I always find it entertaining when we meet new doctors and nurses. The same goes for the residents, fellows and interns that follow them around. Kevin's case is for sure an interesting one.
A particular surgeon told me once that Kevin was a "walking miracle." I agreed.
Everyone within the VAD team, Transplant team, nurses, etc, all knew Kevin and his case. Nothing was a surprise. First encounter with meeting a new doctor was just about three or four weeks post transplant. I remember sitting in the room with Kevin, the doctor was reviewing his medical history, asking questions, all the normal stuff. And out of nowhere the doctor looks at Kevin and said "Wow, you were a good save." Insert more doctor asking questions here. He said it again "Wow you were a good save. I mean, a good save, ya know?" YES, we know. Kevin and I joke about this comment all the time....sure it's true but to say it over and over again to the person that was actually saved...really? Trust me, we know.
After the tumor was detected it seemed as if the crowd of doctors, nurses, residents, fellows, and interns got bigger and quieter. Like everyone had to hear what the surgeon was saying. Hanging on their every word, waiting for the next plan of attack.
Kevin had surgery on his left arm a couple of months ago (that's another blog for another day) and during pre-op all the residents, fellows and interns that were on the case were looming around his bed. You could hear them discussing Kevin's case....like we weren't in the room which I loathe... "heart transplant, wow. and a pheo too? what happened to his arm? why is he here?" Some would think they were whispering but we heard every word. Others would approach us with the "wow" kind of questions and their eyes would be lit up like they were five years old and it was Christmas morning.
Just recently a new doctor was in awe of Kevin's case, reviewed the history, and brought us back to the night he had heart failure. She said "I'm surprised they were able to get a balloon pump in you." Insert dumbfounded looks on both our faces here. She continued "Because if they didn't it would've been lights out." Insert uncomfortable laughter here. And then the doctor must've been in serious awe because her next comment was "Wow you received a heart transplant all the while having a pheochromocytoma tumor? Do you know how lucky you are that you didn't crash on the table?" After the doctor left the exam room Kevin and I both looked at each other, full knowing how lucky he was. How lucky we were. How every doctor and nurse that crossed his path had a part in saving his life.
As we approach the one year anniversary of getting the call for a new heart.....every day for us is one more day. One more day of thanks, one more day of love, hugs, kisses, and yes, even the usual wife nagging. Putting my head on his chest listening to his heart beat on its own.....well, trust me, I know. I also know that this past year, learning to live post transplant, in most ways is like healing. It all takes time.
Thank you once again to our donor family. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you not only saved my husband but you saved my little family of four.