A Great Story

You never know where you will find some reason to live and enjoy the lives we have. Here’s a little something that should give you a lift today.

A Sign of the Heart

Before my heart transplant, I was drawn to a special boy who appeared to me
in a dream. Was he the donor who would save my life?

By Jan Jimenez

In 1999 I was admitted to a local hospital in Connecticut with symptoms
including choking and water retention. One day right before _breakfast_
(http://www.beliefne t.com/story/ 188/story_ 18850_1.html#) , a doctor walked in and told
me that I would not be leaving the hospital without a new heart. This came as
a huge shock to me, since the day before the doctors were talking about
sending me home. The diagnosis: I was suffering from congestive heart failure
with a viral infection that attacked my heart and caused it to become
enlarged–a condition called cardiomyopathy. Without a new heart, I would die.

That very same day, I did leave the hospital–only to be sent to one that
specialized in heart transplants. As I rode in the ambulance, with the sirens
screeching, my husband followed the ambulance in his car.

There I received a portable device with an IV built in that pumped medication
into my heart. This would help my heart function until a suitable heart
donor could be found. I went home with the device and used it for about eight and
a half months–until I got so sick that I was put on a respirator. My
kidneys were starting to fail. I needed a new heart soon, or I knew I wasn’t going
to make it. To top it off, I have a rare blood type, O negative-so it was
hard to find an exact match quickly.

While awaiting my new heart, I had a dream: a neatly dressed young boy with
short, dark hair and a handsome face, came to my hospital bed and said, “I
want you to have my heart.” As he said this, he picked up my hand and kissed it
gently. I asked him why he wanted me to have his heart. He said, “Because
you are special. You deserve it.”

I told my husband about my dream first thing in the morning. I knew that a
heart would be coming my way. Three weeks later, my doctor told me a donor had
been found. My new heart would come from a 15-year-old boy from Vermont.
That’s all I knew. I had the transplant, and all went reasonably well.

A few years later, my husband and I decided to go on a short trip. I didn’t
want to go too far away in case I became ill. I was interested in going to
Vermont to see what it was like, since that was where my donor had grown up.
Although I didn’t know what town he was from, I was drawn to a place called
Rutland. I had a feeling my donor had lived there and I wanted to see what it
looked like. I noticed on the map, Rutland was called the “Heart of Vermont.”
That settled it–we were going there. As we arrived in Rutland, we were amazed
to see a giant rainbow in the sky. I knew this was a sign that this was
where my heart donor had lived.
The people were really friendly there, and it was just _beautiful_
(http://www.beliefne t.com/story/ 188/story_ 18850_2.html#) . I liked it so much that I
decided that I would visit again the following year on the anniversary of my
heart transplant.

I didn’t realize it, but during my next visit, my daughter Lauren e-mailed
the Rutland Herald newspaper and told them that I was a heart transplant
recipient staying in town and that I had a strong feeling my donor was from
Rutland. A reporter called me at my hotel, and we set up an interview. The
newspaper then printed a front-page story about me. I was hoping the donor’s family
would read my story because I was very interested in meeting them (if they
were interested in meeting me). Six months later, I got a call from my heart
donor’s mother.
She told me she had seen the article in the paper, which prompted her to
check with the hospital organ donor’s department. It turned out that she lived
in Rutland and worked right across the street from the hotel where we stayed.
She said her son Andrew was 15 years old when he passed away after a diving
accident. She mailed pictures to me right away. He was a handsome young man
with dark hair. Her son looked just like the young man in my dream.

Shortly before his accident, Andrew had told his mother that he wanted to be
an organ donor and that it was very important to him. He could not wait to
get his driver’s license, he said, so that it would say on the back that he
was an organ donor.

When he died his mother knew that she should sign the papers giving
permission for the hospital to harvest his organs. I received his heart, and seven
other people received his other organs. He was a very special boy who kept
eight people alive.

Today, I’m doing very well, and I am thankful every minute of every day to
God and my donor’s family. This coming July will be the sixth anniversary of
my new heart. I’ll be going back to the “Heart of Vermont” to see the family
of the boy who saved my life.

My reply to the E-mail, where I received this story.

Great story!

Now let me tell you something. The night that the hospital called me for my transplant. There was a drive by muder in Chicago of a 16 year old girl. A few hours later I received my transplant.

Though I am a male, I am small in stature. It would seem possible that the heart and lungs that I received would come from a female and it could possible be that young lady.

I have tried a a couple of times over the last 6 years to contact the donor family, but I have heard nothing.  I could  understand the  feelings of the family, however, if  the  person  who died  was that  girl. It probably is too painful for them to be reminded. Hopefully, they got a bit of comfort in knowing that I have lived and have even thrived in the years following this great gift I have received. Here’s praying for all of our donors and their families for the gift wehave receive


One Comment

  1. Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Interesting and thoughtful. I have been an organ donor for years, obviously I am still here, so my parts were never harvested. As a donor, I would want the opportunity to meet the people who receive parts of me. For my family, I think they may not share the same thinking.

    We get fickle over the oddest things as people. Perhaps in your donor’s family case, they went as far as they can, and can not go any farther? Of course I am sure you have spent months longer than I have pondering this.

    As long as you are grateful, which you obviously are, you are touching their lives at a level they can accept with grace too.

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