Kim Fingerlin Coulter
Heart Transplant - 11/2012
I knew my Grandmother passed from heart disease. I knew my mother suffered from heart disease. I even knew I had a heart murmur due to thickening of the heart wall.
But at 21 and with no noticeable issues I gave it no thought and went on with my life not paying any attention to what was happening inside. Until 2001, when after running across a busy Houston downtown street trying to beat the traffic light I found myself on the ground blacked out. That was the beginning of 11 years with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). This included multiple different medicine combinations, atrial fibrillation, ventricle tachycardia, ICD's, Cardioversions, heart ablations, and lots of emergency trips to the hospitals. A few were very close calls.
It was one of those trips to the hospital that I almost didn't make it. When I finally woke up and once I was stable was told, "We've done all we can. You need a transplant." Wow! You know it's coming but there's no grasping it until it's right there in your face. The next month was a whirlwind with all the tests. But I was now on "the list". During the next 5 months I was in and out of the hospital but I made it to my50th birthday.
On September 22, I was back in the hospital to stay. I was tethered to a heart pump with a tube winding through my body up to my heart. I was told that I could not bend my leg and could not sit up. On November 11 2012, after two months in bed and a few false hopes, I got a call from the transplant team. "We have a match. This time it's a go."
It took a while to get my body all settled out with all the anti rejection drugs but I was able to go home a month later, just in time for Christmas.
...I don't know my donors family but they have my immeasurable thanks and gratitude for their generous sacrifice and gift of life. They are always in my thoughts and prayers. I now volunteer with the Heart Exchange at St. Lukes Hospital visiting other patients who are in the same position I was. Hopefully, I can make my donors family proud.