Hi, my name is Erik Rodriguez, I am a heart transplant survivor.
On November 8, 2016 I started my day at work and felt chest pains and began to get anxiety attacks, which had never happened to me before. After a few hours of intense chest pain, I was told to go to the ER to get an idea as to what was causing the pain. Once I got to the ER the doctors told me my heart had enlarged to twice its size and was beating over 180 beats per minute and there was nothing they could do for me in Wenatchee, WA to save my life. Therefore, they immediately flew me out to University of Washington Medical Center. When I arrived I instantly got put into to the intensive care unit (ICU) and was on ECMO for twelve days. Once I woke up I had a total artificial heart (TAH) and every day was a new battle I had to overcome. I had a lot of good days where I would get up from bed and try to walk and bad days when I felt like giving up and dying, although with the support of my family, friends, and community they helped me to have hope and faith in myself to keep fighting. After three months of having a TAH I received great news from the doctors telling me they have found a perfect match, on January 27, 2017 I got my heart transplant. From that day forward it made me realize how blessed I was to have received a heart from someone who was an organ donor and who saved my life. This has inspired me to become an organ donor so that I also could save a life in need.