Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Danny came through surgery great!  As he woke up, still intubated and a bit confused, he was gesturing trying to ask if surgery had happened.  We couldn't figure out what he was trying to say so we gave him a pen and he wrote the word "stitch" on it... it took 4 college educated people to figure out that he was asking if they put a new heart in. The look of joy on his face was amazing but he went straight to patting the side of the bed and we new he was looking for his constant companion of the past 3 months, the LVAD controller and batteries.  When we told him it was gone he looked even happier and then he patted his chest, feeling for the bulge and tenderness of the defibrillator that has lived in his chest. "Gone!"  At that point, he did the ICU happy dance!  It's a little different from his usual happy dance, but can I tell you it was precious to see!!! 

I'm not sure if this video will work...If not I will get someone to help me make it work because it really is worth seeing!! He's gotta be the only person on a ventilator trying to dance!!!
He was still on the vent for a while more awake than what seemed appropriate. His nurse fought for him and called the doctor several times to tell him Danny either needed to be extubated or sedated. Thankfully, when the docs were satisfied with lab values, they extubated him.  With barely a whisper he called and spoke to the kids saying, "Maggie, I love you; Charlie, I love you".  Then he whispered to me, "I love you Trish".  I told him I loved him and he said, "No, I really love you."  I told him I really loved him too, then he said, "NO!  I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY NEW HEART!"  That's when I burst into tears...Then He teared up a bit and asked how he could thank God for this blessing when words are not adequate. I reminded him that God already knows what's in his heart!! One day I hope we are given the opportunity to thank the donor family. Organ donation is a priceless gift!!

This is a picture of Danny before and after transplant.

That's some serious contemplation going on. I don't remember if I already wrote about this but the time leading up to transplant time was strange. I was sitting with him and we were both pretty quiet. We talked some and prayed but mostly just help hands. I was feeling like I was in a prison movie with a death row Dead Man Walking. The inmate is sitting there watching the clock tick slowly by and the people around him doing the things on the checklist that must be done before the big moment. That's what it felt like--not that I felt strongly that he was going to die...just the severity of removing a vital organ and putting in a different one. There was no way I was going to share my feelings about death row with Danny because it didn't seem encouraging or really appropriate in any way. But get this...The nurse came back in and Danny said, "You want to hear something strange? I think I feel similar to how an inmate must feel in his last minutes on death row." I was shocked and said "No way!!! That's what I was feeling too!!!!" 

Weird coincidence isn't it??!!
Day 2
Danny was in the chair all day. He was absolutely exhausted and in severe be expected. The surgeon said Danny still had a LOT of scar tissue from the LVAD implantation. It takes a couple of months for scar tissue to start to soften after it's formed, but Danny didn't have the LVAD long enough for the scar tissue to soften (Praise God!!) So, cutting through and taking out that scar tissue was difficult (according to the surgeon) and he knew it was going to hurt. I know that Danny feels like the added pain of excessive scar tissue is worth getting his new heart sooner than later!
When he had the LVAD put in, the recovery was difficult and painful...and he was severely anxious and depressed also. This time, the recovery will be difficult and painful but he is just so joyful! It's truly miraculous to watch the whole thing. God is so good!
With his LVAD Danny had 2 chest tubes postop (the chest tube allows the excess blood to drain out of the chest cavity). With this surgery he has 5 chest tubes. It's really unbelievable looking. It's clear rubber tubing, probably an inch in diameter coming out of his abdomen. They stick up into his chest cavity and drain out into measurable containers that sit on the floor.

Danny was relieved to get back into bed at the end of the day. He was completely exhausted and praying for some good sleep. Sadly, I'm not allowed to stay in the ICU with him overnight after transplant (I was after LVAD), so I won't know until the morning!!
Thank you for your continued prayers. We have a long road ahead of us...but it will be filled with joy and thanks and love!!!



1 comment:

  1. Awesome. Thanks for the update and pics! Prayers continue.