It’s 11:45 pm and I am not yet sleeping. In the past week or so, my number on the transplant list has jumped from seventh to fourth! The phone can ring at any time. Being in the top five means the “call” can be in an hour, a day, a week or a month. One has no way of knowing. I can’t sleep. And I am not afraid. It’s just that every time the phone rings, I don’t know who will be on the line. It could be a girlfriend, the newspaper boy, a telemarketer, my kids, my Uncle Hershey, or a brilliant surgeon telling me they have lungs waiting for me and to get to the hospital immediately. I can’t sleep but I am tired. I don’t even know how I am writing this. I guess I need to talk to someone. So, I am talking to you, dear reader.

I will be facing a double lung transplantFor the past 13 months, since I was accepted into the transplant program, I have bided my time, used my time, cried sometimes, laughed quite a bit and had some frustrations. But on the whole, I have been pretty calm. That’s really not like me. I complain when my back hurts or my feet ache. Yet somehow I don’t complain about my breathing problems or the fact that I will be facing a double lung transplant, a procedure that could take up to eight hours and ultimately is a life-changing experience.

Maybe I am used to life-changing experiences. My life changes everyday. Coincidentally, since I have known the Chabad rabbi here in Montreal, the changes have always been for the better. For me, a life-changing experience can be a very small thing. Like recognizing the song of a bird that I never knew before or - get this - cutting my hair short after fifteen years .

You know, as I write this, the phone could ring (I must have mentioned that already). For the past two days, as time is closing in, my children, husband and friends have displayed more anxiety than I’ve ever seen since this journey began. Perhaps this is harder for them. They are waiting for the surgery to finally happen and to see me overcome it, intact, praying that nothing goes wrong. I pray every day. Maybe I am just as frightened as my family and friends because little by little, I feel that my physical world has become smaller. My physical abilities have diminished. Just brushing my teeth before bedtime, sometimes, is just more than I want to handle.

What do I say to my husband and children before they wheel me in to the surgical unit?I believe in one thing though. Do what you are required to do, with an open heart and respect for G‑d. This is what He wants from us. It’s not more complicated than that. My perception has started to become even clearer recently. We spend so much time worrying about all kinds of things. Believe me, when it comes down to waiting for a call that can extend your life and improve its quality enormously, many pre-conceived problems and mundane worries seem to depart without a trace.

But there is one thing I worry about. As I project into the hopefully-near future, what do I say to my husband and children before they wheel me in to the surgical unit? There’s a thought. What does one say to comfort them? As for myself, I will be asleep and in good hands during my transformation. But they will be a in a waiting room for many hours. They are terrified that they will not see me again, G‑d forbid. I know it’s not comfortable to acknowledge but I am telling it like it is. So what will I say?

I don’t have an answer yet. I will obviously tell them to try not to worry and that I love them. But I am trying to come up with something “deep” and “meaningful” to leave them with while I go into the operating room. So far, I have thought of nothing. As for my very own course of action when that moment comes, I will probably recite the Shema, the foundational Jewish prayer, in my mind or with my lips, until I am out like a light.

Soon, my world will radically changeSoon, relatively speaking, my world will radically change. I don’t know when. Thirteen months ago I was number twenty-one on the list. Now I am number four. Soon, my phone will ring. It will be one of my children, a friend, a telemarketer, the newspaper boy, or a brilliant surgeon telling me that they have found a match for me. But that call will not originate from the surgeon’s office. It will come from G‑d.

And He’s had my number all along.