On the morning of May 18th around 7:15 I attended cardiac rounds outside of Abel's room like we do every morning. I expected there to be no new updates so I didn't record it like I normally do. They started presenting Abel's case talking about his meds, feeds, how he did the night before, yada yada yada. I'm not going to lie, I was tired and my mind started to wander. Then our transplant coordinator spoke up correcting the doctor and caught my attention. When she speaks, you listen. She said Abel did in fact need an Xray that morning and needed to go "NPO" nil per os (nothing by mouth.) The doctor asked her why and she said, "Because he's going to the O.R." Me, still clueless, also asked "Why?!" "WE HAVE A HEART." She was standing in between the Chief of Cardiology and one of Abel's surgeons and I couldn't help but grab all three of them at once and give them the biggest and best group hug ever. It doesn't matter that I didn't record that round, it is forever etched in my mind and I will love to tell the story a million more times!
After freaking out a little bit more I grabbed my phone, ran down the hall (screaming) and headed outside to call Jason. He couldn't believe it. I still couldn't believe it. We cried and then hung up to call our parents. I called Kaya first, actually. :) We were finally able to give them all the news we had been waiting for. It was the best day ever.
Surgery was tentatively scheduled for that afternoon which turned into that evening and then the next morning. Abel left us and went into the operating room at 2am on May 19th.
My text updates to our devoted family waiting in the lobby were as follows:
3:38AM - Hammel just came in to say he is about to get started prepping Abel for when the heart arrives.
4:01AM - Heart is in the air.
4:45AM - Heart has landed (at Eppley) should be here in 30 mins. Abel is doing great and things are going as planned.
5:47AM - (Picture messages of the surgery and of Abel's old heart - they brought it in for Jason and I to look at in person. Wow. Just wow.)
6:06AM - It's in and it's pink and beating and it fits!!! Started beating on it's own!
Abel was only on bypass for 106 minutes and in surgery for a little over two hours. Absolutely incredABEL.
We finally got to see him around 9:30. He looked so good and his "numbers" were even better!! His heart rate was 126, down from 180+. His oxygen saturation was a perfect 100% up from 70!!! Exciting stuff for heart parents!
Abel was able to come off the ventilator four days later. He immediately looked happy. Smiling, yawning, coughing. He hadn't done those things in over a month. We knew how sick he was but we had no idea how bad he really felt. He wasn't hurting anymore and he is even more eager to live.
May 18th was the best day ever for us. It was the worst day ever for another family. I've been thinking about them non-stop since that day. Our heros. Complete strangers that decided to donate their son or daughter's organs which saved our son's life. I pray they have found peace and I hope that they will want to meet Abel someday. His new heart will not be wasted. It will live the most complete life imaginable. We will teach him to love. We will teach him that love is love and without it he would not be here. We will tell him his story as we have told all of you. The story of Abel Falcon that now, because of them, is just beginning.