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Benefit set for two-time heart transplant recipient

April 20, 2009

Benefit to be May 15 for Dave Terning of Dassel-Cokato

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

DASSEL-COKATO, MN - Dave Terning, 59, of Dassel-Cokato, along with his family, have had a rough five months with Dave undergoing both a second heart transplant and a kidney transplant, all in the same day.

Terning has worked for Midwest Machinery, formerly Cokato Implement, for more than 30 years, in sales.

“He’s a good, hardworking employee,” said co-worker Wally Krienke, who also says he is like a brother to him.

But in November, Terning took a leave of absence to take care of himself after he began having complications from his first heart transplant.

It was actually during the Vietnam draft when Terning was informed he had a heart problem.

Though doctors were unsure of the condition, Terning was rejected because of it.

Later, doctors discovered he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, also known as Brock’s disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. This condition is an abnormal thickening of the heart walls which interferes with heart functions, including reduction of blood flow in and out of the heart chambers.

Since Terning’s original heart was no longer functioning, he received a new heart at Abbott Northwestern 12 years ago, when he was just 47.

In addition to a bad heart, Terning’s kidneys failed two years ago due to the anti-rejection drugs he was taking for the original transplant. During that time, Terning was on dialysis.

While on the waiting list, Terning’s transplanted heart began to fail.

In order to keep him alive, it was necessary for Terning to be on intravenous drug treatment, which he received at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. There, he waited for a transplant.

In December, a heart was ready for him. Unfortunately, it turned out the heart, along not a close enough match.

Terning finally received a matching heart and with a kidney Jan. 21.

Prior to the transplant, a team of cardiologists suggested a heart transplant shouldn’t be done because Terning wasn’t strong enough to handle it.

One of the doctors disagreed, Dr. Brooks Edwards, saying Terning was going to get a new heart and was confident he would make it through, according to his son, Darrel.

Terning’s first transplanted heart had calcified. It had actually turned to stone, Darrel said, explaining it was hard and gray.

With the condition of his heart, “He shouldn’t have been alive,” Darrel said.

Terning’s surgeon, Dr. Dearani, told him he had never seen anything like it before.

After a heart transplant, patients are expected to stay three months within the Rochester city limits in case of any complications, so Terning is currently staying at an area hotel.

His heart is functioning well and the kidney is working, but not very well, Darrel said. “The doctors don’t know how long it will last,” he added.

Terning is expected to be home in the next couple weeks.

He will continue to receive both physical and cardio therapy to regain his strength.

After he is home, Terning will still need to travel to the Mayo Clinic once a month for the next year.

Terning’s wife, Arlyce, who is a paraeducator at Cokato Elementary, has only been home one weekend since January.

“She is an absolute rock. I don’t know how she can do it after what she’s seen,” Darrel said.

Terning was told he was only the sixth person at the Mayo Clinic to have a second heart transplant.

After all he has been through, Terning is in good spirits and has his sense of humor back, Darrel added.

“He’s going to be just fine if he can ever get home,” Darrel said.

Tuesday, Arlyce wrote on Dave’s CaringBridge journal, “Back to the clinic for another day of tests! Some of the doctors are even using the ‘when you go home’ words!

“When we left home in November, Dave patted Elmer (the dog) on the head, went out the door, glanced around the yard and said, ‘I wonder if I will ever see this home again or if God will bring me to His home? Well, I guess either way, I will win.’

“He has been so at peace with this journey. But it sure would be nice to go home!”

Terning benefit set for Friday, May 15

A benefit is set for Dave Terning and his family Friday, May 15 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Dassel-Cokato Middle School commons.

A grilled pork dinner will be served with scalloped potatoes, baked beans, dinner roll, and dessert, for a free-will donation.

There will also be a video presentation of Dave’s progress and family, a PowerPoint with Dave’s favorite songs, as well as possibly a live link for Dave to communicate with the attendees from home.

There will also be a bake sale and silent auction that will include goods and services, Minnesota Wild souvenirs, and a variety of other items.

If anyone is interested in baking items for the bake sale, contact Jenny Niska at (320) 286-6590.

If anyone is interested in donating silent auction items or volunteering for the event, contact Dan Faust at (320) 286-2231 or (320) 275-3020.


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