We were living paycheck to paycheck. Carlos, my husband, was working two jobs to support us while I finished nursing school. I was all set to graduate in May of 2002 and had a emergency room job lined up for after graduation. We had our son, Christian (then 7-years-old) and our older daughter, Daja (then 2-years-old).
Carlos had been complaining on and off of abdominal pain and was experiencing a night-time cough for a couple months. We finally went in to see a family doctor, which resulted in the admission for CHF. He had a blood clot in one of the chambers in his heart from the poor heart function as well. He spent 8 days in the hospital, having tests done, medications started, etc. He had a left-sided heart cath which showed an ejection fraction of 15-20%. He left the hospital after 8 days weighing about 35 pounds less than he did when he went in! Within a couple months he was able to go back to work but with lots of meds to take.
One year after the initial diagnosis, Carlos came in for another echocardiogram. Unfortunately the news was not good. The docs told us that there was no improvement in his heart function and likely wouldn't be at this point. I remember that office visit very clearly because it was the first time we were told he would eventually need a heart transplant. They couldn't tell us when - they said could be 6 months or it could be 6 years. They wanted us to go to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where there was a transplant program. We lived in South Carolina at the time. I can remember Carlos telling the doctor he wanted to live long enough to see the kids (we had Libby by this time - she was just a couple months old) graduate. That brought tears to my eyes....I wanted him to live long enough to see them get married, see grandbabies, etc.
We saw the people at MUSC periodically and followed up locally with the cardiologist. And time went by. Life eventually seemed normal again....