On February 7, 2001 through the generosity of the Boyd family from Lafayette, La I received a heart transplant at Ochsner Foundation Hospital. Their daughter Kimberly had signed up to be an organ donor when she was in college. Kimberly died in a single car accident in Lafayette. Her mother said although they were grieving over her loss, they knew her wishes. Kimberly was a 32 year old social worker with a passion for refurbishing furniture. I know her family misses her dearly.
When I was in my early thirties, I was diagnosed with a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Although I did very well for a long time, my condition began to deteriorate in 2000. In April of 2000, my doctor in Slidell recommended that I be evaluated at Ochsner's Heart Transplant Unit. The doctors at Ochsner determined that I needed a transplant and needed it right away. I was placed on the list in July of 2000. I was really in the state of shock. I did not think that I was that bad off but the doctors said without a donor heart I did not have 6 months to live.
I waited at home from July till January 2001. During my visit in January it was determined that I could not wait at home any longer. I was admitted to the hospital and immediately place on a balloon pump. With a balloon pump, you have to lay flat and cannot get up or sit up... The bed has a platform at the end of the bed, so when you are elevated you won't slide out of the bed. As the quote goes, these are the times that tries men' soul. Three week later and I will always remember the day, during a visit from 3 of my friends the doctor came in and announced that they had found a donor.
My wish was that the transplant be completed before May, since my daughter would be graduating from High School. My wish came true. I was transplanted and 2 weeks later I was discharged but had to stay in an apartment at a place called Levy Run close to the hospital. I returned home 3 weeks after transplant and was now a renewed person. I really did not realize how my life had been affected by my health. I did attend her graduation from high school and college.
The first week I was home from the hospital, I had this nagging desire to learn how to make furniture, especially fancy cuts etc. My daughter though I was a little off. I kept saying that when I was better I wanted to take a wood work class at Home Depot. About a year later when I received a letter from Kimberly's Mom Rita, I learned that she had a passion for refinishing furniture. Her Mom and Dads names are Rita and Ed, my Dad's, who is deceased, name was Ed and my Mom's name is Rita. Her brother is a gemologist so was my brother. I will be forever grateful for the generosity of the Boyd family. I keep a picture of Kimberly in her wedding dress on my bookcase in the den.
In their darkest hour, her family reached deep down and decided to celebrate life. There are no words worthy enough to that says thank you. What a wonderful gift to me. I will always be forever grateful...