Gym visits piv­otal in trans­plant wait

KEEP­ING FIT AND HEALTHY CRU­CIAL TO CHANCES

Weekend Courier - - Street Watch -

A GROUP of well-mus­cled men file through the gym doors, fold­ers in hand and ex­chang­ing ban­ter.

They look fit, but all are walk­ing into a hospi­tal gym car­ry­ing oxy­gen con­cen­tra­tors.

Many of the men are keep­ing them­selves ac­tive as they wait for a phone call to let them know a life-sav­ing lung trans­plant is fi­nally pos­si­ble.

Delha Tuwhangai, of Leda, re­cently re­ceived such a call and pre­pared for surgery, only to find out the or­gans were un­suit­able.

So he con­tin­ues to wait, re­liant on oxy­gen around the clock. He has been given one of four new com­pact oxy­gen con­cen­tra­tors that were pur­chased with money fundraised by the Heart and Lung Trans­plant Foun­da­tion.

The newer ma­chines are qui­eter and more dis­creet than a heavy oxy­gen tank.

Mr Tuwhangai said: “When I go shop­ping, I take this. It doesn’t look like some­thing out of a space movie or like I’m a deep-sea diver. It just looks like a suit­case, so I look like I’m a tourist.”

The fa­ther of three wel­comed his first grand­child five weeks ago .

He said keep­ing up his fit­ness and watch­ing his diet were im­por­tant.

Mr Tuwhangai was di­ag­nosed with chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease (COPD) in 2012 af­ter he went to the GP with swollen legs.

In ad­di­tion to med­i­cal ap­point­ments, he at­tends Fiona Stan­ley Hospi­tal’s lung trans­plant unit gym twice a week as part of his phys­io­ther­apy pro­gram.

Ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralia and New Zealand Car­dio­tho­racic Or­gan Trans­plant Reg­istry, 90 peo­ple were on the wait­ing list for lung trans­plants at the end of 2015 into the start of last year. The lat­est re­port will be re­leased in April.

To reg­is­ter as a bone, tis­sue or or­gan donor, visit www.donor­reg­is­ter.gov.au.

Delha Tuwhangai is keep­ing him­self fit and healthy while he awaits a lung trans­plant.

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