I have made several mentions of my father-in-law and his wait for a new heart. He has been on the transplant list for almost 4 1/2 years. We finally got the call we'd been waiting for on Monday. They found him a heart. There is a little disagreement with exactly how long he's been on the list, but my date makes for a fun story, so I will go with that (sorry Jim.) I think he got his first LVAD on October 11, 2011. I was 32 weeks pregnant with Parker at the time. They ended up having to operate again in the middle of the night due to some bleeding. We truly didn't think he was going to make it, but he did. We have had many visits at the hospital since then. Just 7 weeks later he got to visit us and meet his grandson, Parker! (Note: We finally figured out that his LVAD was installed on September 20, so I was 29 weeks pregnant.)
A couple months after that he started to experience some complications. He was in for a couple more weeks and ended up getting a whole new LVAD! Parker enjoyed getting some tummy time with Grandma.
Things were mostly quiet for the next few years with brief stays for mostly routine procedures. Unfortunately they become a little less routine when you have a motor in your body!
Then he headed down to Texas in hopes of getting a heart faster, but luck and circumstance didn't allow, so he was back home a couple months later.
He started to experience some more complications last fall. His options were to either get another LVAD or be upgraded to 1A status and live in the hospital. No one wanted him to go through another "bridge" surgery, so he moved in. We visited every couple weeks and all got very familiar with the hospital. Parker adjusted really well and always loved to go see Grandpa. He also started to develop a minor "fear" of Jimmy's parents' apartment. I think it was because he knew Grandpa wasn't there.
Our last visit was Valentine's Day! We wanted to get back again sooner, but ended up with colds.
We were actually planning to visit on Monday night, but got the call about the heart that afternoon. It was a pretty surreal moment. I almost couldn't believe what Jimmy was telling me. He went in to surgery early yesterday morning. This is the fun part of the story for me! I was exactly 32 with baby girl yesterday, which just blows my mind since I was at the same point with Parker when this whole journey started! (Note: Not quite as cool since I was only 29 weeks when he got the LVAD, but still pretty close.) We were able to visit him about 2 hours after the 10 hour procedure. He looked so good (all things considered.) He was still sedated, but could recognize our voices, was able to nod his head, and squeeze hands.
Overnight was quiet, which was a very good sign. They were able to remove his breathing tube this morning and he was sitting up with his legs off the bed by the afternoon. We stopped in to visit again tonight and it blew our minds. He was awake, alert, and coherent just 30 hours or so after a heart transplant! We are very excited about how smoothly his recovery is going, but know he is not out of the woods yet. I am sure we will have a few more visits with him before he is discharged, but we are all looking forward to the next time he gets to visit us in the hospital to meet baby girl.
I know many of you have been praying for Jim and we are very grateful! We feel so blessed to have experienced this and are excited to see Jim start this new journey!