Review: Medi-Materials UndervestMon, 07/09/2018 - 3:01PM
My wife and I first got initiated to our lvad and heart transplant program at Oregon Health Sciences University by meeting the various teams who eventually would be treating me for the end stage of my 17 year battle with heart failure. We live about 100 miles from Portland, where the hospital is, so we rented a room for a couple of nights to make the 11 meetings up at the OHSU campus over 2 days that we were scheduled for. The process and weight of the experience, though necessary and even looked long forward to, was in real life sobering and daunting. On the drive back to Eugene, a favorite client of mine, unaware of my health situation, sent a text inquiring as to where I was, I own a small home improvement contracting business and with everything that was going on in my life at that time, I had failed to communicate with her about scheduling her now over due to start project. We were on a freeway and I was driving, so I had my wife reply via text that my crew would be getting there as soon as possible. Since she was one of my favorite clients, it did not feel right to be so generic with my response. When my wife and switched seats at the next rest stop, I proceeded to tell the whole story. My clients response could not have been more kind, or more surprising. Apparently, up until 16 years ago she had worked in the same transplant unit as an RN, infact one of her jobs was to fly out with a surgeon and bring back hearts. Her husband, also a very fine person, was one of the anesthesiologists who worked the operating room there back then. Skip ahead 5 months when I recontacted those same clients after having my lvad, installed. They were very surprised to hear that I was out of the hospital, for when they last were involved with lvads, lvads were the size of "small dishwashers", and well a patient receiving one was limited to staying in the hospital. Long and short of it, every time I find myself starting to complain of wrestling with this 8 lbs. or so of batteries, controller and their attending cables, I have been reminded that it could be a lot worse. A lot worse. The lvad experience also, I recently discovered can be better. Being that the lvad for me was installed as a bridge therapy to an eventual transplant, I felt that anything I do now, or are limited to doing now, is temporary. Also being a somewhat practical (cheap at times) person, I did not want to invest in any lvad apparel that could not also be used and worn post transplant. Given that I survive all this of course. We started with purchasing a utility vest. I am an avid photographer so my thinking was the vest with its many pouches and pockets could eventually be used for that. I also purchased a tactical tee shirt with pockets that are placed up on the sides under the shoulders. With both the vest and the tactical shirt, the battery cables always sprung out some, and gear was not completely hidden. The vest eventually wore out, and wearing the tight fitting tactical shirt in summer weather was just not appealing to me. So, I saw a couple of weeks ago, a post here for the Medi-Materials Undervest. At its price point it seemed worth the risk. For me, wearing it has been life changing. Everything about the lvad is secured and supported. Checking the batteries and changing them, crucial to the HeartWare lvad I have been assigned, is super easy. One can even ditch the foley anchor while wearing it. I just am more comfortable getting around. I have even been outside working in the summer's heat and have not, it seems to me got additionally hot wearing the undervest. And of course... of much value to me... with all the rage in photography these about shooting silent with electronic shutters, I can in the future go out on sensitive shoots discreetly packing extra camera gear under most of my regular shirt with a re-purposed lvad undervest.