413 days. Gunter munz knows exactly. That's how long he waited. Day by day – on a heart.
Last year he spent christmas in the clinic in erlangen. This year he did not want it anymore. "I was so down in the dumps the weeks before that I said, "if I donate a heart on the 24th, I'll have to give it back. I don't have a heart yet, so I'll pack my suitcase and just go'." The last eight weeks in particular were difficult for zeyerner and his family. "It was pure horror. It was getting closer and closer to christmas, my mother was getting worse. I became more and more weak. The weekly visits to erlangen were no longer any fun at all: once again we were in the hospital and once again nothing happened, declares wife heidi.
The past year was probably the most difficult for the family. On 19. Heidi munz's mother died in november. "That was a tuesday, and on friday she was buried." But on the following tuesday, exactly one week after the death of his mother-in-law, gunter munz received the news that he had no longer expected: "the doctor came and wanted to take blood. I was on the way to the room with him and he said: "mr. Munz, there is a heart for you – one hundred percent". I didn't really understand at first, I asked once or twice if I could call my wife, if it was really true." Gunter munz swallows hard. You can see that even though he's wearing a mouth guard. But the shine in his eyes doesn't fade for a second.
Shortly after, at 22.30 o'clock, the phone rang at heidi munz: "i was already in bed. Suddenly I see on the phone that gunter is calling. ,what will happen now?I thought to myself, and first asked who it was." – "no me, was gunter's answer at the other end of the line. And then came the sentence that heidi munz had been waiting for so long: "you won't believe it, but the helicopter with my heart is already on its way."
Joy and fear at the same time
With one of her husband's nurses, heidi munz immediately drove to erlangen that night. Daughter katharina, who studies there, was already with her father ten minutes after the phone call. "It was joy and fear at the same time", heidi munz describes the feeling she had when she drove to erlangen in the car.
"On the one hand you are happy that there is a heart, on the other hand you think to yourself, hopefully these are not the last hours together."
At 1.45 o'clock gunter munz was wheeled into the operating room the transplantation took ten hours. For heidi and katharina munz, those were the longest hours of their lives. "We kept walking up and down, looking up – you could see the window of the operating room from the outside, heidi munz describes the waiting. Daughter katharina never gave up hope. "As long as the light is on, it's a good sign", she kept repeating to her mother as they walked past the window again. The head nurse kept them informed about the steps in the operating room. "They were all rooting for him and keeping their fingers crossed – whether doctors, nurses or patients", heidi munz is happy about the support.
Gunther munz remains silent, listens to me. Then he reaches for the hands of his wife and daughter. He says nothing about the donor. "I just thank him", says munz. He looks thoughtful and adds: "it is macabre and sad that one person has to die so that another can live on."
In any case the 27. November like a second birthday. "This is now the big day", he says. It is now more important than his actual birthday, which is 19. December, when he was discharged from the hospital, by the way.
"Erlangen will never let us go"
Gunter Munz has had a heart condition for 13 years. In 2011, he received an artificial heart. Now he speaks of a completely different quality of life. After all, he had to change the batteries of the artificial heart every four hours.
Of course he was excited when he drove home from erlangen with his daughter last thursday. "I was awake very soon and then I was only in the clinic to say goodbye to everyone", he tells. The ward has become his second family. Whether it's the doctors, nurses or the other patients – he has grown fond of them all. "Erlangen will never let us go", wife heidi is convinced. Friendships were formed.
Gunter munz tells of an italian who had been in the same room with him for a while, and who had received a heart six months before him. He came in the night of the operation and waited with gunter munz until he was pushed into the operating room.
In heaven "cleaned up
Suffering and happiness are so close together in the heart surgery ward in erlangen – this is what gunter munz has experienced in the past year. "Since i've been there, i've been through twelve transplantations, ten have survived, two have died. And three others did not survive the wait", he remembers, for example, a woman from kulmbach. "We talked about the beer week one day and said, 'if we get a heart, we'll drink a mab together. The next day she died."
The 54-year-old is certain that he could not have survived the time without his family. "At some point, your nerves just get the better of you," he says, he describes. And you also get to know your real friends at a time like this. Heidi munz nods. She experienced a lot of support, especially during her mother's death.
How it feels with the new heart? Gunter munz can't describe it. He never thought he would feel so good again, he says. And daughter katharina knows what many people are wondering: "at one point, I took dad aside and told him that mom was a little afraid that with the new heart, he wouldn't love her as much as he did before. Then he took me in his arms and said: "but you are my two gold pieces".'" katharina beams. For the family, the best christmas present is that dad is home again.
And heidi munz also thinks she knows why it happened: "my mother was in heaven looking for a heart for him." The fact that the good news came a week after the death of her mother, who had cared for her for three years, is anything but a coincidence for her.
Which wish gunter munz still has now? "I have a heart, I am with my family. I have no more wish", he says gratefully. After the three-week rehab program, which ended on 30 june, he. As december begins, he and his family – including son marcel, daughter-in-law sonja and the three grandchildren lukas, ida and frieda as well as katharina's boyfriend markus – just want to enjoy every minute together. Or, as his wife heidi munz says, "simply living again."
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