In early September, my friend Alices’ son started the heart transplant process. First he had to be evaluated to find out if he was indeed eligible. And yes, after a battery of tests, various medications to keep his heart plugging along, and several days wait, his doctors determined he was eligible.
Then the long wait for a heart – that he envisioned as his Golden Heart – began: first at the hospital, then at home with a fanny pack containing a 24-hour medication drip, then quickly back to the hospital again.
By mid October, his heart had began to deteriorate and the lack of circulation was affecting his other organs. To ameliorate this condition he underwent a BiVad – the implant of a heart pump that supports both sides of his heart to get the blood circulating and oxygenating throughout his body. Then, by late October and early November, although he was in and out of the ICU a couple of times, he had healed nicely, had a healthy rosy glow, had more and more energy and appetite, and a patient acceptance that his Golden Heart would be along soon.
A 22-year-old heart arrived on November 21. He had surgery that evening and as of this writing he is sitting up and holding good conversations.
As his mother says: it is truly a miracle and a tribute to the staff at the Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
We are all thankful. I’ve known this young man since before he was born. His mother* was the first friend I had when I moved to Los Angeles in 1961. We are like family. I am overjoyed at this wonderful result.
*Alice and Richard Matzkin are artists who created the beautiful book, The Art of Aging.