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the blood out of his heart to feed his body. We are lost. They again adjust his meds to get him stable enough to rest at home, but only three days later be right back in the hospital. What about a transplant? The transplant list is long. It could take 2, 3, 4, 5 years before they get to his name. After age 70 he would no longer be eligible. How is he supposed to live until it is his turn? There is no way he would live to see that day on his own. Fortunately, medical advancements to the rescue once again. Thank the heavens and science! He qualified for the Heartmate3, a pump that can be installed in his heart to push a steady flow of blood through his body, in order for him to maintain life, for up to 10 years. This pump attaches to the left ventricle and aorta (the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the entire body) the device has an external controller so he will wear a special holster to carry it and two rechargeable batteries that need to be changed every 8 to 12 hours. This is not a permanent fix; this is a major open heart open chest procedure that includes a lot of risk, but this is hope. This is also an amazing opportunity for us to watch firsthand as medical technology advances to help save the quantity and quality of our loved one. We waited for tests to be completed and then waited for a procedure date. Procedure day arrives earlier than expected. With family schedules adjusted and a support system in place, we wait to hear from the doctor after the procedure. All goes as planned. We worry about pain management but things are well taken care of. He wakes, groggy and weak (as expected). We rest. We wait for his body to adjust. I visit as much as I can. I plan a visit for me and my family to drive two and half hours to see him. Upon arrival, we find his hospital room door closed. We ask the nurse if he has been moved or if it was OK for us to go in. The nurses responded to us by asking “Who?”

“Ummm, my dad, Bill Garten, G-a-r-t-e-n….” They look in the computer. He’s not in there. One nurse sitting at the desk said, “Oh, Bill Garten? He was discharged yesterday.” I called to track him down. He was doing so well they released him early. He looked fantastic to me. He asked us to listen to his heart using his stethoscope. We took turns listening. It was amazing! I heard this quiet machine sound in his chest. The right side of his heart still beats, thanks to his pacemaker, but the sound of the valves opening and closing are difficult to hear from my perspective. We had a nice chat, but I can tell he was tired. I hug my dad, tell him I love him and say “‘see you later.’” We are so grateful to have him home for the holidays this year and many more to come.

I can’t wait to see my dad living his life again, working in the garage, teaching his grandchildren the skills along the way. I hope for his ability to eventually do all the wonderful things he can only dream of doing right now. Love you Dad! Science and technology cease to amaze me. These advancements feel refreshing to me. I close my eyes and focus on my world, my family, my future, our future — celebrating one day at a time — patient and hopeful.

Mary Jo Bade lives with her husband, Dave, and two fantastic boys in the Brainerd lakes area. She is often intrigued by how things work and medical science. She has a love for creating things and making them fun to look at. She also loves animals, learning and numbers, to name few. “If you want to be a green bean, be a green bean. Be the best green bean you can possibly be.”

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Her Voice Magazine - Winter 2017  

Cover Story - Farrah McKinney - Local Powerball Winner 19 Years Later: With a good head on her shoulders and support from close friends and...

Her Voice Magazine - Winter 2017  

Cover Story - Farrah McKinney - Local Powerball Winner 19 Years Later: With a good head on her shoulders and support from close friends and...

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