in swimming and a bronze medal in running. This was a fantastic experience for her. We are so grateful that the paediatric lung transplant team at The Alfred exists and know that we owe everything to them.