The first few days of April were full of procedures, surgeries, and machines. I am at the very top (yes, number 1) on the transplant list in my three state region. Basically at this point my heart was doing my body barely any good so my kidneys and liver started failing. The scariest part of this is that the top of heart transplant list is ONLY held for otherwise healthy individuals. They don’t want to risk giving a heart to someone when there is a larger possibility the patient may not make it through surgery.
Next thing my parents knew they were pulled into a conference room and being told I needed to have open heart surgery and there was a chance I may not be able to make it though. There was nothing else the doctors could do to give me more time, so surgery it was. I, however, was oblivious to what was going on around me. I remember my parents, brother, and sister coming in my room with saddened eyes. They were giving me hugs and kisses and wishing me good blessings. I just thought I was headed for another procedure of sort. I am honestly thankful I was unaware of what was going on around me. If I had have been more alert I am sure I would have been scared. When they were saying their “good byes” mom asked if I was scared. I said “I have a calm all over me”. Ahhhh. What a feeling. Not being scared at all. Not one synch. Just truly feeling a sense of calmness provided by my Heavenly Father in a time that could have been so different.
Here are a few pictures of my machine and me “sleeping” after Saturday’s surgery. I woke up a few days later on Tuesday. First time I had never been to church on Easter Sunday. Easters are so special to me now as I will always be reminded of how God spared my life.
This is the beloved LVAD machine. Mom loved it so much when she would walk by it, she would give it a quick "love tap". The two dark red tubes you see connect me to the machine at the end of my bed. The tubes are 1 inch in diameter and were entered in my chest cavity and came back out through my abdomen. They are full of blood and the machine helped cycle the blood throughout my body because my heart couldn't. This machine brought my kidneys and liver back to normal function and it was only a few years old! Thankful for timing!
Sleeping for days....
A look inside my room and the 56ICU hallway. I never stepped foot in that hallway until well after my heart came :)
People have often asked me if I can remember anything when I was "sleeping", but I really don't. There are a few things I see in my head, but I'm not sure if I remember them actually happening or if I have just formed those thoughts together. I guess I'll never know :) A lot of my friends actually came to visit me during this time and it makes me wonder what they were thinking seeing their friend just asleep...unable to wake up...tubes in mouth...machines and IV bags all over. I've always hated people staring at me so knowing that people visited me when I couldn't even respond is an odd feeling. They were just....staring. eek..