There's a spring in Jonathan Battle's step when the 54-year-old arrives at a Jackson nonprofit to take classes for a high school equivalency diploma.
He's a different man than he was before March 23 of this year. “I felt like I was in misery. I didn't have any energy to do anything,” Battle said.
Battle dresses casually for class at the Prosperity Center of Greater Jackson with the exception of one accessory, a satchel-type bag slung across his shoulder that he wears at all times. It contains a power pack and a backup that charges his left ventricular assist device, or LVAD.
The LVAD is a life-saving pump, implanted in his chest at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, that pumps blood to take over the work from his weakened and damaged heart. UMMC is the sole medical facility in the state that offers patients ventricular assist devices.
“My body feels great, but that bag reminds me that I'm sick,” said Battle, a patient at the Medical Center's University Heart. “I'm waiting for the day of my heart transplant, but for now, I feel great with the VAD. My heart feels strong.”