Dads Healthy Heart Fund

$15,805 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 205 people in 13 months
Hello all..
I am Jonathan D. Meeks Jr. (son of the beneficiary) and I am from Richmond Ca.

In 2002-2003, my father (Jonathan D. Meeks Sr.)discovered he had cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart) and high blood pressure.. With cardiomyopathy, one may suffer from: weight gain often in the midsection, swollen legs, constant tiredness, skipped heartbeats, and shortness of breath/ inability to breathe while laying flat or sleeping. Unfortunately he suffered from all of these symptoms. 

He was 43 at the time.

After being hospitalized for some weeks, he remained on temporary disability until being able to go back to work. He was fortunate to have been prescribed a lengthy list of medications to combat his condition, along with a strict diet, a mild exercise regime and of course a wife to enforce it all. 

For the last 14 years, my father has gone to the hospital for blood work, miscellaneous tests, and at least 4 emergency visits pertaining specifically to his heart condition. It is amazing that he has been able to hang in there as long as he has in this minimally invasive fashion. 

He has had some health scares in these 14 years, and the most recent one being 6 months ago. 

He had pneumonia in both lungs, along with some kidney and liver failures due to that. All putting further strain on his heart and its functions. It was recommended by his doctors that he have implanted into his chest: a defibrillator. A precautionary measure in the event that his heart had dire palpitations or suddenly stopped due to heart failures. This device becomes alerted in times of the heart stopping, zapping it to revive a patient. Similarly to movie scenes where a doctor zaps a patient back to life. 

For those of you who may know my dad (also know as Hammer), know that the lengths he would go to for his family, friends and loved ones. Fearless and intolerable to hostilities towards those he loves and cherishes and yet, a gentle giant. Beyond kind and beyond fair. And, a scaredy cat when it comes to himself and unforeseeable outcomes. 

I know that I cannot blame him, I would be also!

With the support and push of his doctors and family, he underwent the procedure to get a defibrillator implanted in him. He recovered from his pneumonia and eventually went home and resumed his day to day after a few months. All seemed okay, and his family remained reassured. 

Recently, he had been acting different: short of breath, sluggish appetite, and an endless tired streak. 

Some days ago I sat to dinner with both of my parents at home. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, just dinner on a Monday night prepared by mom. 

I sat on the love seat while they sat on the main couch watching Family Feud. Talking, joking, and laughing. Until out of nowhere dad completely went limp, and just flailed back lifeless against the couch cushions. I ran to his side thinking he may have been choking, but he didn't respond to my mother or me. My mom yelled for me to call 911, and I did. And threw her the phone. Only seconds after that, he sprang forward. Fully conscious, coherent and oblivious to the fact that he had just undergone a revival from his defibrillator. 

I will never forget that night. The most scared I had ever been in my entire life. The only thing that calmed my mother and I, was that (if anyone knows my dad, knows that he knows "everyone" or at least someone from "everywhere" [in Cali or not] ) after 3 paramedics and 2 fire fighters entered our house, the 3rd fire fighter saw my dad and called him by name as if they were buddies from high school. Immediate laughter and sarcasm filled the room. In my head I said "of course he knows him"! We breathed a sigh of relief when dad finally agreed to go to the hospital after ranting about feeling fine. My mom, sister and I cried together big that night. After being in the ER for a couple of hours the doctors said he was okay to go home for the night. Later that week my dad allowed himself to be taken by ambulance to Kaiser in Santa Clara where his heart doctors/specialists from 2002-2003 were stationed. Unfortunately the following Saturday, he experienced his second revival from his defibrillator, only this time his family was not nearby, but his doctors and nurses were. 

As I type this, it is now 8 days since his last revival. I can tell you, my dad has gone from a tube down his throat while unconscious, to walking through Kaiser Santa Clara hallways joking and talking about his kids and his favorite teams. He is now awaiting surgery to get an LVAD implanted into his chest to assist his heart functions. This is the step he will take that will allow him to survive until a compatible heart donor is available to him (bodily size, age and blood type). Thankfully, he has health coverage to undergo these procedures. 

