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June 2, 2009
Hi, I'm Debra's husband, Larry. Deb cannot blog at this time as she is in the hospital now, but for a good reason. I'll try to explain from beginning to end and hopefully be as interesting as her blogs.
A friend of mine (Glen) from work and I went fishing at Cuyamaca lake. The fishing was not very good but the news we received on our way home was fantastic. Debbie called me about 3 pm and said that she had received a call saying that there was a potential donor heart for her. This was excellent news because she was on the transplant list and we have been waiting patiently for a new heart. Her father, Frank, picked her up and I met them at Sharp Memorial. They were checking in when I got there. The nurse transported Debbie to a room on the 5th floor.
We received word that the donor heart was very strong and that the first crossmatch checked out good. We were so excited. Friends and family were there to take part. We had gotten word that the final crossmatch would be around 9 pm to 10 pm.
About 9:25 pm, we received a call that the final crossmatch was perfect; imagine the excitement. They informed us that the surgery would most likely be at 12 midnight. Then, Dr. Rob Adamson, the transplant surgeon, felt that the surgery could be delayed because the heart is in such good shape. He wanted to wait because he just had completed a 12-hour surgery on an LVAD patient and he needed some rest, so we agreed and they moved the surgery to between 5 am and 6 am, Wednesday. We received notice later that the surgery would take place at 11 am 5/27/09. We were not concerned we were just excited to know that it was going to happen.
At 10 am they transported Debbie to pre-op. The excitement and adrenaline was so high you would have thought Deb was going to meet the President of the United States. The surgery took approximately 12 hours. Dr. Rob came out with the news.
God uses Dr. Rob as a tool to perform miracles and I think he knows it. The surgery went well but when they closed her up the heart was a little sluggish and not doing as well as they knew it could. Through the night, the heart became more stable but was still not up to their expectations. Dr. Rob felt that the heart was a little bigger and needed more room. Deb has had 5 open-heart surgeries and there was a lot of scar tissue from past surgeries.
On 5/28/09 at 7:30 am he wanted to go back in and clean-up the scar tissue and I agreed. When he opened her back up and relieved the pressure the heart started doing very well. Dr. Rob cleaned up around the heart where the pump used to be and made a bigger home for the heart; it's happy now. That day I said, "the heart went from a studio apartment to a one bedroom home with more room and the heart is in a happy place."
Deb is doing very well and things are just perfect. When she wakes up she will know what it's like to feel what a heartbeat should feel like as she has not known that for 29 years. She has not had a heartbeat for the past 2 and a half years because she had an LVAD pump do the work for her heart. Thank God for the pump, it got her to this point in her life and that’s what it’s supposed to do.
You’re the best, Deb, and you deserve the best. You and your heart will get to know each other and experience things you never dreamed of. Go Deb and thank God for everything.
For More Information
To learn more about the heart transplant program at Sharp Memorial Hospital, please contact the program directly by calling 858-939-3831, Monday through Friday, 7 am to 3:30 pm.
To learn more or to find a cardiologist affiliated with Sharp, please call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-824-4277) or go to Find a Doctor.