WRCB TV NBC 3, Chattanooga, TN | Nick Austin
"The paramedics got me to the hospital and they told the ER doctor 'He's not having a heart attack'," recalls Gillilan.
It turned out to be congestive heart failure, a hereditary condition requiring a double bypass to correct. But a month later the chest pains returned and Gillilan went back under the knife, this time for a quadruple bypass. In the end it didn't do the trick, either. His wife of eleven years, Mary, didn't know what to do. She was worried she would lose her soul mate.
"I didn't want to be alone. I had found a great guy. We had such a good, close relationship," says Mary.
Gillilan's chances for a long life were diminishing, but there was some good news on the horizon--one more chance to prolong a life which may get cut short. Doctors placed Gillilan on a list for a heart transplant. He kept his cell phone by his side at all times, waiting two and half years for the call that could save his life.