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Moon Daughter
09-11-2011, 10:30 PM
I've done a lot of research on patients who are dealing/recovering from heart transplants. I don't know anyone who has actually had such an experience, so I was wondering if anyone on AW has or if you know what it was like for a family member or friend who had a transplant. I get the medical aspect of it and all, so I was looking for the mentality of a transplant recipient.

GeorgeK
09-13-2011, 09:01 PM
The reactions are all over the map, so you could do just about anything and nobody would likely call you on it. There's often some survivor's guilt and the patient obsessing about how someone else died. They might try to find out the donor's name but the records are sealed for a reason, so they rarely find out. The anti rejection drugs are not fun and so much so that the transplant surgeon often has to essentially assume primary care, because the average doctors don't want to risk prescribing anything that might interfere with those drugs. I think a part of the reason why those drugs are so harsh is that they are a constant reminder, a Sword of Damacles always hiding in the background mocking the patient.

It's common for family members to walk on eggshells and think the patient is worse than they really are. They'll try to baby the patient in ways that are perceived as being condescending so there's a constant tension of assistence being perceived as an insult, because if the transplant goes well, the patient is normally in much better shape after the transplant than before.

Maryn
09-13-2011, 09:49 PM
As always, George, you've given really useful information. Makes me wish I was writing a transplant story!

Maryn, original heart

Moon Daughter
09-13-2011, 10:07 PM
Thank you, George! I do agree that the emotions would be quite varying for heart transplant patients. My MC in particular is grateful for the new organ, but also feels guilty because 1) someone had to die for her to get it; and 2) she can't seem to think of the new heart as her own. I'm hoping that'll seem authentic enough.

GeorgeK
09-14-2011, 03:08 AM
As always, George, you've given really useful information. Makes me wish I was writing a transplant story!

Maryn, original heart

Thanks for the applause. I probably don't say, "Thanks," enough.