Teen with artificial heart back at home

September 26, 2011 8:34:35 AM PDT
Three weeks ago, a Cypress teenager went home with an artificial heart. We talked to him several times in the hospital, but for the first time, we visited Jordan Merecka at home. He shows us how he's adjusting to living his life, close to an electrical outlet.

"It's been a lot better, just more freedom, and do what I want," he said.

Merecka is home after spending six months in the hospital; but coming home with an artificial heart has made everybody a little uneasy.

"There's always something about a hospital setting where you just feel safer, I guess you could say. You feel close to the doctors," Merecka said.

"Because you worry if it should stop if there should be a problem?" we asked.

"It won't stop. It has two motors and two circuit boards," he replied.

One big difference is that Merecka must stay near electrical outlets. When he's hanging out with his cousin, he plugs into the wall. When he's in the car, he plugs into the car charger.

"When you go places, you try to sit next to outlets or just somewhere you can plug in," Merecka said.

But he has four hours of battery power and he likes to go fishing with his cousin, Jeff. He carries the heart battery in a backpack to the mall and restaurants.

"So many kids carry backpacks, they don't seem to notice him. And when we go to restaurants there's so much noise in a restaurant, he puts the backpack usually down beside him and you don't even hear it," said Merecka's grandmother, Sharon Garrett.

"It's a reminder of the gift that God has given us that we still have Jordan and he's waiting for a donor heart," said Merecka's mother, Suzanne Merecka.

And as he waits, he's actually getting stronger on his manmade heart.

Jordan Merecka left Texas Children's Hospital about three weeks ago. He received his heart in a 15 hour surgery on May 22. Merecka is the first ever to receive an artificial heart at TCH and one of only five artificial heart patients in Houston. He's the second person in Houston to go home with an artificial heart and the first teenager.

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