My introduction and major questionTue, 07/02/2019 - 12:01PM
Hi, I'm a 35 y/o caregiver to my dad with heart failure. The hospital LVAD educator suggested I speak with the people on here for more information from people who have actually been there.
Up until recently, my father has an EF around 10%, does not use oxygen, can walk short distances, and can practice self-care for the most part. I serve as physical, emotional, and supplemental support for his "bad days." He lives with me full-time and I care for him.
He has had CHF since 2004/2005, a complication of a "blowout" between his ventricles as the result of a congenital heart defect that didn't repair due to rheumatic fever. The septal defect was patched in 2014, and he had a pacemaker installed in 2015. He's come to near-death about 5-6 times since 2011, but has always recovered. At one point he was re-classed to Class 3 from NYCHA Class 4 status. He's always responded incredibly well to cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Physically, he looks like your average guy in his early 60's and people are usually shocked to find out he's so ill.
Sadly, he's not bouncing back as quickly, and he's currently on his 4th week of hospitalization, and this is his 5th hospitalization since December 2018. His cardiologist had him transferred to another hospital that performs LVAD surgery and heart transplants a few days ago. Mentally and emotionally, he's still 100% with the world, has an incredibly strong desire to survive, and he's very dissatisfied with how his physical body is failing him.
He is strongly considering the LVAD. However, I won't lie, he was horrified when he held the LVAD impellers in his hands yesterday. He wanted to know, from someone who has an LVAD -- how does it feel having that big heavy pump in your chest? Do you have trouble sleeping with it, or do you physically feel the pump weighing you down? After his pacemaker/ICD he really struggled with getting used to that pocket of electronic components in his chest, but then he adjusted. He looks forward to getting a good idea of what to expect. I appreciate your responses, and thank you so much.