“I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.”

~ D.H. Lawrence

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Gratitude Journal, 5/22/2022

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15 Years Ago Today, 5/22/2007

Today was another very busy day …… filled with doctors and nurses checking on me, labs, x-rays and the like. I also had my first conscious “heart biopsy” to check for rejection. Later I found it showed minimal rejection, which was a huge relief.

I also got a new roommate. He was older than I was, and apparently was well known to the staff. I named him “Sandwich Man” as he would get out of bed and go to the doorway and yell “I’m starving, I need a sandwich” … and he did this morning, noon and night, like in the middle of the night! It got old in a hurry.

I was slowly coming to grasp the enormity of life with a heart transplant. And, the mood swings caused by the medications were beyond wild. Thankfully, the nurses were (and still are) a huge help, and I will ALWAYS remember that.

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“Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”

~ Mother Teresa

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Gratitude Journal, 5/21/2022

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15 Years Ago Today, 5/21/2007

After a fairly quiet weekend, I was about to see what the weekdays were all about inside Cleveland Clinic.

Like every morning, I was awakened early (430-5am) and labs were drawn. A bit later the nurses brought a LARGE bag of medications, multiple specimen jars with times on them & a lock box with keys and showed me the initial steps of sorting out my medications with the the appropriate times. I HAD to know each medication and what it was for. I started this task, and breakfast was served, before I could finish breakfast transportation was there to take me for an x-ray. Before we got out of my room, “Charlie” from physical therapy stopped by to introduce himself. As soon as I got back from x-ray, I was visited by a couple of doctors (infectious disease & perhaps nephrology?). By then breakfast was cold, and I was still attempting to figure out 15 different medications when 2 “linebacker” sized guys came and told me they were going to take me for a walk. They walked me through the steps involved, and when I finally decided to stand on my own, it was a humbling failure and that was why there were two big guys there …. to catch when I fell. Eventually, they got me up and we walked about 30 feet. I was whipped.

After all of that, I was still sorting out pills when lunch came. Then the first volunteer heart transplant recipient (Bruce) visited with me and he gave me HOPE, lots of HOPE!

The afternoon was a bit more quiet, a couple of doctors visited (cardiothoracic surgeon and a transplant cardiologist) , the social worker visited, the never ending blood draws and vitals. By late afternoon, things quieted down.

My mind was reeling and I wondered if I could do “this?

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Secrets of the Heart

“The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.”

~ St Jerome

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Gratitude Journal, 5/20/2022

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15 Years Ago, 5/19 & 5/20/2007

15 years ago on Sat, 5/19/07 & Sun, 5/20/07 were the first full days in step down after my heart transplant. Even with it being a weekend I was still somewhat confused and I was also learning ….. to deal with the constant IV alarms, new medications (tons of them), bed pans and urinals, sleepless nights, and the constant checking of my vital signs. 

My first roommate was a guy probably a bit older than I was. He was waiting to have his heart valves replaced or repaired on Monday. He was alone and constantly told people, quite emphatically, that called him that he didn’t want any visitors. My nickname for him was “Angry Man”. 

I wasn’t allowed to get out of the bed, as I was a “Fall Risk”.

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“My doctor tells me I should start slowing it down – but there are more old drunks than there are old doctors so let’s all have another round.”

~ Willie Nelson

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