and out to a small
computer you wear
around your waist all
the time. Every second
of your life, it’s there —
even when you shower.
If you listened to my
chest, you would hear
the constant hum of the
pump not the thump of
Once my family was trained to be my caregivers, I finally
left the hospital — after three months! When we drove off,
the car was full of fancy technology.
During the day, I was free to walk around with the
computer, which was powered by two batteries weighing
about 3 pounds each. Those batteries were in a bag slung
over my shoulder that went with me everywhere. The
batteries would last about 10 hours before I needed to
Where the tube entered my body, the dressing had to be
changed every day. My husband was specially trained to do
that because it required the care of a surgeon due to the risk
of infection. It is, after all, a line straight to your heart.
Talk about life changing: everywhere you go, the battery
bag is on your shoulder, and you carry an identical set up in
another bag. Even when you go to the ladies’ room, you must
carry the extra equipment with you. You are also trained that
if you are somewhere and a malfunction happens, you must
change batteries quickly and possibly the computer, too.
I lived life the best I could: I would take walks, go
shopping, visit friends. Life with the LVAD was my
Bedtime is a whole new situation: You have a small
machine that you
to that replaces the
batteries, and the
wires are only 20 feet
long. My bedroom
was rearranged to
being no more than
20 feet away. I would
yell for my husband
to get something for me out of the car. If he said no, I
would beg, “Puleeeze, I am already connected!”
In spite of this crazy thing that was keeping me alive, I
was so grateful to be there for my kids. They were 10 and
13 when I had my first cardiac arrest and in their 20s when I
had my LVAD. Imagining the life my girls would have lived
without me kept me strong and keeps me strong today.
I lived for almost nine months with the LVAD. Because
my antibodies were high, I was put on a regime similar to
chemotherapy. I was sick, I was tired, and I lost my hair.
But I never lost faith. I was continually thankful for the
LVAD and the modern procedures to kill my antibodies to
prepare me for a heart transplant. I could not be placed on
the transplant list until my antibodies were at an acceptable
level. At the level they were, they would have caused my
body to reject a new heart.
April 1, 2011, I was placed on the UNOS (United
Network for Organ Sharing) transplant list. My status was
1-B, one step below 1-A.
It’s very difficult reconciling myself to being so excited
knowing that someone must die for me to live. I spent a lot
of time praying for the family that would lose their loved
one. Knowing how painful this loss would be, it was hard to
My faith helped me understand that there is a greater
plan, and I allowed myself some excitement at the prospect
of a new lease on life.
On September 25, 2011, the call came. It was Sunday
afternoon, and I was on my way to the grocery store. It was
surreal to hear, “Mrs. Taylor, we have a heart for you.”
As excited as we all were, my transplant was very
difficult. Afterward my doctors and nurses said I was their
I chose to focus
and keeping a