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Raylene’s Story

Hello! My name is Raylene and it will be 4 years in April that I had to have a heart transplant. I was a healthy single mother of 3 girls! I caught the flu, what I thought was a cold, from a co-worker who had gone to work very ill. On Friday before President’s weekend, I went home early from work not feeling well. I went home and slept till Saturday where I got up and started cleaning the house. As the day came and went, I started feeling achy, tired, and had no strength. So Sunday was here and I got sick and passed out. This has never ever happened to me before. I asked my 13 year old if she heard me fall, but she didn’t. Well, Monday we had plans to go on the train to SB Zoo and hang out. We got there, but as I got off the train I slipped getting off while holding my 16 month old. We then took the trolley to the zoo but once we arrived I had no strength left to even walk. So I had the girls go on through the zoo while I sat at a table and waited. The next morning, I called in sick, and I never call in sick! My boss kept asking me what was wrong, but I couldn’t even explain what I was feeling but knew I needed to seek medical attention. I took my girls to school and the little one to daycare, then went home and called my doctors office. I was not going to be able to see them till next week. I called my sister and had her send my mother out this way to take me to the ER. (Yes, I did work in the medical field.) By the time she arrived, I was contemplating going or not. We ended up going to the ER, and they did an EKG to see what that would reveal, and I called my daughters father to bring the baby to me. I just wanted to see her! And then I was at UCLA with a machine, called a bi-VAD(ventricular assist device), in my stomach. I caught a virus(viral cardiomyopathy) that went straight to my heart. Everyone at my old work calls me a miracle, my sister calls me the “energizer bunny” because I kept going and going and going. They almost lost me a couple of times but I fought true and hard! Now I am jobless and would really love to go back to school to be a cardiovascular sonographer. I really love medicine. I want other patients to realize that they can beat all the odds like I did. I want a career that I know that my girls can rely on, plus it would be something that means so much more – its a closer to the heart kind of thing. So basically that is my story in a nutshell. Oh, with the economy right now, nobody is hiring!! Thanks for letting me share. Raylene C.

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