Heart to Heart

heartdonate-lifeOne heart to another.

It’s all one big gratitude today. Just a little over two days ago, my friend Kyla was finally released from the from Duke University Hospital after almost six months in Intensive Care. During that time, her heart continued to lose function and efficiency due to the Emery Dreifus Muscular Dystrophy that has been attacking her heart muscle. Several times she nearly died. She reached the point where her body simply became so weak that even if her new heart arrived, she would have been unable to withstand the life-saving surgery.

A couple weeks ago, she received a Ventricular Assist Device–a tool to help her heart do its work. This was open heart surgery, and she took quite a while to recover, but with lots of will and determination, and the help of physical therapists and family and friends, she was finally cleared for discharge from the hospital three days ago. She and her fiance and her mother moved across the street from the hospital to the Ronald McDonald House.

Yesterday, her mother watched a helicopter land on the hospital roof and wondered–perhaps for the hundredth time–whether that might be the one that held Kyla’s new heart. It wasn’t long until they received the call asking them to head across the street and prepare for surgery. Kyla’s new heart had arrived!  She began prepping for surgery at six last evening. By 12:30 this morning, she had returned to Intensive Care, and it appears that the surgery has been a success, and that she will be on the road to recovery with her new heart very soon. I feel like saying Hallelujah!

It has been such a long and devastating road for Kyla and her family and loved ones. The waiting–not knowing whether she would survive until the new heart arrived, not knowing if she would be strong enough to receive the new heart when it did come–has been painful and draining. The longer it went, the harder it became to visualize the actual arrival of the new heart.

The gift of life through organ donation is a tender, tender thing. Somewhere, someone is experiencing grief at the loss of someone they loved, while we celebrate the new life that has come to one we love. May that family be comforted in their grief. May they find solace in the knowledge that their loss has given others the gift of life.

If you aren’t an organ donor, please consider signing up today. Here is the link to Donate Life, the national organ donation registry. What a powerful legacy you leave in the world–giving someone new life.

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