Well it’s coming up to a year since l was first admitted to this outstanding hospital.

Just a cough is what we all thought. Why could it be anything more when just a few days ago l was on holiday in Ibiza running around with my 3-year-old. A cough that didn’t want to budge even with antibiotics and cough medicine.
This forced us to A&E, several tests were done at the local hospital, final tests showed blood clots within the heart. I was then taken to a specialist London hospital ICU.
After a few days they told us it was heart failure and that’s all we know. After three weeks in another London hospital, it become clear that l needed a specialist cardiac hospital. This is when Harefield opened their arms and took my case on and where the major life changing opportunities started, not knowing what a rollercoaster that me and my family was going to be on. We started my journey on Rowan ward on a Monday, they did everything they could to make me and my family feel comfortable with keeping me in their care.
Tuesday we had consultants come round and talk about their plans. Thursday, they decided to take me for a heart catheter and CT scan, from these tests Rowan ward wasn’t the best place for me and l was admitted to ICU. Friday was the start of something new, l was taken for an emergency operation to fit a BiVAD.
Bit of an insight to what a BiVAD is; this is a mechanical/electrical device, it is a pump that is fitted over the heart to take the strain off the heart, with 4 tubes 2cm in diameter to take oxygenated blood and deoxygenated blood around the body, these tubes come under the rib cage and out of the body. Into a machine that is quite intimidating when you first set eyes on it due to how big it is, and with it being plugged into the mains.
I was sedated after the operation, and was kept sedated as l had to go back into surgery on the Saturday for a bleed. When l finally came out of sedation,l was fine in bed resting. Wednesday, i had a physiotherapist come and get me out of bed. I marched on the spot, and we all had very high hopes everything was going in the right direction. Thursday 8/12/2022 was the day everything came crashing down. l told the nurse that l didn’t feel well and seconds later l crashed the next thing l know was the nurses saying happy new year, l felt so confused I couldn’t even talk due to tubes still being down my throat and on a ventilator for a few days before they decided that the best option for me was to put a tracheostomy in. I had to go back to surgery 1 more time for fluid around my lung, l started physio again to regain strength. They came and had a chat with us on Tuesday 10th January 2023. They told us they were going to TRY and get me on the transplant list. We had to sign some forms and had a chat with the transplant coordinator on the Wednesday and that same day they told us l WAS ON THE LIST.

FRIDAY 13th we was told late evening that there was a possibility of a heart! Little did we know that 6 o’clock on Saturday morning i would be woken up with “you’re going down to theatre, to have the heart”

The surgery went well and l was awake drinking the next day and even saw the physio and we sat on the edge of the bed it felt weird not having that big machine attached to me anymore and l could breathe normally again. l now had my own fan club l had everyone stopping by my bed telling me how proud they were of me, at this point l was just thinking it was just because l made it through heart transplant surgery

Four days later l was moved from ICU to Rowan ward again where l first started my journey in Harefield. This is where all the hard work started, learning how to support my own head again, learning how to eat and walk and how to do your everyday things.

In February my wife who was with me everyday finally brought our 4yr old son up to see me and what an emotional day it was and there after he came up everyday, he got me moving he was my very own physio along side the team of nurses and physiotherapists, with my wife beside me all the way l was going to get through this because staying in bed was not an option.

In March l finally managed to weigh myself, l was only 52kg l’d lost so much weight from being 82kg back in November 2022, this was when l started to to ask my wife questions about what happened ie) did l have a heart attack? she said no you had a cardiac arrest and it was touch and go and that she had to call the all the immediate family up because at the time they didn’t think i was going to make it, that’s when l realised the severity of the situation, some of the doctors spoke to me about some bits , one doctor from ICU told me what he did and thank goodness he was there along side the other doctors and nurses that was on duty that day.

They had to crack open my chest and operate at bedside as they didn’t have time to get me back into theatre!, my chest remained open so they could see what was going on, they told me l had kept them all on their toes that day and that i was a fighter.

My wife told me that l had woken up on Friday 23rd December, l don’t remember Christmas Day, but the only two things l did know was that I missed my sons 4th birthday and Christmas Day of which upset me.

I finally came home on the 12th May 2023 after being in Harefield hospital since the 28th November 2022,
I am so grateful to my donor family and the amazing people who work within Harefield for giving me a second chance of life and to be able to watch my son grow up. Graeme Truby