Two heart transplants on same night result in lasting friendship

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KANSAS CITY, Mo — Two lives were saved at a Kansas City hospital five years ago Thursday, and one great friendship was born.

One guy dishes it out.

"I'm glad to see you dressed up," said Kelly Jobe of Wichita.

The other guy takes it and then dishes a little, too.

"What are you laying in bed for?" asked Scott Garst of Topeka.

It's how a friendship can form.

"Oh, wow, there's somebody more obnoxious than I am," recalled Jobe of his first impression of Garst.

"I could pick on him and he usually took it," said Garst.

But this friendship may have more heart than most. Garst and Jobe met five years ago at Saint Luke's Hospital after they received heart transplants on the same night. They left the hospital a week after receiving the life-saving gifts.

"We look like we're gonna rob a bank because, you know, they make you wear your mask and then they give you the holsters kinda like the village guys," said Garst, joking about a photo of the two.

Ever since, each has had someone who understands.

"The recovery process, all the testing, all the fear and concerns. To be able to confide in someone else who knows exactly how you feel -- it's sort like having an identical twin," said Dr. Andrew Kao, a cardiologist at Saint Luke's.

These "twins" learned they were moody at the same time, a side effect of medicine.

"You're not the only one. He's being a butthead, too," said Jobe.

"He understands, kinda. I'm still trying to teach him," says Garst.

Jobe was in Saint Luke's one day this week for a routine test. Since his transplant, he's married, had a baby and graduated from college. Garst returned to work and life with his wife and son.

Without a transplant buddy?

"Sure wouldn't have been as much fun," said Jobe.

It wouldn't have been as much fun without someone who brings a gift five years after he promised it.

"I've been saving five years to get 'em. The problem is I know they're a little small. They only had 3X," joked Garst as he gave Jobe a pair of pink women's panties.

Now that's what friends are for.

Jobe is studying for a master's degree at Wichita State University so he can become a social worker for other transplant patients.