Wayne Melin, Matters of the Heart
Dad has been a bionic man for 4 years now and counting! He has no pulse; it’s just a “whirl” because the blood flow is constant. This is no pumping. His heart pump is connected to a tube that comes out of his belly and hooks up to a computer (controller) that gives vital heart information. During the day, he wears 2 batteries the size of vhs cassettes to run the pump. At night, he hooks up to a 20 foot cord that plugs into an electrical outlet. This self-made gadget guy, who has become somewhat of a gadget himself, has had to say no to baths, swimming & fishing...electrocution, yikes! And no more working with his favorite hobbies like woodworking that includes saws or stained glass that includes cutting tools...nope, it could cut his life-saving cord! He’s ok with giving up a TON of things he loves...HE JUST WANTS TO LIVE! He shows us this each and every day by how hard he has to work and what he has to go through to “live”.
We thought getting through that first surgery and recovery was the hard part. Since then, dad has had to survive not 1, but 4 heart surgeries in 4 years...with 3 of them being heart pump replacements. Ok, he didn’t have to; he WANTED to, the alternative was death which would have been the easy road. The heart pump is a new frontier. This one is called “destination therapy” meaning there are no other options and this is it. There are no guarantees. With each heart pump comes different challenges and hardships. Because of dad’s unique chest cavity, more is learned with each heart pump replacement to help save more lives. His surgeries have be become teaching tools. DAD WENT THROUGH IT ALL, so he could hold his beautiful wife’s hand, see his kids, grandkids, family and friends another day. He’s one tough Swede!
In the past 4 years, mom & dad moved 3 times to be closer to the specialized team of doctors, and downsize due to mounting medical bills. Dad didn’t get to say I would like to keep that toolbox...because he had the hard work of surviving and recovering in the hospital while his family moved or shed his belongings to bring him home to an environment that could support his new life style. During the 3rd surgery, their beloved dog, sweet Tilly, went to heaven before dad arrived home. With each surgery, when dad went home to recover in new surroundings, Tilly was by his side each time to comfort him and keep him comfort...”she knew he needed her”. This last time she was not there and dad struggled without his companion. Yet again, they are having to consider another move because the bills are (overwhelming). Dad is on 15 medicines each day and he has special bandaging needs with high costs! With each move dad was happy to just be HOME, whatever home was! He was unbelievable and he never complained. He was just happy to be out of the hospital. It’s getting a lot harder to move because recovering is harder. Each surgery takes more out of him.
Dad is a modern-day medical miracle! He’s courageous, brave and one of the most beautiful souls we’ve ever known! We love this king of hearts with all of our hearts!!! He has moved mountains more than once to live. It’s taken sheer will-power and determination to get through what he has, PLUS, he’s a walking teaching tool for future generations to come. Dad’s worked hard all his life to provide for his family, sometimes working 3 jobs at a time. Dad and mom deserve a chance to get back on their feet without the worry of how to buy life-saving prescriptions, special bandages or even groceries. Mom, dad’s amazing wife Mickey, is by dad’s side, his loving nurse, 24/7. She gets little sleep. She would benefit from some added love & support as she has not been able to care for herself since dad’s care has been so great. One of her teeth fell out when she was with dad at the hospital this last time. She’s needs 4 teeth extractions due to the extreme pain from infection, and she needs them done fast. She is not focusing on pretties, just necessities. She is the most loving woman we’ve ever met, and would give her very last dollar to anyone who needed it. She has cared for many in her life for anyone who needed it. If anyone can help ease their burden, it would be welcomed with tears of joyful appreciation. Thank you and God Bless!
Last week we found out the IV antibiotics are not doing the trick. Dad’s blood count is still showing signs of the dangerous bacteria and his white blood count is still high. In addition, the incision near his sternum is showing more signs of trouble. The doctors decided to a more aggressive approach. Dad is scheduled for another surgery this coming Friday to clean out the incision site where the infection has taken hold. In the mean time, we are still running Dad every day to Mercy hospital in Coon Rapids for his daily IVs until Tuesday. The doctors don’t want to take him completely off it as they think the infection would accelerate quickly. On Wednesday, dad will be admitted to Abbott Heart Hospital so they can prepare dad for surgery. We are hopeful Friday’s surgery will help get this moving in the right direction - prayers please!!! Dad will most likely will be released some time over the weekend. He will go home with another apparatus that will continually work on the incision site/infection. We pray for positive results.
Dad is getting very tired from all of the running, mom is the same. We kids are trying to drive when we can to allow mom time to catch up on things, make important calls for dad’s care or just take a nap. We treasure our drives back and forth to the hospital since we get dad all to our selves! We have great conversations and some good belly laughs in between. Dad has been a trooper through all of this and most of the time his spirits are good. He is always saying thank you and tells us how much he appreciates us and loves us. He has been such a sweetheart during all of these challenging times and he has never lost sight of his blessings. He is simply amazing. We have learned a lot from his strength and courage.
We are also very thankful for the contributions to the GoFundMe account for mom and dad. The medical expenses and daily travels back and forth to the hospital add up. This has been a much needed relief on top of all of the other things we are dealing with. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We did find out dad needs 4 teeth pulled too...What??? Are mom & dad in cahoots together? Both need 4 teeth pulled? I thought Kim and I were double trouble, it turns out they are (laugh out loud)!! I guess that’s what happens when an average American family with a heart pump veteran of four years has to focus everything they’ve got to survive it. They have, but the cost has been great...the cost of losing dad would have been greater, so we’re up for flippin’ fight!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FAMILY & FRIENDS, there are no words big enough to express our heartfelt gratitude. Those hard earned contributions you have given will not be taken for granted, your precious dollars will be used to help mom & dad with their medical & dental crisis. There also have been other good deed fairies who have given warm meals, gas cards and other loving support -- BIG, BIG, BIG HUGS AND THANKS TO YOU ALL!!!!! YOU ALL ARE OUR TEAM MELIN - GO WAYNE!!! :)
We got the get away car ready...and we broke him (dad) out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC6Cgb8nHwk
The twins decided it was time to go because dad's life depended on it. Jail or not...we broke him loose from hell! We were not losing dad over poor care. We drove him straight to Abbott ER to have him checked out. Our VIP(dad) was SO RELIEVED SOMEONE CARED enough to help him - dad is home resting with his sweet wife who can give him better care. Now...new plans...he is SAFE!
This time will allow mom time to take care of her serious teeth issues she needs to address immediately. They both will be working on getting back on their feet!
Thank you EVERYONE from our entire Melin Family for all the love & support for dad, and mom. It's such a beautiful thing so see the outpouring of love for them when they need it most. Big hugs.
We will be thinking of you Wayne, and knowing that it will all go ok. I had that infection-sucking pump after a surgery, and it worked. Now you'll have another dang thing attached to you 24/7! Hopefully shortlived, however. Prayers and hugs...