2015 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Carol Wright
Carol Wright, 56, was a busy mom of four children, active community member and social worker when she had a heart attack in 2001 that caused severe damage to her upper left ventricle. A defibrillator was inserted, but she still suffered from poor blood circulation.
Over the next 12 years, Carol's heart health continued to deteriorate. During her decline, Carol took up pottery at a local studio. The staff and fellow artists encouraged her to remain hopeful as she awaited heart transplant.
In February 2014, with few options remaining, an interaortic balloon pump was inserted to assist her heart. In March 2014, she received a new heart.
Carol credits her family and close friends for helping her through her illness and transplant journey.
"For a while I had no hope, but I tried to remain positive and motivated and I attribute that to my family and friends," says Carol. "They were all just wonderful and I would not have made it through without them."
Carol also highly credits the Transplant Team at UW Hospital and Clinics who continue to support her as she adjusts to her "new normal" in life.
"This transplant team has given me the best care I've ever had," says Carol. As she adjusts to her new life, she works to manage the day to day basics of the effects of her post-transplant medications. "The staff still makes me feel so special," says Carol. "They carefully monitor my medications and answer any questions that I have."
Carol also has heart biopsies at the UW Health Cardiovascular Lab, where nurses like Sheri Goar, RN, offer compassion. Carol appreciates Sheri's sense of humor and her efforts to keep the atmosphere light and comfortable. Sheri has admiration for patients like Carol, whose strength and courage inspire her.
"We see patients frequently and have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships," says Sheri. "We follow patients as they recover, and are always amazed and rewarded by their strong spirits and will to live." She adds, "It's inspiring to see our patients as their bodies recover and strengthen too. Sometimes I can hardly believe it's the same person because they look so good!"
Carol gets stronger every day. "I'm amazed by what I can do without getting exhausted, like walk up steps, ride a bike or do chores around the house," says Carol. She continues to enjoy making pottery at Midwest Clay Project studio with her extended family of fellow artists.