Him-Him. He is the strongest 11 year old I’ve ever met in my life. He was diagnosed with Heart failure in late 2014 and since then it hasn’t been a fun journey. Him-Him was placed in the D4 (Paediatric Cardiothoracic ward which I was also placed in when first diagnosed) of Queen Mary when diagnosed with Heart-Failure. His Heart-Failure then deteriorated which then pushed the doctors to put his name on the Heart Transplant list. In September of 2016 the situation deteriorated further and the doctors were left with no other option but to implant a machine in his body, which just like my device, would keep him alive until a suitable donor heart comes along. The difference between my machine and his machine is that both the sides of his Heart were failing hence he had to get the equivalent of two of my machines implanted.A BIVAD ( assist machine for both left and right side) is around the same size as a washing machine. Because this machine is so big, he wasn’t very mobile and he had to stay in the ICU, the machine only had 15 minutes of internal battery and therefore he was plugged into a wall socket most of the time. Since September of last year, the boy has undergone 7 operations to replace the pumps and also had other major difficulties which resulted in emergency operations. Him-Him broke a record for being the longest surviving patient living on a BIVAD machine in the Asia Pacific Region. He was living with the machine for 282 days.
The first time I met Him-Him was November of last year. I remember the day very clearly, I walked into the ICU and I had gone to his room and started speaking to him, I remember him looking at my machine and I could tell that he was quite upset at the fact that my machine was small enough for me to carry in a bag and walk around, since then I told myself that I have to be extremely grateful about the fact that I have a machine which allows me to be so mobile and lead a normal life. Having stayed in D4 for so long, the nurses and doctors always told me how positive this kid was. I remember one day in October when my doctors had come in and told me that Him-Him was now in terrible condition and that his Ejection Fraction was only between 1-3 percent. I remember reading the News Paper and there was an article about him that my doctor had put up. He said that if Him-Him didn’t receive a heart within the coming weeks that there was a very high chance he wouldn’t make it much longer. However days went by, I went through my LVAD operation and had already recovered and he was still hanging in there. Whilst I was in Hospital I tried to visit Him-Him as much as I could, even though he’s 6 years younger than me, I was probably the youngest person he was going to see until he got his Heart-Transplant. Him-Him’s English isn’t very good but the nurses and I would teach him the basics whenever I came to visit him and I tried my best to encourage him to learn English. He started to learn English by watching movies such as - Finding Nemo, Ice Age and I brought him one of my personal favourites - Madagascar.
On the 12th of June, after a 14 month wait, Him-Him was given a second chance at life. I cannot explain the feeling when I heard he received his Heart-Transplant. I was possibly the happiest guy alive (apart from him).
He has been one of the biggest influences and inspirations throughout my tough times, I always tell myself that if he can do it, so can I. On Saturday morning, I finally got a chance to see him post-transplant. I was expecting to walk into his room and he would be sleeping or extremely tired. He was the exact opposite of what I expected. When I walked into his room, he was filled with energy, he was moving around and he had the biggest smile on his face, it was really such a good feeling to see him like this.
To everyone reading this post, the one thing I’d like you to take away from this is that you should NEVER GIVE UP. Him-Him is a champion and if he could make it through 282 days living in the ICU, you can also find the strength to overcome your problems and come out being a champion.
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