However, in order to undergo these procedures, certain requirements (financial and otherwise) must be met. 

The big one is housing. After he has an LVAD implanted into him, he will spend up to 3-4 weeks in the hospital and housed for up to 2-3 months within 30 miles of the hospital, should emergencies arise due to his condition/surgery and treatment. 

Getting a compatible heart will be an entire separate ordeal with very similar waiting and recovery obligations that the LVAD procedure would entail. 

This fundraiser is meant solely for housing, and transportation to and from "home and hospitals" in Santa Clara. My father's permanent address is about 53 miles away, through bay area traffic. This would mean he and my mother Marian (who would act as his primary caregiver) will have to temporarily relocate at least twice while undergoing 2 very life changing procedures within the course of hopefully not more than a year and a half. 

If anyone has anything to offer, no matter how small, it would be greatly appreciated by my family and I, as well as my dad. 100% of the funds raised will go directly to my father and mother’s transportation expenses as well as temporary housing in Santa Clara, California during his recovery after his LVAD implantation, and after his heart transplant. The housing will more than likely be paid in full after each individual procedure is completed and transportation will be used as needed.

This is something our family has known would be likely to occur in my dad’s life at some point, but no matter how prepared you try to be, it never seems like you can be entirely ready for something like this.

I appreciate you all for taking the time to at least read this. The prayers, positive vibes and comments are 100% appreciated. 

Thank you all for hearing me.

My thoughts ands prayers go out to any and all those who may have experienced anything of this sort, on either side of the equation.. 

This is the last photo taken of my father while in adequate health. Here he is 58 while holding his Great Grandson. 
Here he is some 3 weeks later, before regaining some strength while awaiting his first of two very game changing life procedures. 
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Currently, Dad is home and chilling like a villain His numbers from his last few doc appointments have been good, aside from 1 little snag this last week, but he has bounced right back in proper form and is back to doing well with his LVAD
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Been a very challenging few months, emotional, and exhausting. And here come the holidays as they are indifferent to circumstances of life. But, I wanted everyone to know, that, mom and dad are currently back home after weeks in the hospital and close to the hospital. Frequent visits to Santa Clara are necessary, but about a week ago, Dad came home for the first time in 45 days. And I am ever so thankful that I got to spend Thanksgiving, at home, with them both. I apologize for my lack of presence in FB, I’ve been busy as well. But I wanted to give the update that Dad is home, on his own couch, in his own bed, and in front of his own tv along with his wife and number 1 pillar.
His recovery has been going quite well, minus a speed bump or two. Currently on track with no complications! So it is safe to say that the first half of this journey is at an end. Next step will be the transplant, some months into the future. But for not, everyone is content and in a state Of relax. An amazing thing.
Thank you all for the love and continued support it absolutely means the world to myself, and my entire family.
I hope this post has given some reassurance.
Love you all
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Guess who’s been discharged?
Currently staying in Santa Clara but is out of the hospital. The doctors fine tuned his LVAD to the most optimal settings for his body. He has been out and about with Mom all day today. Hanging in the for us Just wanted to give the latest, thank you all for the continued love and support
Dad finally out and into something comfy
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Today was a good day for pops! Went to visit him and he already had a few visitors. Sitting up in his chair, back to solid foods (and he’s absolutely loving that) and just a few meds hooked up to him along with his LVAD. Brought him some cookies from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in SF, he said he was going to save them for dessert but somehow I doubt it. Did a lap with him in the halls, and no dizzy spells or arrhythmias . If anyone wants to bring him a milkshake, I know he can get down with that, and his doctors have allowed it Thank you all for the continued love and support
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$15,805 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 205 people in 13 months
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Alton Jackson
3 months ago
Joan Wraxall
9 months ago
Marlene McDonough
10 months ago
Sue Stanton
10 months ago
Dennis Palmer
10 months ago
Jonathan David Meeks Jr.
10 months ago
Renee Edmonds
12 months ago
12 months ago
Mark Shelton
12 months ago
Connie Coburn
12 months ago
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