Just today I was given the choice of surgery dates. The nurse said, “Dr. Dan you can have Friday, March 25, Good Friday, or Friday April 1, April Fools Day.” I’m going for March 25. -:)
If you have followed my little journey lately you know that I met a whole new set of friends in the medical profession. I’ve been in and out of hospitals thousands of times, but never as a patient. Dr. X was my first new friend, a cardiologist. He’s the fellow that did first the stress test. He came back and said, “you have a little irregularity in the upper part of your heart, let’s do an echo test.” Terrific, it went well but that’s probably because I never heard the results. Dr. X then said, we need to do an angiogram in order to determine exactly where the blockage is and just how severe.”
I’m beginning to think, “Hey, wait a minute, I came in here for a simple little tread-mill exercise and now you’re wanting to stick a wire up my arm with the intention of piercing my heart. How exciting can that be?” Not very! You must remember, this is the doctor that looked like he might be from Iraq. In the beginning I was bold enough to ask, are you from the Middle East? He said, “No, I was born and raised in Texas, but my parents are from Persia.” I smiled and said that would be Iran.” That was just when our sailors were captured on the high seas by Iran. My concern was, this fellow could be a Muslim and everyone in the world knows I have had much to say about the radical Muslims. I wasn’t prepared to enter the surgical den, climb up on the table only to hear him cry ala Akbar from the prep room. I can tell you I would have been off that table with my legs spinning like a squirrel in a cage. But that was not to be. I found peace of mind when I discovered he was a man who loved and served the Lord. Be still my legs, we’ll save them for another day.
He still came back with lousy news’s from his angiogram. He disrespected me when he looked me straight in the eye and said, “If I were his father, he would be giving the same advice, you need a triple by-pass.” I don’t ever remember a seminary course where they even discussed such an event. We talked about how to baptize, marry, bury, dedicate babies and hold people’s hands in the hospitals, but triple bypasses, not on my watch.I never heard of a theological degree in Triple By-passes.
So off I’m farmed to another new friend. I’ll call him Dr. Hacksaw. He’s the surgeon. I’ve looked at all the videos on the web and this guy has a good time slicing and dicing you and you end up, if your lucky, with this cross-stitch thing on your chest that would make all the ladies in Dorene’s church knitting group envious.
I ask him what would be the most difficult part of the surgery. He said, “That’s probably when we remove the tubes placed around the heart.” He said, “I had one patient who ask for a small towel to put between his teeth so he could bite down at the right moment. But when the moment came, his mouth flew open and he screamed, “Dear God, was it a boy or a girl.” He wanted everyone to know new mothers had nothing on him.”
Anyway, Dr. HS said, “In spite of the blockage, you’re in excellent health and this will be a piece of cake In a matter of weeks you’ll be up and climbing to the Cross each morning as you have for the past five years.
This doctor has an impeccable reputation here in the Coachella Valley. I felt I wanted to know him a bit since we had never met, that is before I loose consciousness. I wanted something more than a professional relationship; you know something a bit personal. So, I ask him if he had a personal of faith, a believer. At first he acted like he didn’t know how to respond. I said, “What I’m asking, are you a Christian, or of the Jewish or Islāmic faith, or maybe something else?” He said, “I’m a Pentecostal believer and did my undergraduate work at Oral Roberts University, a school with one of the finest hospitals and pre-med programs in the country. I helped him understand he can do all of the shouting he wants before the surgery, but in it, a steady hand will do. I’ll do the shouting once he’s finished. He’s a great guy. He strikes me as the sort of fellow you would like to sit down and have a conversation and cup of coffee with.
At the end of the consultation, he asks Dorene and I if we had any other questions he might help us with. I said, “There is just one, have you ever done one of these things before?” He called the nurse to usher us out the door.
Note: you must understand that there is a bit humor in all of this to help Dorene and I prepare for the most physically challenging life event, and that includes flying hang gliders. Humor is left behind as we pray for God’s guidance for the doctor, and grace for the patient. If you pray with us, we will be grateful.