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I had heart problems most of my adult life. My first documented heart attack was at age 28 in 1972. I am almost certain that I had an earlier attack in high school at age 17. I didn’t recognize the symptoms at the time and passed it off as something else.
The bypass lasted 18 years and closed off in 1993 causing me to have the heart attack that I headed off in 1975. I had major damage to my heart, and that is when I first heard the suggestion of heart transplant. I did not take the doctor’s recommendation and went on with my life.
My weak heart led to an accident, which shattered my right ankle early in 1994. While in intensive care, I spoke with nurses who assured me that transplant was a workable option. I had my doctor put me in touch with St. Luke’s Transplant Service. I went through the testing procedure with a cast on my right leg and went on the list in October of 1994.
I lasted until July of 1995 when severe chest pain put me in intensive care. I quickly reached maximum dosage of I.V. Nitroglycerin and was tapered off and put on morphine. I coded, (heart stopped beating) on September 9 and after being resuscitated was placed on an aortic balloon pump until I was transplanted on September 12, 1995. I left the hospital 8 days after transplant.