NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Misdiagnosed with asthma in 2010, while living in Florida, John Knox struggled for years with a tightness in his chest that wouldn’t go away.

“Literally, I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was drowning,” Knox recalled. “If I laid down my lungs and my heart were full of fluid.”

He’d finally had enough. After a fifth night of no sleep, Knox went to an emergency room in Tennessee.

“They told me that I wasn’t experiencing asthma, it was congestive heart failure,” Knox said.
“[The doctor] said that congestive heart failure can be a very cruel disease because you never get better.”

The very active 72-year-old changed his diet and continued to exercise, but the chronic condition caught up to him. His heart struggled to pump on its own.

“They open up your chest. They install a pump on the bottom of your heart, and you have a cable that goes through and comes out of your stomach to a controller that is hooked up to batteries,” Knox explained. “That’s 24 hours a day, well, at night, you can plug into the wall.”

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Too weak to be put on the heart transplant list at Ascension Saint Thomas West, Knox did everything in his power to grow stronger with the assistance of this heart-pumping device.

Five months passed, and according to Knox, “They put me on the list on January 10th of this year. Ten days later, I got the call.”

In that short amount of time, there was a heart. It was a perfect match.

“Those guys are magicians and God is guiding them the whole way. You know, they’re operating, but there’s a bigger force at play there,” Knox said with a smile. “It’s amazing.”

Back home Knox is enjoying his second chance to make memories with his daughter, granddaughter, and wife of 32 years.

“You know, women are like that,” Knox said. “They kind of keep their men going in the right direction. If it wasn’t for Barbara, I don’t know where I’d be. I wouldn’t be here. She’s the one that kept me going.”