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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.