I have today been told by doctors at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital that a donor heart is available for me and will be transplanted tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.
Head of the heart transplant unit Dr Willie Koen brought the news just after 3pm. The donor heart is a match for you in all respects, said Koen, and it almost felt to me – as I thought about it later – that he had said “perrfect match” but that would be an unfair characterisation of his words.
The operation is scheduled for 7am and will run for four hours.
The details are sketchy simply because there is not much time to ask many questions of medical staff who are now counting down the hours, as overnight medication is diarised, blood requests sent to the blood bank, drips prepared.
Busyness envelopes my bed, but there is a communal broad smile on the faces of the nurses, they can’t be more happy that my situation is progressing.
Of course, I understand that – until the donor heart arrives in the operating theatre when I am being prepared in the morning and final assessments are made – there is the slimmest chance that it won’t be a complete match and the heart must go to someone else. But, for now, it has been matched to me.
According to the doctors, I will be in an induced state of unconsciousness until about Thursday morning. It will be a couple of weeks before I am able to communicate with anyone outside of my immediate family.
Thank you for your prayers and messages of concern.
I ask you to say a prayer for and remember the family of the person whose heart has been matched with me. There is loss and heartache in that home tonight.