Daddy’s Heart

Daddy and Esther

This post is a note I copied from Facebook, written to keep all my family and friends updated on my Daddy’s heart and the process of evaluation for transplantation.

THANK YOU for praying for my family, and especially my daddy as he undergoes evaluations for a heart transplant.

My sister and I are with my parents in Charlotte and have been since Sunday. We are so thankful for our husbands who are doing our jobs plus theirs, our children who are doing wonderfully well with extra chores and absent mommies and my in-laws helping out today and tomorrow and all of you who are praying for all of us involved with this incredibly busy and tiring week.

Daddy had an initial consultation with Dr. Frank who is the head of the transplanting evaluation team at Carolina Medical Center on Monday. Dr. Frank had some concerns about the severity of Daddy’s heart condition but felt he should proceed with formal heart transplant evaluations. Because he lives 300 miles from CMC, Dad was admitted on Tuesday for a heart catheterization, the first of many necessary tests.

This test showed that the pumping ability of Daddy’s heart was actually stronger than his symptoms indicated they should be. This is mostly good news. The only concern would be that something else is causing such severe breathlessness and weakness. However, Dr. Frank did tell us that heart failure is very complicated and it is possible that there is nothing else wrong. So, that led us to today – a day of lots and lots of tests and consultations with doctors including a heart (transplant) surgeon, vascular surgeon, pulmonologist, infectious disease doc and dietician. He had chest x-rays, breathing/lung tests, and several blood tests.

We have no results from any of these tests. However, we are very encouraged. All of the doctors today have been so informative and positive about Daddy’s condition. One told us that from a surgical standpoint, his chances of receiving a transplant looked excellent.

Tomorrow Daddy will have an abdominal ultrasound, a study of his lower extremities and glucose tolerance test. We also have a two hour informational meeting on heart transplants. This is very important for all of us who will be helping with his care to attend. If Daddy is put on the list, he will be moving in with our family because we are closer to Charlotte. I am very thankful that I’ll be able to participate and learn first hand what all is involved.

Daddy is in good spirits. He is understandably tired, but he is keeping all his caregivers laughing. One doctor actually called him a “**** comedian” after he replied “red” to the question “What is your blood type?” The thoracic surgeon asked about his previous surgeries. Daddy listed them and then said, “Oh.. and I had my gall bladder out, but that’s no big deal… just kind of like “ice fishing” for a surgeon.” Then Daddy said, “And what do you do?” The surgeon responded, “I’m an ice fisherman. Wanna see my license?” Daddy definitely has kept everyone in stitches.

We have many praises! We are so thankful for such wonderful doctors and nurses. We are thankful that so far nothing has presented that would prevent further evaluations. We praise God for laughter in the midst of a stressful week. We are thankful for insurance approval. We are so, so thankful that in just a few days so much has been accomplished. We’ve been told that sometimes it can take a couple of months just to do these evaluations. In a way we feel being so far away from the hospital has been advantageous because they want to get them all done quickly.

Please keep praying as Daddy completes all the tests necessary for the formal evaluations. We are hoping he’ll be released by Friday. Then we will have to wait a couple of weeks for the evaluation team to discuss his case. Pray for his nutrition. He has not had much of an appetite and he does not need to lose any more weight. Meeting his caloric and protein needs are very important.

Thank you so much!


Update: Thursday, January 14th

We had another eventful (but good!) day.

Daddy had more blood test and an ultrasound. The pulmonologist said his lungs looked good. We were also told his kidneys look good. This is terrific news!

We sat in about three hours of meetings to educate us about heart transplants. I am a note taker. I just enjoy writing down facts because it helps me to remember them. Often when I take notes, I don’t go back and review them. Something about active listening and writing just helps me to remember the most important. Such is not the case today. There is just so much information. I have 7 pages front and back of notes and I keep looking back at them because it was just information overload – way too much to process!

Probably the biggest news of the day is that Daddy is released from the hospital. Interestingly enough, although he is released and not technically on the list, he will not be going back to his home in Georgia right now. He needs to stay on a medication that is set up through home health care. With CMC being a hospital in NC and Daddy living in south GA with the nearest home health care (that this group prefers to use) being an hour away in Savannah, it isn’t advisable to set this up only to (most likely) change arrangements to Boone in less than two weeks. We were advised to establish his medicinal needs from the beginning in Boone.

Now Dad just needs to see an opthamologist and a dermatologist and await word from the Transplant Evaluation Team.

Update: February 13th

The update here is that it has been a long month. Mom and Dad have been with us a month. Every Monday we’ve been hopeful to either receive word of the decision or know what to do to get closer. Two weeks ago, Katie, who is the communications “go between” for the committee called to say Dad’s calcium levels are high and Dr. Frank wants to know why before reviewing Dad’s case. We have been waiting since then. This week a thyroid doctor’s office called to set up an appointment for blood work. The appointment is this Thursday. We are hopeful that this will be the last test and are very hopeful that we’ll hear something a week from Monday from the committee.

While I am taking a FB break, I will log on as I have updates about Dad’s condition to update this note. I know a lot of people want to hear what is going on with him.

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