Hospitals and hospitality

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post for this special bulletin…

It's all about attitude.
It’s all about attitude.

Thank you, thank you to all who reached out with your support and prayers as I headed in for an ablation procedure on my heart this past Monday. I was discharged almost exactly 24 hours later and am home resting. And I do mean resting: exertion and even deep breathing makes my chest ache. They don’t even want me to pick up anything more than 5 to 10 pounds in weight for a week.

The outcome? There’s good news and bad news. The good news: I finally made someone’s Top 3 List, which I guess means the equivalent of a  bronze medal (maybe a bronze heart?). The bad news: I win the prize for being one of my surgeon’s three most difficult cases.

The catheter ablation, which should have taken about 4 hours, instead took 8, and he wasn’t able to do everything he had hoped. (For the medically curious: he was to go through the membrane separating the upper chambers, and cauterize firewalls around all four pulmonary veins. But the membrane itself was much smaller than usual, and other anatomical abnormalities made the original plan too risky. In the end, he was only able to do about half of the burning needed.) So the patient survived, but the surgery was not a complete success.

Meanwhile, because of prescription anticoagulants, parts of me look like I’ve been in a street fight. I’ve got bruises everywhere I was poked, especially where they inserted the catheter (the apostle Paul describes this part of the body as the one we “treat with special modesty”). And I still feel the lingering after-effects of the anesthesia. But having said all that, it’s stunning to me that the procedure is even possible at all, and that I’m up and walking around, clothed and in my right mind. I’m even managing the discomfort on nothing more than extra strength Tylenol.

A shout out to all the staff at Riverside Community Hospital: I love having people around me that I can tease and joke with, and everyone from admitting to the entire nursing staff made the short stay as pleasant at it could be. (You could tell that these people actually like each other.) And thank you to my surgeon, Dr. Duong, who went the second mile and then some, sticking with it for a full eight hours without a break. It’s not his fault that I’m put together a little strangely. (I’ve always had to do things my own way.)

I still have symptoms. It will take several weeks before we really know the outcome of all this, and what else can or should be done, if anything. Whatever may be, again, to God be the glory. And may we all look forward to a heaven full of hospitality, but not a hospital in sight.