Golf had always been a favorite pastime for Bob Maggiore. And it was following a casual round on the links with friends when – without any warning – his life changed forever.
“Right after I finished, I was in the locker room cleaning up and suddenly had cold sweats, nausea…I knew something was wrong.”
He had the presence of mind to ask someone to call 911, and then sat down, telling his friends he was going to faint. That was the last thing he remembered for three days.
When Bob woke up in the cardiac unit of Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, he learned that he had survived a massive heart attack.
“A widow-maker,” he called it. “I shouldn’t have lived.”
Bob’s heart attack was the beginning of a five-year battle with failing health that would have taken him from his wife, children, and grandchildren, had it not been for an organ donor, whose heart now beats in Bob’s chest.
Organ donation isn’t a topic many people like to talk about, but according to Juan Alvergue, MD, a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s San Marcos Medical Offices, more than 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ.
When Dr. Alvergue determined Bob could be a candidate for an organ transplant, he met with him to talk through the process. Because of the national shortage of organs, patients hoping to be added to the waiting list for undergo rigorous physical and psychological testing.
Bob passed all of the tests with flying colors. On October 15, 2012, after a five-year journey in and out of hospital rooms due to heart complications, Bob received a new heart. By Thanksgiving, he was home to celebrate the holiday, and his good health, with his family.
“I just felt so happy for Bob and his wife,” said Dr. Alvergue. “I knew the obstacles he had to overcome.”
Bob is eternally grateful to the organ donor who gave him a second chance to grow old with his family. “If I could speak to him, I would tell him, ‘Thank you for the gift of life,’” he said. “Thanks to him, I’ve been able to enjoy much more time with my wonderful wife, two children, and five grandchildren whom I love dearly.”