A Galway man’s health scare, seemingly innocuous at first, ended with him needed a heart transplant.
Owen Trill received a heart transplant at the Mater Hospital at the age of just 38 after falling ill at work.
“I had just finished up work for the weekend and I really wasn’t feeling well. I was very short of breath, and it was awful trying to get up and down the stairs,” he said of his experience.
“I went to see the doctor and when they saw that my heartrate had dropped, I was rushed up to my local hospital in Galway.”
It was only when he arrived at the hospital that Owen discovered just how serious his condition was.
“They discovered that I had clots in my lungs and kidneys, and that I could be going into multiple organ failure. That’s when they rushed me to the Mater.”
In the Mater, Owen was told that he had a virus in the muscle of his heart. One that was bad enough that he would need a heart transplant.
He said that is was a “real shock” to hear this (understatement) as he was only 38, but also decided that he just had to get on with it.
“The staff in the CCU and my surgeon, Professor McGuinness, were all just incredible. They really looked after me and within a couple of weeks I was fit enough to receive a transplant.”
A match was found for Owen, and surgery was scheduled for 6:30 in the morning. A heart transplant can take up to six hours, so it makes sense to get an early morning start.
But of course you are under heavy general anesthetic for such a challenging operation, so it wasn’t 11:20 the following night that Owen woke up.
“I was so determined to get better and to get home. I just wanted my life back. My aim was to walk out of the hospital on my own, and the day my brother collected me, I did just that.”
“I’m doing really well now, I’ve been able to get my life back and get back to what I love, fishing and tying flies.”
Six weeks after getting his new heart, Owen was back doing just that, though it was another seven weeks before he was able to go back to fishing.
He is full of praise for the level of care he received during his time in hospital, squarely giving it the credit for his rapid recovery.
“Nobody else in the world has gotten back out so quickly after a transplant and I put that down to my determination and the fantastic care I received in the Mater, it made all the difference.”