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Surgeries, blood donations save Perham man’s life

Larry Wilson, of Perham, went through open heart surgery earlier this year, and received seven blood transfusions — which helped to save his life. JOE BOWEN/FORUM NEWS SERVICE

PERHAM — Doctors told Larry Wilson that he would have about a year left to live unless he underwent surgery to replace two valves in his heart.

The subsequent open heart surgery he underwent on Feb. 7 replaced his aortic and tricuspid valves, which had slowly degraded over time, Wilson said, resulting in chronic shortness of breath and a lack of stamina, among other symptoms.

The deterioration was noticed during a yearly heart checkup about five years ago, said Wilson, who lives near Perham.

The purpose behind the replacements was “to extend my life,” he said.

A second surgery was needed a week later to remove fluid buildup and clots in Wilson’s pericardial sac, which surrounds the heart.

Wilson admits he’s not especially familiar with the medical lingo associated with his surgeries, but was quick to point out with a smile that, “whatever they did for me obviously worked.”

Across both surgeries, Wilson required a total of seven blood transfusions, which he said are very important, especially for an older person, because their body does not replace hemoglobin in the blood as quickly as a younger, healthier person.

“We float through life fat, dumb and happy – until something happens,” he said.

“You never know if or when you’ll need something like that,” he added in reference to the transfusions, “but it’s nice to know it’s there.

“It’s a life saver.”

The ordeal brought Wilson closer together with his family, and served as a reminder to them to enjoy every moment of life.

“For my immediate family, we appreciated the time we had together and didn’t take life for granted,” he said.

“The time of the surgery and after became a bonding time for all of us.”

It also brought the family closer to their friends, and the community as a whole.

“We are humbled by the outpouring of love and support from friends and the community during this journey,” Wilson said.

“We know that we have a ways to go, but will always be thankful for the kind words, visits and caring that we experienced.”

Article written by Joe Bowen of the Forum News Service

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