Navy Veteran Faces Different Kind Of Battle As He Waits For Heart Transplant
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Navy veteran, who is fighting a battle of his own after learning he has heart failure, honored Veterans Day Monday as he waits in Utah for a transplant.
Patrick Squires spent years serving in the military. He and his wife are now hundreds of miles away from their home in Nevada, but they are making Utah a temporary home for possibly two years while they wait for a heart transplant.
The two attending a flag raising ceremony at Salt Lake Community College on Nov. 11 as part Veterans Day.
“It’s a time for remembrance of what we’ve done and what we’ve been through,” Squires said.
After 22 years serving on aviation squadrons, two tours to Afghanistan, and living in multiple countries, Squires knows service and sacrifice. However, he never imagined after retirement he’d be battling heart failure.
“I just couldn’t breath,” he said. “I just couldn’t breathe at all.”
His doctor in Nevada informed Squires that his heart was pumping at only 5% to 10%. He was sent to Utah to one of the few Veterans Administration Hospitals that perform heart transplants. He’s now recovering after receiving a left ventricular assist device to keep his heart functioning while he waits for his transplant.
“This battle is more personal because it’s directly affecting me,” Squires said. “It’s something that I couldn’t prepare for.”
He and his wife have lived in Salt Lake County for three months, and it could take nine months to one year before he receives a new heart. With the support of past military friends-turned-family in Utah, though, they are getting through it, Squire said. And their past military skills have kicked in.
“You refer back to your active military wife mode, and you go into a mode of, ‘OK, we are taking this head-on, and we’re just going to stick our head down and we’re going to go forward with it,” Holly Squires said.
Patrick Squires said that, despite the illness being related to his time in the service, he has no regrets.
“We do it because we love our country,” he said. “We do it because we want our country to stay the way it is.”
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