Happy family after successful heart transplant

Hello From New Delhi!

Living in a time where doctors are often perceived as scammers and hospitals as an industry, we have been fortunate enough to interact with some fantastic, caring human beings.

Believe me, when I say there are far easier ways to make money – Professions which will allow you a family life, a vacation, a weekend, an evening out. Doctors in critical specialisations have none of these luxuries. They can only survive years without any “me” time if they actually believe in the work they do… And yes! They deserve my every last penny and deepest gratitude for saving the life of my loved one.

Hello from New Delhi! We’re a regular family of 4… sporty, sociable husband, arty anti social wife, techie teenage son and Messi fan younger daughter. Most of our family time is outdoors… vacation time is favourite time for all of us- including the fights, planning, discovering, teasing and tasting!!

One regular Saturday morning, while Karhun (husband) back from his football game with the aches and pains (that happen when you are 40+ and play with kids in the 20s) I was yelling about homework with the kids. Husband had taken an antacid presuming the early morning coffee didn’t agree with him.

Half hour later he’s down on all fours wincing with pain. Since he’s already taken an antacid, we decide to go to the hospital to our family doctor so he can figure it out. A dramatic drive (all drives are dramatic in Delhi…but this one particularly so) we reach Aashlok Hospital. Our doctor tries to get an ECG reading and realizes Karhun is having a heart attack.

Just as he is rushed into the ICU and flat lines, 5 shocks and CPR later we’re waiting for the ambulance to now rush him to Escorts. 7 attacks in the ambulance…still horrible traffic! An emergency stent surgery is performed by a specialist who is miraculously there and Karhun stabilizes but is on life-support. A week into coma, still on life-support, he finally wakes up wondering why I have a worried look on my face and am introducing myself as his wife… (of course he knows who I am!!)

Another few weeks of recovering in hospital. We head back home… rest recovery and regular checkups for 6 months… things aren’t getting normal. We’ve also put a device called an ICD implant which regulates his arrhythmia. Karhun, the sporty now struggles to walk to the toilet and bathe. It hard to see – for me, for the kids, and for his parents. He’s always been the hero.

Finally in September we’re told that it’s heart failure and if we don’t have a heart transplant, his chances of survival are low. A six-month roller coaster – from healthy to dying. We were blessed to meet with superb doctors, good advice and implicit faith in the path we were taking.

We were advised to go to Chennai for the transplant. The pre-screening test gave us good news- it’s not a heart+lung transplant but ONLY A HEART TRANSPLANT…. Yes! We rejoiced and had a celebratory dinner (it was Dussehra). Life does make you act strangely.

We were going to leave the kids for 3-6 months and be in Chennai, awaiting a donor. Thank God for our strong family system in India – my mom and sister-in-law took over the kids. They flew down every other week to cheer us up and have a “holiday”. Diwali was spent together.


Waiting in Chennai

We kept ourselves busy with a little bit of work, watching movies online and running our small temporary home away from home in Chennai. The support was fantastic in terms of chemist delivery, emergency ambulance, patients that needed nursing care, organizing a cook to come and help.

By now Karhun was on a constant drip called Milrinone which helped him survive the waiting period. After Diwali, both of us were a little frustrated waiting…. and just then we received a call that a possible donor had been found. A match is required not just for the blood group but also for weight, size and condition of heart. The moments flew, while one team prepped Karhun for surgery, another team checked, matched and harvested the heart. Time was crucial and I felt for the loss of the donor’s family.

The transplant was successful. We met him the next day behind many pipes and tubes, exhausted and drained but alive. The next few days were crucial as the body learns to accept the new heart. Rejection is a key worry. There were many families with us going through the same thing. We formed wonderful bonds and shared the ups and downs of their transplant patient as well as books, jokes and things to do to keep sane. We were fortunate…


Post-Transplant

Watching miracle after miracle – of God and man, we returned to Delhi a month later. It’s now been one year. Karhun is well. He needs to be careful of infection. Regular flu takes on its own avatar and it means coordinating with doctors in Delhi and Chennai. It’s like he’s pregnant- I often tease him.. in terms of taking care not to be sick, not to eat wrong. He has returned to work, we go out, he’s taken up golf and does play football with our daughter.

One year Post-Transplant! Coaching Our Football Fan!

Life is back to normal with a little extra care and a lot of gratitude. For us no crappy day is really that bad…We’re alive. How bad can anything else be? And yes, the whole family has signed up for organ donation. A little thank you prayer every night to God, the unknown donor family, the doctors, our families and friends and for all the love we continue to receive.

We’ve now joined a support group for families going through transplant to share anything we know or help through the uncertain times, the many questions you hesitate to ask your doctor.

