CHICAGO A little past noon Wednesday, around 50 friends, family members and hospital staff at the University of Chicago Medical Center squeezed into a chapel in a corner of the hospital’s seventh floor to celebrate the wedding of a 23-year-old patient expected to be discharged on Thanksgiving to go into hospice care.
A makeshift aisle made of white tissue paper ran down the center of the chapel, bordered with electric candles. Perched between the foldable chairs facing the front of the room too few for the wedding-goers to sit on were small tissue boxes.
Javier Rodriguez, known to his friends and family as Javi, has familial dilated cardiomyopathy, a genetic disease that predisposes victims to develop heart failure at a young age. He’s had two heart transplants, one when he was 14 and another when he was 18.