Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bypass surgery and setting your heart free:

Wow! Big day yesterday. What started out as a morning"routine" heart cath exam for my dad, turned into a five-hour emergency open-heart surgery at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

I've seen pictures of blocked arteries before, but when the cardiologist showed us the film from the catheterization I was amazed that dad hadn't already had a massive cardiac event by now - the doctor said that he was surprised too. Six significant arteries, blocked at 90% and 95%. The blood-flow pictures looked like little sausages that had been tied off in various places.

So, once we all got over the shock, they scheduled the surgery immediately. And, for those who have any doubts about how serious things were, here's an exact quote from the surgeon. "If you don't have the surgery you could well have a heart attack today, later this week, or next month. Certainly within the year. To let you leave this hospital now would be medical malpractice."

Now, to cut to the chase. This blog is titled "A Life Examined; I'll tell another part of this story and you can draw your own conclusions.

The surgery, advertised at three to three and a half hours, went on for a little over five. When the surgeon came to talk with the family, he explained why. My dad, apparently, had calcification and scar tissue completely surrounding his heart, the result of some previously undocumented infection.

His heart was, quite literally, encased in a shell. The surgical team had to fight their way through the casing before they could repair the damage inside. It was like they had to break open a walnut.

"So," Rebekah said to the doctor, "you set David's heart free."

The repair work was extensive - huge blockages and the risk of immediate cardiac arrest. But my dad's heart could not be repaired until it had first been "set free."

I don't know about the rest of you (who does read this blog, by the way?)... but for me the message from yesterday is overwhelming, challenging, potentially liberating, and wonderful.

It's my life I'm examining. But - as always - I invite you to join me.
Love and blessings - DEREK


Tim & Kelly Black said...

I read the blog - and am going to really enjoy contemplating that imagery of setting a heart free for the rest of the day, and probably a lot longer. Great news that your dad is okay! Many thanks to God.

Jesse said...

Wow. We'll keep David and Grace (and you all) in our prayers as David begins recovering from this major surgery. And yes, the image of setting the heart free is quite compelling.

By the way, when I glanced at the subject in your email "Derek's Dad's Heart", I actually thought you were talking about your own heart and the blog would be about Andrew and Naomi. Heather straightened me out...

Ronda's Rants said...

Thank God for your Dad...and for God setting my heart free! :)

Anonymous said...

I read your blog daily, and my life is lifted because of entries like today's.