Stingl: Transplant experiences unite couple

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL | Jim Stingl
Robert Walton and Jackie Love show off wedding balloons in anticipation of their big day Sunday.(Photo: Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Two things were crystal clear to Robert Walton: One, his heart was failing and he would need a new one. And, two, the woman who checked him in each time at the cardiovascular clinic was so pretty and kind.

The heart wants what it wants, even when it's limping along. 

"As time went on, I started kind of liking her. But I was in no position to make any advance. Like none. I got sicker and sicker," he said. 

Jackie Love was that scheduling coordinator at the Froedtert Hospital clinic. She liked seeing Robert, but didn't consider him a partner possibility. 

"His mom would bring him in because he couldn't do a whole lot for himself. He'd be in a wheelchair. I was thinking that she was his girlfriend," she said. 

These encounters went on for five years starting in 2002 when Robert's difficulty breathing was diagnosed as an enlarged heart that eventually would fail. In 2006, Robert was fitted with a ventricle assist device that bought him some time, and early the following year he received a new heart. Continue reading
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