NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - After recovering from a double lung transplant, a 67-year-old Nacogdoches man is learning to adjust to his new lifestyle.
Retirement came just in time for Raymond Batten after spending months in the hospital unable to walk after surgery.
Taking more than 30 pills a day has become a routine for the once healthy Batten. In March of 2012, outdoor hobbies were no longer enjoyable as he started noticing many different health issues.
"It became harder and harder for me to catch my breath, and my oxygen level was dropping off pretty fast,' Batten said.
As breathing became difficult Batten knew it was time to seek further medical attention.
"After an examination, CT scan, lung x-rays, and so forth he first thought that I had COPD," Batten said.
Never using tobacco products or smoking a day in his life made it hard for him to believe he had COPD. As the shortness of breath continued and working a full day became harder, more testing was completed and compared to months before.
"A part of the lung was not functional and it was a spot the size of a softball in my left lung that had just turned white," Batten said.
Batten was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in January 2013.
"I was somewhat fearful for my life because things had more or less spun out of control,"Batten said. "The doctor said that pulmonary fibrosis is just something that happens. He said there's no cure for it; there's nothing you can do except a transplant."
He was placed on the transplant list at Baylor Medical in Dallas and on February 10 a donor was found. THe six hour surgery to receive a 46-year-old man's pair of lungs went well, but Batten's minor set backs resulted in staying in the hospital for 64 days.
"I lost 45 pounds and I wasn't able to walk because I had lost so much muscle mass," Batten said. "You can still see how this looks good compared to the way it was."
Thanks to intensive hours of rehab Batten has learned to walk without his cane and regain his strength.
He may not be able to go hunting and enjoy his out door activities right now but he's taking things day by day and step by step.
"I've always been very, very active and this process is going to be like putting the brakes on," Batten said. "I'm going to have to continue to work toward building myself up and building the stamina to do the things I love to do."
Batten is forever grateful for his donor and is hopeful others will understand the importance of becoming a donor to save lives.
Batten Retired as the vice president of Texas farm products on June 30 and will be turning 68 this month.