Where do I begin? Mayos Heart Transplant team, the nursing staff and therapists are all blown away with how well Rita's body has accepted and loves her new heart! The new heart beats happily (as Brian listened to check...LOL!) and brings new life to all of her increasingly deprived areas prior to surgery. There appears to be no permanent damage to her kidneys, which had been a growing concern during her journey. With all tubes removed, no IV, no pic line and no infusion lines, Rita can move freely....though slowly on her walker. She has welcomed the freedom and enjoyed the 6 loops a day around the hospital hallway.
In fact, she is doing so well, she made another HUGE leap! Friday evening, Rita was discharged from the hospital and moved to the The Inn at Mayo Cinic, which is connected to the hospital and where transplant patients are sent for the next step in their recovery process. We celebrated by showing our appreciation to the nursing staff who have grown very close to Rita and have certainly been incredible in her nearly 4-month journey of waiting and living in their "house". Words cannot express Rita's gratitude and all the family's gratitude for their compassion, dedication and "healing hands". Many happy tears were shed as we said our goodbyes and "walked and rolled" down the hall on our way to the Inn.
Rita's niece, Jaime, ensured that all Rita's belongings were packed from her hospital room, delivered homemade lasagna for Rita and Rob's first dinner out of the hospital and made a trip to the grocery to stock their cabinets. Needless to say, Rita and Rob were both exhausted, but happy, by the time she made it to her new living quarters. Well, I guess we all were. It is anticipated that Rita will live at the Mayo Inn for 6-12 weeks as she continues physical and rehab therapy, has regular heart biopsies and other assessments to ensure she is progressing according to plan and continues to gain strength. During that time, she will have constant support through the help of her chosen caregivers….Rob, Jaime, and myself. We are all confident Rita will continue to make strides to be back home in Lexington as soon as possible.
And oh, how I wish I had taken a picture of the NUMEROUS cards Rita has received...Jaime hung them all around her room as a constant reminder of all the love and support of family and friends. You may continue communicating with Rita through your comments and posts, as well as through her new address:
The Inn at Mayo Clinic
4420 Mary Brigh Drive, Room 227
Jacksonville, Fl 32224
Many thanks to all!