Man Moves To Spokane In Hope Of Heart Transplant

SPOKANE — Oscar Sainz had to pick up his life, leave his job in the Tri-Cities and move to Spokane to be closer to medical care at Providence Sacred Heart.

“This weighs about 10 lbs. like I said, when they finally remove this I’m going to be walking crooked because I’m use to leaning one way or the other,” said Oscar Sainz.

Every 2 1/2 hours Sainz switches out the batteries in this pack, without them he’d be in trouble. They keep his mechanical heart humming away.

“I was originally diagnosed with heart disease back in the fall of 2000, for about 8 years I lived off medications that helped quite a bit,” Sainz said.

After being diagnosed he responded well to medications but coping with his condition has been an uphill battle.

“Back then it was quite a shock, I was barely turning 40 and my whole world turned upside down. I was pretty scared then,” said Sainz.

This time last year the 49-year-old’s health took a turn for the worse. Doctors at Sacred Heart performed open heart surgery hooking Sainz up to a mechanical heart. It helps put less strain on his real one while he waits for an organ transplant.

“This takes the pressure off the heart and helps it circulate. Well, it’s run by this drive line right here,” Sainz said.

Every day Sainz records his heart rate, temperature and other details in this medical log. At night he’s got to connect himself to another machine that sits by his bedside.

“That’s the biggest thing, having a positive attitude. Don’t let any of the negative things enter your mind as soon as they do you’ve got to get them out of there,” said Sainz.

Sainz is one of hundreds in the Inland Northwest waiting.

“My phone never gets shut off. It’s on 24/7,” Sainz said.

Heart transplant patients wait for an organ donor to help change their lives.

“They told me in the beginning, it could be 3 months, it could be a year, it just depends on the availability of a donor,” said Sainz.

Two weeks ago Sainz’s name came up for the first time ever in 6 months, but the call turned out not to be a match.

“I’m always aware that this could be the call,” said Sainz.

Despite this recent disappointment Sainz has stayed focused on family, including his two grand daughters.

“If you can’t get motivated with that, nothing is going to do that for you,” Sainz said.