God bless you.
It's been four months since I underwent open-heart surgery to have Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam implant a heart pump in me at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Well, I'm still adjusting and, quite frankly, it ain't easy. It ain't easy living a tethered life with a drive line coming out of your body to connect a micro pumping machine attached to your heart to an exterior power source.
By day, when I get out of bed and move around the house or go outside the house, I am powered by two four-pound batteries that are secured in an holstered vest I wear. The batteries will sustain me up to 12-14 hours before they have to be replaced by freshly charged batteries.
By night, when I go to bed, I hook my drive line up to a bedside power console that is plugged into the wall and runs off house current until there is an electrical blackout or we forget to pay our electricity bill and Commonwealth Edison cuts our electricity off.
The pump is keeping me alive until I get a heart transplant and it affords me reasonable mobility. But I have to keep reminding myself of, among other things, these following limitations:
* I can't take a bath or go swimming.
* I have to have access to either battery power or electrical power at all times and can survive only a few minutes without it.
* I can no longer enjoy going into a hot sauna and sweating out toxins and excess weight.
* I need special clearance to go through security checks at airports, must not take flights longer than seven or eight hours unless I pack extra batteries for longer flight or in case of flight delays.
* I must take care not to get my two-foot drive line snagged loose by things that stick out like handle bars on my exercise bike, door knobs, furniture edges, etc.
* I can't stay outside in 100-degree temperatures and above except for a few minutes.
When I hook up to the power console to go to bed, I have much more wiggle room with its roughly 12-foot cable. But I still have to be tethered up and the system module controller I wear on my right hip makes it difficult for me to sleep comfortably on my right side. The SMC is the control device that connects my drive line with the power sources.
I recently was cleared to take showers again instead of sponge-downs. But I have to place my batteries and system module controller in a rubber pouch that I wear over my left shoulder like a purse and it gives me only about 20 inches in wiggle room. But I'm able to lather up and suds down under the shower spout for a more thorough and refreshing washing.
Otherwise, I am able to drive, do a little yard work, write, cover games, preach, shop, walk and do other exercises. It's not real good. But it's also not that bad. At least, I'm still living.
Now that I have recovered sufficiently from the Jan. 29 heart pump implantation, Mayo Clinic has scheduled to re-examine me so that I can be reclassified on the national heart transplant list. Because I am now living with the aid of a heart pump, I am assured of getting the highest classification or the second highest classification on the heart transplant list.
Last year, I was hoping that my next major surgery would be the heart transplant operation. Instead, I had to undergo the emergency Jan. 29 heart pump implantation to save my life after some bad news ignited a life-threatening cardio-genic shock that required a 30-day hospital stay and came frightfully close to taking my life.
Thank Jesus, I'm still alive.
God bless you.