The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

Update on my sister’s condition


My sister, Cynthia (68), was admitted to the hospital this morning after what seemed to be a mild heart attack and congestive heart failure. I’m still not sure if there was a heart attack.  Near as we can tell, her transplanted heart is doing some rejecting things.  They checked it, and today is, by coincidence, day 7000 of the new heart, which is pretty good.  The rejection is taking the form of a buildup of antibodies in her blood.

Treatment is as follows:

1. Strong diuretics to relieve the buildup of fluids in lungs, arms, legs, &c.

2. An interesting procedure where they will pull out her blood, separate the plasma (which contains the anti-bodies), and restore it with new plasma or albumen.

3.  Anti-rejection drugs.

She is only in mild discomfort, at this point, caused by having to stay in bed too long and moving too little.  I’ll be going back tomorrow.

That’s what we know so far.


Edited: Right.  68, not 78.



Author: skzb

I play the drum.


  1. Thanks for the update. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.

  2. I am glad she’s getting good care.

  3. I hope all goes well.

  4. Mild discomfort is, well, a could-be-worse thing, but still annoying. Hoping for a happier update soon.

  5. My prayers are with you and yours,

  6. Hopeing for the best for her and your family
    Sending my most positive chi

  7. Hope your sister has a quick recovery and is home soon.

  8. 78!?! Is that a typo, or is Cynthia actually 78? I have (or had) no idea. Wow.

    7000 days is a mighty fine number, too. I’m glad they have such a reasonable-sounding way of treating the current difficulty. Yay for plasma replacement!

    Please give her my love, and my very best wishes for a smooth recovery and another 7000 days and more ahead.

    I still remember oh, so clearly when she got her current heart. She’s the first heart transplant recipient I’ve known (rather than heard of), and I still marvel at how quickly the world went from Dr. Christiaan Barnard doing the first successful transplant when I was a teenager to knowing a heart recipient in my adulthood. My favorite part about Cynthia’s transplant at the time was hearing about how she woke after surgery and immediately felt better than she had before. My favorite part now is that it was 19 years ago.

    Remember to take care of yourself while you’re helping see after her.

  9. Best wishes for your sister, and for you as well – Gar

  10. 7000 days is remarkable; she must be an amazing lady. I hope she continues to be amazing for many years to come…

  11. skzb

    Thank you, all; kind thoughts very much appreciated.

    Gerri: Yeah, I know. Me too. And I think it’s 79. I’m 57, and she’s 12 years older than me.

  12. Hope things proceed very smoothly.

  13. I hope she’s OK.

    On a tangent: reading this caused me to realize that every character I can think of in the Vlad books whose family we know about seems to be an only child: Vlad, Morrolan, Aliera, Cawti, Vlad Norathar, Norathar herself, Zerika ….

    I can’t off the top of my head remember any siblings in the entire series. How do the various races continue to exist if they have so few children?

  14. I agree with Stevie.

    Best wishes to her for a speedy recovery.

  15. Sounds like the treatment team has a most definite PLAN, and that said plan is based on good knowledge. Yeah that!

    To butcher the Proclaimers: “Her heart beat on for 7,000 days/May it beat for 7,000 more.”

  16. Please give her my best wishes for a speedy recovery.


  17. All best wishes for her speedy recovery.

    (Er, just to note, those twelve years would make her 69, not 79, for which I think we can all be thankful.)

  18. Indeed. A speedy recovery and many more years of health to her.

  19. We’re praying for her complete recovery. I’m thinking she is 68, not 78.

  20. skzb

    Not so much with me and arithmetic. Yeah, 68. Edited now.

  21. I’m close to 30 years older than one of my sisters, so I figured it was just a typo in the difference, not in the age….

    But of course, here’s hoping for a quick and complete recovery.

  22. EEEEEP!
    While I am not sure that Cynthia would remember me I remember her. We had a wonderful talk a few years ago and I had no idea she was a transplant recipient. Send my love and best wishes.

  23. I hope she gets better. I never actualy met her but I know how I would feel if my brother was in the hospital because of something like that.

  24. Best wishes to her and all your family!

  25. My best wishes to her. I hope her treatment goes well.

  26. Praying for a speedy recovery! My thoughts are with you and yours.

  27. I hope she gets better soon! To have such a problem must be rather frightening… but then again, it’s amazing we can transplant hearts at all, and the doctors seem to know how to approach this. I hope that’s a good sign.

    Gute Besserung, as they say here in Germany.

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