Today was Cedars Sinai's Annual Heart & Lung Transplant Patient Picnic.
Last month on June 25, 2017, marked one year since my father's heart transplant yet he is almost 95% immobile due to a combination of neuropathy, muscle & spine function/strength, and medication.
We knew Dad's inability to walk would be a challenge for today's event at the park, but showing up was important for our family to be present and celebrate how far everyone on this journey has come.
As we pushed Dad up the dirt and grass hill on his wheelchair, the gradual incline made it harder to maneuver. Two other family members saw our struggle and kindly offered their help. Thanks to their support, we got to the top where everyone had gathered.
We were reunited with other TAH (Total Artificial Heart) patients we had met at Cedars Sinai including Steve Williams, Johnny Lemucci and Lance White (all whom are back in the work force, living their best lives).
Steve Williams said getting back to work has been a new training process in itself; he needed to recondition his mind and body to get up for work everyday after years of transplant recovery.
Surrounding ourselves with our transplant families was uplifting and reminiscent of the obstacles we had all overcome. It was a reminder to be thankful we got to this point and no longer need to spend our lives at the hospital.
Dad still has a long journey ahead but our family will continue to support him and do our best to get him to recovery.
As the Cedars Sinai staff and patients hurried off to the fields to play a friendly game of baseball, our family stayed behind due to Dad's immobility. We finished up lunch, connected with a few friends and staff members then called it a day.
As we got into the car, I said to Dad, "Lets work hard this year so you can participate next year'.