A Trial Run. . . 01/12/2011
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.
The host web site introduces this blog by saying the author is a heart failure patient on the “bumpy road to transplant.” Well, last night I hit a New York City-sized pothole. I did not get transplanted. I am writing this from home, significantly sleep deprived and emotionally and physically drained. Here’s what happened. The organ procurement team, which in this case consisted of a cardiothoracic surgeon and one of my cardiologists, flew (and not by United) to Arizona to retrieve a donor heart. They were in constant contact with the other surgeon waiting at OHSU. I met with anesthesia and was to go to the OR within minutes, anticipating I would have surgery in about 2 ½ hours. But once the team had procured the heart, they determined it was too small and unsuitable for transplant. It happens, it’s no person's fault, and it’s stated up front that this could occur. I was still shocked when the other surgeon came in to tell me. It is obviously in my best interest to not transplant an unsuitable heart. So after eight hours of waiting, a little bit of prepping, and lots of paper signing, I walked out of OHSU. Not only did I walk out at 12:30a.m. wearing only a hospital gown and scrub bottoms, but I was positively giddy. Both Kathryn and I were. Must have been an adrenaline thing. I was very surprised no one stopped us figuring I was an escapee from a locked ward. We came home, fed and watered, and tried to process what had just transpired. Today it is still a little surreal. Several teary episodes. Lots of supportive emails and phone calls which helped. Went to the movies for some good humored diversion, took a long walk in the cool fresh air and now am numbly crawling back into bed. I did think numerous times about a grieving family in Arizona. I do hope some of the organs could be transplanted and some comfort will come to this family in this gift.
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.