I have news.
1. Further testing shows that, in addition to needing a mitral valve repair, I need a triple bypass. One artery is 90% blocked.
2. Surgery has been moved to March 2 at Baptist Princeton in Birmingham. I go in the day before for preadmission testing, spend the night at a hotel on site, and then they go to work on my chest early the next morning.
I no longer qualify for any of the minimally invasive techniques. We could fairly think in terms of maximally invasive. Split the ribs, connect to a heart-lung machine, and rebuild the heart back to factory specs. I think there’s also new rings, a block and tackle, and a four-post car lift involved somehow, but sometimes I get confused.
I’ll likely be in the hospital for a week or so. May have to go to rehab for a week or so afterwards. There’s something about having a heart valve that pumps half your blood backwards (not kidding) that makes it hard to keep up your exercise regimen. (Or to do anything at all, really.) And then home to recuperate for a while.
So I’ve pre-posted well into March but by late March may have to take off a few days. Should be plenty to talk about as we move into Romans 8. But I’ll not be too active in the comments. Or I may feel so much better having blood actually circulating in my body that I go crazy and spend all day posting and commenting. I’ve never done this before. It’s hard to predict how I’ll respond.
With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve likely had these problems for a couple of years or more. I was having such severe problems this time last year that I had to cancel speaking at Pepperdine as a result. In a crazy kind of way, my blood infection in October led to the discovery of the valve problem — which didn’t show on an echocardiogram or an earlier stress test. The bad valve required a heart catheter test. They stuck a camera in my right femoral artery (below belly button and to the right — my right, not yours) and maneuvered it into my heart, where they took pictures of three blockages — which had not shown up on countless EKGs, echocardiograms, transesophageal echocardiograms, or even an earlier stress test. So getting sick may well have saved my life. The 90% blockage is in the artery they call the “widow maker.” So that got my attention.
So anyway … I’m looking forward to feeling better and getting back into some kind of decent shape, Lord willing.
And in the “Lord willing” category, prayer would be much appreciated. I’ve seen it work too many times not to ask.