Jeff-Waiting on a heart
January 13, 2015 is the day that my family members will never forget. On that day, I had a heart attack that almost killed me and started a journey that I never dreamt I would be a part of.
I had been diagnosed with pneumonia and thought I was having a relapse. I was aching under my arms, and my wife convinced me to go back to the doctor. When I arrived, I was having a heart attack. I was transferred to the hospital with only 10% heart function. The first few days are a blur to me but not for my wife and kids. I was given no hope of getting better.
After many procedures, I came home with multiple medications and a weak body. I have always been an avid hunter and golfer. I was too weak to do either.
As my kidneys continued to weaken due to medications, I had an LVAD implanted. The LVAD does the work of the heart through a tube that comes out of my abdomen and attaches to a controller with two batteries. I have this 5lb machine strapped to my waist every day. I must have an extra controller and batteries with me at all times.
For a while, my wife and I had to live in an apartment near the hospital away from home. We missed work, missed our children, and missed our granddaughter.
Today, I am a 1B on the transplant list today. I haven’t received a heart. Every decision we make is made with the transplant in mind, just in case we get the call. I’ve been waiting since October 2016.
I can’t do the jobs I need to and must rely on my kids to do jobs that most people take for granted. Due to my LVAD, even simple things, like taking a shower, is not convenient because the machine can not get wet. I can’t travel or do activities with my family such as ride on a boat or swim. I can’t play with my grand kids for very long without having to rest. Some days I feel well, but more often I feel tired, exhausted, and anxious.
My family knows how important organ donation is but also realizes that in receiving my heart that someone is losing a loved one. So, I anxiously await the call that it is my turn. I pray for families dealing with organ donation both on the giving and receiving ends.