It appears we did not wait too long! 01/10/2011
Heart and Soul – One woman’s journey through a heart transplant
Welcome to the weekly blog of a Donate Life Northwest volunteer who has graciously offered to tell the story of her journey through the organ transplant process. She will post to this blog every Monday and Wednesday so you can ride this bumpy road with her.
UPDATE! Our guest blogger remains on the upswing in this new year with her new heart. She is still recovering, but is doing well. We will be sure to keep you updated on her current status as her blog is about 8 weeks behind actual time.
Well, I am very, very glad to report that it does not appear that we have waited too long. In fact I haven’t had to wait all that long at all. I have not been counting the days, but Kathryn says it has been 44 days. I got the call – on my home phone no less (I almost didn’t answer it). It was John, my transplant coordinator. He was very calm. I thought he was calling to confirm that my status change had been accepted. But he said,”they have a heart for you.” I asked if it was a good heart. He replied,”it’s a fabulous heart.” Then the shaking began. Oh my God, Oh my God I kept saying. I am going to the hospital to have a heart transplant. Daunting, it's very daunting. I called my husband who just ran out to do an errand. I call Kathryn at work and argue with her receptionist not to interrupt her as she was with a patient. She said she had,”firm instructions” about this situation (how like my dear friend). I take a shower still shaking. I look at my chest one last time without a huge scar running right down the middle. My hand glides over my defibrillator, a source of comfort and terror and say goodbye. Fred arrives home and bounds up the stairs. Hugs me tight, crying and says, “This is the first day of the rest of your life. It's all good.” That was nice, but got me going. I think about my day. It was a good day, slept in, breakfast in bed, nice walk admiring the leaves falling. I actually did think that perhaps this would be my last walk for a while. I responded to an email from a friend back east and told her I had a sense it would be soon. Soon, but not imminent. I said I wondered when this whole thing would feel real to me and how I would respond when called. While it's still not real, I know how I responded. A few tears shed, a lot of shaking and heart palpitations. A need to connect with those I love. An uneventful ride to the hospital. Check in to the surgical ICU. And a lot of waiting, a little prepping. Not even any good drugs yet! Kathryn and I play cribbage. She keeps me updated on comments from my friends which was really very helpful to know all those good folks are thinking of me sending good karma. I thought about my donor and their family, saying to my husband someone is in real pain right now. I am sad for them, but what a gift I am about to receive. A second chance at life. I think about my surgeon and my cardiologist who are flying quite a distance to procure this heart. I pray for their safety, their skill. I am calm right now, I will write again later.
The author is a heart failure patient going through the transplant listing process. She also is a nurse and former hospital administrator. She would like to thank Donate Life Northwest for permitting her to post her observations on the Donate Life Northwest website. She also wants to emphasize that all opinions and views stated in the posts are her own and not those of Donate Life Northwest.