TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Features

July 23, 2012

Knox Co. man thankful for double lung transplant

Every day’s a new breath of life

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble  Staff writer

Six months after he received a double lung transplant, Isaac Junior Wilder was headed down Master Street in Corbin last Thursday.

His son, Aaron David Wilder, was behind the wheel. Isaac’s grandson, Isaac Wilder II was also in the car, as they headed to the city’s public library.

When they got there, the elder Wilder recalled a time when he spent his time growing up in Corbin, back when the very street they drove on looked a whole lot different.

“When I was a child, I walked up Master Street hundreds of times. I didn’t know until 10 years ago that I had relatives buried in a cemetery up there. If I could walk up that street today, I’d do it now,” said the 66-year-old man, who was born and raised in Corbin.

The ride for Wilder has had its bumps since January. He’s been in and out of the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington for the last five to six months. While he went through the lung transplants with little or no pain, Wilder has suffered from bouts of depression and not wanting to eat. He has to watch what he eats because of diabetes, and there’s the danger his body could reject the new lungs, or develop infection. But Wilder says he feels well now. Well enough for a reunion, or as he puts it, “a celebration of life this weekend.”

It will be held Sunday, starting at 2 p.m., at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Post 158 in Keavy, near Keavy Elementary School in Laurel County. And while this time of year is filled with family gatherings and get-togethers, Wilder says there’s a purpose for the potluck celebration — especially when it comes to the reasons why he’s holding it.

“It’s a short term goal of mine. Everybody wants a family reunion. Everybody wants to go to a picnic. Obviously a lot of my family can meet up with their cousins, and those they haven’t met. And I’ve got so much to live for. My new lungs are proof of that. I want to tell people about the Kentucky Organ Donors Association (KODA) and what they did to give me a new lease on life. And about my spiritual revival with the Lord. I feel He’s using me as a medium to tell people about organ transplants and what to expect,” Wilder said last Thursday during an interview at the Corbin Public Library.

His upbeat outlook on that hot and sticky July day paled in comparison to last New Year’s Eve. Then, Wilder was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that hardens the lungs. He was on the required test to be put on a list of lung transplant patients and passed. But on Jan. 31 of last year, Wilder’s lungs went from 50 percent capacity to zero percent. He was rushed from his Knox County home, between Woodbine and Barbourville, to Lexington, and his family was notified.

To complicate things further, his three grown children live in the Pacific Northwest region, in Vancouver, Washington — across the Columbia River from Portland, Ore. Wilder lived in Washington state and worked at Freightliner in Portland, until he retired in 2007 and moved back to Kentucky.

His son Aaron flew out east to be with his dad, who was put on an artificial lung technique called an ECMO.  Aaron said the technique pulls his dad’s blood into a machine, oxygenates the blood, and returns it back to his father’s body. In time, his dad’s condition worsened. While his family waited for word on artificial lungs to match for the transplant, Wilder had a bad reaction to the medication needed for the artificial lungs. And his body was shutting down.

Good news came from the doctors. Two artificial lungs were located in Mississippi, and were flown to Lexington.

His son Aaron recalled when the family waited.

“The doctors were preparing to prep dad for the lungs. And that time, my dad was saying he was prepared to meet his maker. He was ready to die.”

“Between Jan. 1st and Jan. 13th, I didn’t know if I was going to live. I was at peace during that time, and I went into a sleep. I had a taste of heaven, and I was ready to go,” Wilder noted.

When he awakened, Wilder saw two of the physicians, Dr. Charles Hoopes and Dr. Enrique Diaz, as well as Aaron. It was time for the transplant.

“My son said to me, ‘Dad, if the lungs do not work, do you want to be resuscitated? Do you want to be put on life support?’ And I said, ‘No. I want the lungs.’”

“It was either ‘Get me the lungs,’ or, ‘Let me go,’” stated Aaron.

The double lung transplant was a success. Two days later, Wilder was up and about.

He hasn’t forgotten his new lease on life.

“I call myself a ‘Trice-Born Man’. I was born with my mother, born again spiritually, and born again with these new lungs…I’m going to use this Sunday’s celebration to promote the organ donor program. I’m considered an ambassador to KODA, and we’ll have a lot of information there for people to look at. I want to see my family members and friends sign up as organ donors, because a lot of people are dying because there’s no transplants available,” Wilder said.

If all goes as planned, he’ll have quite a few folks showing up in Keavy this Sunday. Wilder says he has over 100 relatives through four generations.

“Expand that out, and there’s hundreds more. And I have over a hundred people on my Facebook page who’s saying they’ll attend.”

Wilder’s looking forward to the festivities. To the friends and families he’ll see, along with their stories about what they do, where they live now, how their family’s growing, and especially the lives they live.

Each one a simple gift to savor — a gift of celebrating another day of life.

That includes a summertime favorite Wilder’s having on the menu Sunday.

“Smoked chicken on the grill. A friend of mine, a Mason named Boyd Wilson, will be doing the cooking, and he’ll use 40 of those chickens to smoke on the grill. I wish my appetite was better, but I’m looking forward to eat a bit of that. And to tell my story.”

1
Text Only
Features
  • 0708 Kelsey White Miss Ky.jpg Local woman vyes for Miss Kentucky crown

    A Williamsburg woman is among the 32 contestants representing local scholarship pageants from across the state who will vye for the title of Miss Kentucky 2014. 

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0621 Flag Day-Legion.jpg Elks Lodge hosts Flag Day ceremony

    Tri-County Elks Lodge #2826 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America hosted a Flag Day ceremony Saturday, June 14.

    June 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0621 Zip Line.jpg Flying across Sheltowee

    There was a brief burst of laughter as they all joked about signing their lives away, but there was also a hint of nervousness about it.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rose Masters-ALA88 president.jpg Masters elected Legion Auxiliary 88 president

    Rose Masters (left) accepts her president’s gavel from Department of Kentucky Past President Brenda Berry during the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 88’s June meeting.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0619 Smart Shop.jpg Smart Shopping

    Andrew Pennington, 24, born and raised in Corbin, was also born into the retail business, with his parents, Tim and Sarah Pennington, operating the Pennington Block Company.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0616 Nelda Barton-Collings.jpg The life and death of Nelda

    Nelda Lambert Barton-Collings passed away Friday, and, according to U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, “Kentucky has lost a true jewel.”

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0611 storm damage 1.jpg Storm Damage June 10, 2014 Damage reports came from all across the Tri-County area after Tuesday’s storms swept through southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee.

    June 11, 2014 1 Story

  • 0602 Extraordinary Olympics-ceremony.jpg Going for the Gold

    Tisha Duncan received a gold medal at Saturday’s slalom event. Neither she, the spectators, nor those waiting at the finish line seemed to notice or even care that it took her a whopping 78 seconds to get there or that her feet never once touched the ground.

    June 2, 2014 5 Photos

  • 0530 Kristina Smith.jpg KPA intern joins the Times-Tribune staff

    Kristina Smith has joined the Times-Tribune staff this summer as an intern through the Kentucky Press Association.

    May 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0517 KSP Estes.jpg Selling Safety Through Magic

    Long before the days of email, smart phones and social media, one Kentucky State Police pioneer was blazing a trail using innovation and outside-the-box thinking to spread safety messages throughout Kentucky.

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter