Photo: Bob and Ellen Schmidt of Webster are grateful for his new heart — he is a transplant recipient — but are looking forward to getting back to their shared interests, like traveling — and riding roller coasters! Credit: Linda Quinlan
“The first thought in my head (when he was diagnosed) was, ‘Who’s going to tell me he can’t fly?’” recalled his wife, Ellen.
“I’ve still got the pilot’s license; I’ll just no longer get the medical certification to fly,” said Schmidt, a Webster resident with his wife since 2002. “But, in terms of tradeoffs, I’d rather have this.”
In Schmidt’s case, “this” is a new heart.
University of Rochester Medical Center cardiac transplant surgeons performed their 150th heart transplant, providing a second lease on life for Schmidt, March 23.
“Right now, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world,” Schmidt said at his Webster home early this month. “Everyone — family, friends, neighbors, the medical team — has been so wonderful through this whole process.”
Schmidt, 62, will be “immuno-suppressed,” meaning he will be susceptible to infection, the rest of his life, but the amount of medications — he currently takes 16 or 17 pills, just in the morning — he will need to take will decrease over time, and he expects to lead “a fairly normal life, with limitations.”
He is looking forward to traveling and — one of his favorite pastimes — getting on roller coasters again.