Please find the link to the Support Group Page:
Patient Support Group

Ritika Nanda

A regular family of four. Sporty, sociable husband, arty anti-social wife, techie teenage son and Messi fan daughter. A six month roller coaster - from healthy to dying. A heart transplant is successful. Watching miracle after miracle, we have now joined ORGAN India’s support group for families going through transplants to help through the uncertain times.

21 Comments

  1. TAPAS GOSWAMI · January 24, 2018 Reply

    A moving story. I’ve already donated all my organs and my body too.

  2. Dr Anil N Suchak · January 24, 2018 Reply

    Very happy to read your blog
    Very well written
    Even I had a live donor liver transplant 11 years back in New Delhi with Dr Subhash Gupta as I suffered from complications of blood transfusion which had hepatitis c virus which chew away my liver made it cirrhotic with two tumors of cancer hepatoma. I am a practising doctor and do work as a Intensivist in ICU.
    I have been Couselling free to all patients who need Liver Transplant and I have given more than 200 lectures on Organ Donation on different platforms
    Actively made a subcommittee in INDIAN Medical Association

  3. Dr Anil N Suchak · January 24, 2018 Reply

    https://youtu.be/mCpv1lgQGNw

    A story of Hope

    Gratitude to all

  4. Dr Aditya Pradhan · January 24, 2018 Reply

    Very well penned story
    Can really empathise with you and Karhun

  5. VINOD KUMAR SOOD · January 25, 2018 Reply

    very nice story, will help to mankind

  6. Anurag Kapur · January 25, 2018 Reply

    U were a pilliar of resilience and strength Ritika along with Pradeep Uncle…kudos to you for ur perseverance and sometimes outburts (smiles) but all of this to ensure that the man u have been married to for the past 17-18 years is next to u when ur grandchildren turn 17-18 years old! God bless the ‘Fantastic Four’…😊😊

  7. Namita · January 25, 2018 Reply

    Will sign up,god bless our karhun always

  8. Priti Wadhwa · January 25, 2018 Reply

    Ritika, so touched n enlightened.🙏
    Goes to show how u should never take life for granted! Respect n gratitude for another (known or unknown) are pillars in the journey of life!
    Best Wishes to you, Karhun & the family.

  9. Lalit · January 26, 2018 Reply

    Lovely write up sir.Very inspiring sir.
    May you and your family remain happy as ever and God’s blessings remain bestow ed upon you as ever.

  10. Ritika pahwa · January 26, 2018 Reply

    Wonderful story of courage, hope and faith…

  11. Rajan Misquita · January 28, 2018 Reply

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring us to consider saving lives too! Wishing Karan a happy and healthy life ahead!

  12. Pooja · January 30, 2018 Reply

    Very heartfelt and well written blog.. it also means how important it is for all of us to register ourselves for organ donation while we are alive.
    Very happy for you and your family !!

  13. Arti Arora · January 30, 2018 Reply

    Hi Ritika…Thanks for sharing your story.. very inspiring … my husband has also been suggested a heart transplant… he has an ef of 25percent and had an heart attack 5yrs back and had got stenting done and then got his mitral valve replaced … was doing well all these yrs but now docs hv suggested a heart transplant as he gets breathless sometimes … pls if you could guide me as to how to go about it and from which doctor you got it done … would like to know all the details… thanks

    • ORGAN India
      ORGAN India · February 8, 2018 Reply

      Hi Tisha,

      Trying to send you an email but it’s not going through. Do send us an alternate.

      Thanks,
      ORGAN India Team

    • ritika · September 17, 2018 Reply

      hey arti apologies i am seeing your message now. hope your husband is well. please call me on 9810119504 if you need any advise still happy to help. its a shame i didnt see this earlier

  14. Rajan Desai · February 1, 2018 Reply

    congratulations Ritika & Kurhan.
    I wish you very happy healthy and wonderful long life ahead.
    I am also a heart transplant person. Two years are completed in 2017 December. My case was first few in Mumbai in 2015. It was first interstate ( Heart was brought from Surat to Mumbai in 90 minutes) transplant. And I think I am the senior most by age (60) in Heart Transplant in Mumbai. I consider it as Miracle and thank each and everyone , Team of Doctors, Doner’s relative Traffic authorities , and all others who made this miracle successful. Regards

  15. Dr. Ashish Sharma
    Virendra Maurya · February 16, 2018 Reply

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  16. Seema · September 7, 2018 Reply

    Love you Ritika & Karhun. You guys are such an inspiration to all of us. My love for both of u is eternal. Wish u all good health and happiness always always.

  17. Sonali · April 20, 2019 Reply

    Happy to read this blog and very inspiring story.

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