My wife took me to the doctors because I couldn’t quite coughing. I was too sick to realize what was even going on, but when they finally got the fluid out of my lungs, they relized it was my heart that was having trouble. It happened so fast. I had been working every day, but now I couldn’t walk across the room without sitting down. I couldn’t do anything. They said they didn’t know the cause; it was idiopathic.
The doctors told me I needed a heart transplant. I would not survive without one.
I was put on the waiting list on January 3, and on May 30, 2001 they called me at around 10:30 pm. With my new heart, I can do anything!
I play music in a band and sing gospel music. I even have a CD out. My daughter is a nurse at the nursing home, and we play music there too. Before my transplant, I had gotten so ill that I couldn’t do anything – including play my music. Since my transplant I’ve seen my grandchildren grow, including a new grandbaby just about six months ago. My wife and I take off and travel all the time. We especially love the Smokey Mountains. I feel so much better. It’s hard to explain, but I know if I had not gotten my transplant, I wouldn’t be here today. I had gone as far as I could go before my gift of life, my heart was pumping less than 15% before my transplant.
I obviously got a good heart because, since my transplant, I’ve never had a rejection. I have to take medicine every day, but I can live with that.
My wife and I wrote to my donor family to say thank you. We hope they received the letter to know how much we appreciate them saying “yes” and becoming a donor. I always drive my ’71 convertible in the local parade to promote organ donation and encourage people to join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. I had not thought about organ donation before my transplant. Now I know transplants do work, and it does change your life. I’m living proof!