There are many minutes in my life that I would consider important or memorable, but Tuesday morning I experienced the BEST three minutes of my entire life. After waiting a long 4 1/2 hours in the waiting room during David’s heart transplant, the doctor came out and announced with pride that David didn’t “give him any trouble at all” and that the surgery went without a hitch. We were relieved, to say the least, but I would be a liar if I said I was at peace. As I continued to wait the additional 1 1/2 hours he needed to finish up the surgery and get to ICU, the many weeks of nightmares flooded my tired mind. Would his body accept his heart? Would there be any complications? Would he recover fully from this miracle of a surgery? All that seems so logical, but even the nightmares that made no sense at all poisoned my thoughts. Would his ‘new heart’ love me like his ‘old heart’ did? Silly isn’t it? But it was a reoccurring fear of mine that I had shared with David before the surgery. Logically, I know that the heart is not where love comes from, but his ‘old heart’ is the heart that feel in love with me, the one that married me, and the one that has loved me for 30 years.
Finally, the nurse said we could go and see him. With our daughters by my side, we walked down the hall to his room. I don’t know if any of you ever saw The Shining, but if you did you will remember the long hall the twins were standing in at the hotel. Obviously the hospital hallway wasn’t nearly that long or spooky, but it seemed to go on forever as we walked to his room petrified of what we would find. As we approached, the sight was difficult (to say the least) as he was sedated, swollen, breathing through a tube, and had many tubes and wires coming out of what seemed to be everywhere. They had previously warned us of this moment, but nothing could prepare us for seeing our hero like that. The nurse gave us an update and said he was doing great. Since we weren’t allowed in the room, McKenzie said loudly, “I love you Dad! You’re doing great!” Then it happened, the start of the best 3 minutes of my life. Slowly, David lifted his right hand and gave his oldest daughter a thumbs up. Even the nurse couldn’t believe her eyes, as he was fully sedated. McKenzie literally screamed (in the middle of ICU) and jumped up and down crying. Madi then said, “I love you Daddy!” and he extended his pointer finger and started to spell out, “I….L-O-V-E….Y-O-U”. Just then the nurse took his hand and told him he needed to rest and he shouldn’t be moving. I reminded him that I loved him and that we would be back after he rested. He lifted his left hand (since the nurse was holding his right hand down) and extended it to hold my hand. I told him I couldn’t come in but we would be back, and he gave me another thumbs up. It was amazing! It was a miracle! It was the best moments of my life! I knew he was going to come back to us!
You might be wondering about my silly fear that he wouldn’t remember me or love me with his ‘new heart’. When David finally came out of sedation, the first words he said to me were, “Guess what? I love you even more now!” That’s when I was filled with peace and knew we were on our way to healing and recovery. It has been a long couple of days since Tuesday. To be honest, the hardest days of my life (I’m sure for David too) and its not over by a long shot. The crazy thing is, despite the pain and exhaustion, we are in the presence of a miracle! Not only has my husband been saved by Jesus, he was saved by a donor that we don’t even know. Praise God for that! There is another man’s heart making a home in the chest of the best man I know. Praise God for that! My husband has always been a hero to me and our girls, now he is a warrior in our eyes and we will never see him the same way. Praise God for that! This heart is beating strong and David is working hard to accept it. Praise God for that!
David is fighting a war every day right now. He is tired, so tired, by the smallest of things. He is in a lot of pain, but keeps on working and seems to be making huge progress according to all the doctors and nurses. He feels weak, but we see a WARRIOR, covered in the armor of God to fight and heal. He is sort of a big deal here at Tampa General not only because of the lives he has touched here, but because of how well he is fighting this fight. I am proud to call him my husband and to stand beside him in this healing journey and miracle. Please continue praying for him, for us, and for our girls. Thank you! Thank you for walking this walk with us – we couldn’t have done it without your love and support!
P.S. Currently, his numbers have been great and there is no sign of rejection. They are hoping to take out his final tubes and move him out of ICU to the Transplant Unit tomorrow or Monday, which would be GREAT! They will do his first biopsy Monday or Tuesday to check for rejection, so prayers needed for that acceptance. ACCEPT THIS HEART! is David’s mantra and self-talk right now, please let it be your prayer!