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I spend so much time in hospital, I moved house to be closer to it.

Byline: By JANE PICKEN Health Reporter

ONLY a new set of lungs will save grandmother Lorraine Macari's life.

Experts at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital have tried every treatment possible for her chronic asthma and they now believe a transplant is the 57-year-old's only option.

Grandmother-of-seven Lorraine, from High Heaton, is now on the waiting list and has, for the past three months, been desperate to hear the news a suitable donor has been found.

Without a new set of lungs Lorraine's breathing could fail at any point, as vital tubes in her lungs close, and the mum-of-three has ended up on a ventilator in intensive care six times.

"I'm frightened every day and night that my breathing will fail, and I can't go to sleep lying down in case it stops," Lorraine said.

"But now doctors have said a transplant is my only option because they can't guarantee they can save me every time this happens.

"Even the doctors are frightened because they don't know what is going to happen. I didn't want to have a transplant initially but now I know it will give me a chance to spend quality time with my grandchildren, which I've not been able to do because of my health."

Lorraine, who was forced to give up work as a child minder because of her health, has suffered from asthma since she was 14, but her lungs started to deteriorate from the age of 29.

In November she was rushed to hospital when her breathing deteriorated during a Cliff Richard concert in Newcastle.

"Now I carry my medicine, and breathing equipment to help take it, with me whenever I go out," said Lorraine, who lives with husband Jimmy, 52, a retired driver.

"I've been on ward 29 at the Freeman so many times and two years ago we even moved to a house just behind the hospital because I was spending so much time there.

"Having chronic asthma to this degree has changed my life forever. I can't control my breathing if I fall into a deep sleep, so most nights I'm sitting up too frightened to go to sleep.

"Now I'm just waiting for the call to say they've found a donor and every time the phone rings I panic thinking this could be it."

There are around 45 lung transplant operations carried out at the Freeman every year. Around 130 people in the North East and Cumbria are waiting for heart and lung replacements.

Heart and lung transplant co-ordinator Lynne Holt said: "Life on the transplant waiting list is some times more stressful than after a transplant because the patients live with the fear that time might run out."

To register as an organ donor visit www.uktransplant.co.uk or call 0845 60 60 400.

CAPTION(S):

HOPE: Lorraine Macari, above, pictured with her grandson Jay Macari, left, suffers from chronic asthma and fears she will die without a lung transplant operation PICTURES: LEANNE HOLCROFT www.icNewcastle.co.uk/buyaphoto ref: 01176381; LOVE: Lorraine and grand children Kaylee, Jay and Ewan
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2007
Words:509
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