I'LL TAKE TOMORROW by Mary with Max Jennings Gohlke


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Mary Gohlke was 46 years old, a victim of the rare lung and heart disease primary pulmonary hypertension, when she underwent the first successful heart-lung transplant. Less than four months after confirmation of her diagnosis, Gohlke had had to resign her advertising post at the Mesa Tribune (Arizona), succumbing to the fatigue and periods of blackout that meant her condition was rapidly deteriorating. (The disease is marked by progressive; severe heart failure resulting from a primary lung condition--of unknown cause.) An evaluation at the Stanford University Medical Center put her on the waiting list for a heart-lung transplant; during her wait, Gohlke's newspaper brought pressure to bear on the FDA to approve use of the anti-rejection drug cyclosporin A in all heart-lung transplants, thus vastly increasing their likelihood of success. Gohlke moved nearby with her mother to await a donor, while her husband and two sons tried to maintain a reasonably normal life at home near Phoenix. During the afternoon of March 8, 1981, Gohlke received the call that a heart and lungs were available; the transplant began just after midnight that night. (She knows little--or reveals little--about the donor; but her gratitude to his family is repeatedly expressed.) Her post-operative course was remarkably smooth, though Gohlke did occasionally suffer bouts of irrationality: at one point, she was telling her husband that ""the transplant didn't work. They are going to do it again. They won't let me die. They are going to do it again and again. They are going to keep me here, operating and operating. I want you to find out how to get hold of the Mafia. Hire them to come and murder me."" Gohlke is clear and forthright about her problems and strengths--money was a constant worry; her family was the means and reason for survival--and she is comfortable with the medical details. A remarkable story told in down-to-earth terms.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1985
Publisher: Evans