A powerful journey from living with an artificial heart to a heart transplant....

Monday, August 23, 2010

What's gonna work?

Today I was reminded of a theme I created when I was in the hospital last October getting approved for the transplant list and getting Vito implanted.

I got to Toronto General Hospital on October 19th after spending two weeks in hospital in Kitchener. When I arrived, there was a line up of people waiting to do tests and evaluations because they knew the doctor that sent me. He is highly respected in the transplant world and knows a critical situation when he sees one. The first person that greeted me in CICU was a doctor. That was nice.

Ever since being admitted I was tested for several things. I had x-ray's more than once a day, echos, ICD evals, ultra-sounds, blood work, and worst of all, they tried to put an arterial line in. This deserves more of an explanation.... An arterial line goes into the artery to get a more precise reading of blood pressure. That was the most important reason for me anyway, it's used for several things. To get the art line in they had to go into an artery deep in my wrist. I am already a very tiny person, my wrists are small, therefore my arteries are small. To top it all off, my heart was barely pumping and so it was even smaller. Four different doctors tried, all of different specialties and not one could get it in. They tried about 10 times PER ARM - EACH! I could not feel my hands until after my surgery. I couldn't even hold a cup. I rested my wrists on my bunny or blanket all the time. I needed a hot pad to keep them warm because they were so very cold. This was difficult for me, for my family watching and for the doctors and nurses. They really don't like to hurt patients.

So while they were attempting to get this line in, I would sing with my Mom or with my best friend Jenn to get my mind somewhere else. The louder I sang, the less it would hurt. So one song that I sang created my theme. (My nephew at the time was into Wonder Pets and we knew all their songs by heart, good pun.) We sang, "What's gonna work? TEAMWORK!"

I chose this song for more than the reason that I knew the words, I chose it because I couldn't do it by myself. I needed everyone to help me get through the difficult time. I was essentially dying. My skin went yellow, my eye sockets were grey, I was vomiting, I wasn't eating, drinking, sitting up.... I just laid there. Lifeless. I was even too tired to sleep. I few comments I got from nurses and doctors later, of course not at the time, were:

"You were sitting at death's door."

"You were hours, minutes away from dying."

"Your heart wasn't even moving."

Anyway, singing Teamwork gave me strength. I sang it when I went in for my surgery. Shaun and my family gave me all they could give and it got me through. It wasn't just them though. It was the teamwork of all the people that couldn't be there. I felt all the love and fought with everything I had.

Love and thanks to all my supporters!


  1. Oh, this is such a touching post. Grateful for the great support and teamwork you have had. Makes such a difference.

  2. I just watched the Wonder Pets with my 6 yr old this weekend. I told her how you sang it in the hospital. She told me her Kindergarten teacher sang it to her class last yr when they were picking up toys after playtime. I like that show. :)

  3. You were so strong through the art line!!! I'm so proud of your strength and courage. I always think of you when I go though any difficult times, and know that I can get through anything after watching all the ups and downs you have triumphed over. Love you!