I haven't felt like writing for a while, but I have had a change of heart. But seriously, it has been an eventful week. I got the news Friday afternoon that a heart was available for me. I got to enjoy 60 seconds of sunshine while they wheeled me to the ambulance for the 20 min ride to Stanford. I had not been outside in 2 weeks. It felt great. I guess you could say that my mood was almost giddy with excitement. I didn't even really think about the surgery or recovery. I was just thrilled to know that it was happening.
I waited in a pre-op room and eventually at 10:00 PM was taken to the OR where I met the anesthesiologist, Dr. Oaks. She was very pleasant and gave me some Versed (like quick acting valium, but causes amnesia) Soon the mask was on my face and my next memory was in the ICU. I overheard voices talking about my low bicarb (a lab reflecting acid/base balance and breathing). I opened my eyes and saw my brother Daren and his wife Rachelle smiling back at me. I gave them a thumbs up.
For years at Yale, I gave the 3rd year medical students the lecture on ventilator management and here I was on the ventilator hearing all of those terms. Assist Control, SIMV, pressure support etc... They weaned me down to a low rate and I began to fight the ventilator. It is a very uncomfortable feeling. I kept motioning for them to remove the tube. Soon after they did and my first thought was to call Barbie in San Diego, which I did. I told her I loved her with all of my new heart. My next thought was to say a prayer to thank God that I came through and felt so well.
My recovery has been swift. I feel great. I have no pain. I still have one tube in my right chest, but I am walking on my own, eating and now typing.
Words cannot do justice to this unique experience, however a few come to mind: Gratitude, comfort, peace, joy and awe. How we have been blessed. I am ready to begin the next phase of my recovery.
I want to thank everyone that has shared their love, concern, positive thoughts and prayers on my behalf. I have felt the power of that support.
Know that I am well.
I was great to hear your voice on your birthday. You sound strong. I hope you are up for a visit on Saturday Leslie
HI Kevin and Barbie,
I am so happy to see how well you look. It is such a miracle of life. But then again, doctors like yourself are miracle makers. I hope I will be there soon. I find out today something as to my treatment for my heart and/or the amyloidosis. I anxious to begin some kind of treatment. It has been such a help going back and reading your comments and Barbie's. It has helped me understand the process more clearly. It is a long, long journey but the end result is a miracle. Michelle and Sam look beautiful and I'm sure it was a beautiful wedding. I'm happy a heart was here in California and that you can recover swiftly to walk Rebecca down the asile. That will be a joyous occasion. I don't know if I will be able to see you or Barbie today, depending on if you are released from Stanford, but I will leave the ribbon pins with Janet. There are enough, I hope, for the whole family. If you need more, just let me know. God bless and do what the doctors tell you to do!
I was so sorry to learn of your condition, but am glad that you were able to receive a fancy new heart! I wish you the best and know that the crew back at Yale are all pulling for you, as well!
Kevin and Barbie,
In light of all the Summer Olympic excitement, I think you both (especially Kevin) deserves a GOLD MEDAL. Congrats on your success. I'm not sure which is more exciting, the Olympic Games or the daily check on "Kevin's Journey!" We have felt our testimonies grow as we watch, read, and prayerfully support you. Keep fighting, you're a winner!
Lots of love,
The Reichert clan
Kevin and Barbie,
I am glad to hear the surgery went well. My thoughts are with you and your family. I can't believe Sam and Jeremy are married and Rebecca is engaged! You all look wonderful! Take care and best wishes on a speedy recovery!
Hi Uncle Kevin,
Joe and I are so excited for you and that you got a heart. Way to go! We love you.
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