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SANDY -- Utah musician and composer Paul Cardall is back home With a new heart. Though his transplant two weeks ago was far from routine, a surgical team at Primary Children's Medical Center pulled it off with no complications.
The difficult heart transplant Paul has waited for all his life came off, surprisingly, as he says, like a well-orchestrated symphony.
"They put it right in there, and immediately it started working. No paddles. It was though it was meant to be," he says.
Paul's wife, Lynnette, says, "I'm truly shocked to see him come home this soon."
At his home in Sandy Wednesday, there were lots of heart-shaped balloons flying. Instead of months of complications in the hospital, he's back, feeling great, and in only two weeks.
Like the smooth music Paul plays, his new heart beats a perfect composition of its own. It should have been difficult to fit, because his anatomy was not like yours or mine.
Born with a single-pumping chamber heart, doctors in his childhood rebuilt things to keep it going, often using techniques for the first time. They were pioneers, and so was Paul.
"It was a time where I was kind of lost in a system of all these little kids; where we were saving their lives, yet there was no program for their future," Paul says.
He has set the stage for Primary Children's new Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center and a precision surgical team designed to make "mends" on a whole new generation of kids growing into adulthood with congenital heart defects.
Paul has special feelings about his survival, especially in light of his loss: his brother who tragically died this summer in a Taser incident. He hopes at some point to compose a letter to his donor family.
"Our family knows what it is to lose somebody of great value. And as I write that letter to that donor, it will be like I'm writing that letter to my brother," Paul said.
"A Piece of My Heart", "Hope", "Searching for Home"; Paul's music now takes on a new all encompassing definition.
As for that music career, Paul says he will hold off scheduling any concerts for now, probably until next year.