In re My Heart Surgery and the ACU Summit

On March 9, Lord willing, I’m scheduled for a surgical repair of my heart’s mitral valve. It seems I have severe “regurgitation,” meaning that my left atrium is sending half my blood in the wrong direction.

The good news is that the rumors that I am a heartless, bloodless change agent have been proven untrue. I confess to the change agent part, but they have found a heart in there. It just doesn’t pump much in the way of blood.

The result is that I tend to get very tired and short of breath very quickly. And I have to take naps. The heart just can’t keep up with the oxygen demands of my body.

It seems that this has likely been a long-term condition and would have to have been dealt with even if I hadn’t had endocarditis (infection of the heart valve) late last year.

I have to undergo a series of pre-operative tests to make sure there’s nothing else wrong with the heart.

After all, if they’re going to crack me open, they’d just as soon fix whatever else might need fixing while they’re in there.

So it’s possible they have to do more extensive repair work, but at this point, it looks likely that the mitral valve repair is the only work needed.

It’ll be done robotically (Terminator music plays in background). Really.

The doctor will open me up on my right side (you’d think the left, but it’s the right) and access the mitral valve from there. Heart-lung machine is attached, heart is stopped, repaired, restarted, sew me back together, and good as new.

I’ll spend a week in the hospital (Baptist Princeton in Birmingham), losing weight on hospital food. (Because it’s a Baptist hospital, I’ll strategically place in my room plenty of tracts on the Sinner’s Prayer and Once Saved, Always Saved and the dangers of the single-pastor system.) Recovery is likely about a month.

Fortunately, I’ve posted well ahead, and so the OIJ posts should continue unabated. There’s just so much of Romans!

My ability to respond to comments will be severely impaired due to my lack of consciousness and the narcotics and such like. But narcotics have, in the past, brought about some of my more interesting posts. This is not my first surgery since starting the blog, and my judgment about whether I should be posting has been known to be impacted by the post-surgical meds. I apologize in advance for being more uninhibited than usual. (I probably should have my wife change the password, but then she might never let me back on.)

So prayers would be greatly appreciated. Visitors for the day of and day after surgery wouldn’t be a good idea (except to keep my wife company during the procedure. She would appreciate that.) Thereafter, we’ll see how I feel. A good game of bridge might be a nice distraction, especially since football season is tragically over. Or “over tragically,” for us Alabama and Falcons fans.

I’m looking forward to feeling better. I’m going to have to do some serious rehab to get back in decent shape afterwards, so I’ll be paying the price for this for a while.

My goal is to get fixed up in time for the ACU Summit. I’m scheduled to speak on Five Major Trends in Churches of Christ. Time and date not yet set, but the Summit will held September 17-20 — which should be more than ample time to heal from the surgery and get into good enough shape to teach a class. I might even have time to think up Five Major Trends. (Suggestions?)

I had to cancel Pepperdine last year — likely because of this very condition, undiagnosed at the time. I just knew I couldn’t navigate that very vertical campus. I’ve been to a few Summits, but have had to miss the last few for health reasons as well, and so I’m excited at just getting to go. Getting to speak is the cherry on top.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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12 Responses to In re My Heart Surgery and the ACU Summit

  1. Monty says:

    Jay,

    So is your heart half-empty or half-full? That tells me a lot about you. But seriously, I’m praying for a great tune-up and speedy successful recovery. Just think of all the great things you’ll be able to do with a full tank flowing through your system.

  2. Will be praying. Look forward to seeing you in Abilene in the fall.

    One trend near and dear to my heart is the shift from longterm missions to short-term works. That’s not just in Churches of Christ, but it’s very widespread. Where many churches prided themselves in the past on supporting missionaries in other countries, now their emphasis is on how many of their members they send out on short-term trips.

  3. Sam Loveall says:

    Prayers for you, Jay. I got opened up for real (as in “crack open that chest cavity!”) in 2007 to have a brand new aortic valve installed. So, really real “heart-felt sympathies” for you.

  4. Dwight says:

    Our prayers for a good recovery. God Bless.

  5. Alabama John says:

    Be sending prayers for you and your wife as it will be harder on her than you. Today doing this is not a big deal and almost painless. You’ll be glad you had it done!!!

  6. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Tim,

    Short-term missions have caught a lot of justified criticism. I’m wondering whether total long-term missions giving is up or down? The theory is that short-term missions encourages young people to grow up to be supporters of missions as adults. I wonder whether experience is proving this true or not?

  7. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Monty,

    Half wit, I’m told. And there are other words that get used, too, but this is a family friendly blog.

  8. Larry Cheek says:

    I’ll be praying for you, and hoping you can get back online soon. I can’t find anyone who challenges as much as you do to dig deeper into God’s Word.

  9. David says:

    I’ll keep you in my prayers. I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse 30 years ago and put on beta blockers to keep the heart beating regular. Hasn’t given me much trouble since.

  10. David Hinckley says:

    Praying for you and your recovery. A bit over 4 years ago I had a quad bypass (at age 67), which does involve cracking the chest open. Four days later I was home recovering. One of our sons was able to come stay with us for 10 days and was an IMMENSE help. Four (or was it six) weeks later at the follow-up with my surgeon I was already able to walk a mile (didn’t set any speed records). Pretty amazing considering I felt as weak as a kitten the first days at home. 🙂 With me, so far so good, and I am sure it will be the same with you.

  11. Jay, studies are mixed on the long-term results of short-term missions. Most say that there is no particular increase in giving. (Good recent study, for example: http://didache.nazarene.org/index.php/volume-9-1/769-0901-04wesley-short-term-missions-didache/file)

    The number of long-term workers is down as is giving for long-term missions. It would be hard to prove direct causality, however. Anecdotally, I know that many churches’ missions budget has not grown percentage-wise over the years, yet the percentage of that budget given to short-term works is increasing.

  12. Luther T. Smith (Tommy) says:

    Jay, your posts stopped on the 8th. They are NOT posting ahead.

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