It was something I was born with, but they didn’t catch it till I was two and a half years old. My mom took me to the doctor for a routine checkup, and they found a heart murmur. They wouldn’t allow me to leave…and shortly after that, I had my first surgery. They always told us it wasn’t a permanent fix, that I would always have to have another surgery, usually every 10 to 15 years. So when I was 15, the doctors performed what’s called a Ross procedure. They replaced my aortic valve with my own pulmonary valve, and then used a donor valve to replace my pulmonary valve. I was hospitalized for 21 days. From that point on, everything was great! Then last year we went to New York City for Thanksgiving, and when we got back, I was sick. I was hospitalized, and after running a bunch of tests, they found an infection in my bloodstream and diagnosed me with endocarditis. There was vegetation on my pulmonary valve, and it needed to be replaced. So they scheduled me for open heart surgery three and a half weeks later. I was out of work for about four months. On top of everything, we had just found out that my wife was pregnant. But knowing that we were expecting our first baby helped me a lot, it gave me something else to focus on. My wife was by my side through it all…she’s so strong and always thought about me more than she thought about herself. Now she’s 37 ½ weeks…it’s a girl, Charlie Elaine. I’m excited to have a family of my own…to watch Charlie grow up. I’m taking care of myself better because I know I’m going to have to keep up with her! After all is said and done, I don’t take things for granted anymore, and I definitely look at life differently. I feel blessed.
-Josh Temes, Plant Operations