Today I went to the VA Clinic in Winston Salem for an examination concerning my Ischemic Heart Condition that has grown worse. My appointment was at 3:00pm so that meant we got there by 2:45. We checked in and was sent to the C & P waiting area for a second check in and to see the doctor. I really didn’t know what to expect. I have never met this Dr.
Soon she came out and called my name and told me her name which sounded nothing like the word printed on my appointment sheet. Still not understanding her name we went back to her office. There she asked me tons of questions about the paperwork I had submitted to the VA on line. All of it had to do with my heart condition and the different stages it has gone through. For instances; heart attack in 1995, by-pass in 1995, atrial fibrillation in early 1996, cardio-version in 1996 and 1999, heart cath with two stents done in 2008, flutter ablation in 2008, Atrial Fibrillation at Duke in 2009, heart cath in 2015, and echo-cardiogram in 2015. All of which showed that my heart pumping function was reduced from 40% to 30%.
My cardiologist states it like this: “Mr. Martin has established coronary artery disease as well as diabetes mellitus. In 1995 he underwent CABG revascularization surgery. He also has a history of significant cardiac arrhythmias and has required ablation procedures. He has developed significant left ventricular dysfunction leading to increasing shortness of breath. He has documented renal insufficiency. He has undergone recent right and left heart cardiac catheterization, and has severe native coronary artery disease with total occlusion of the LAD, total occlusion of the proximal RCA with both antegrade bridging collaterals and retrograde collaterals and circumflex disease. He has a patent LIMA graft to his mid LAD and has progressive disease with now total occlusion of the proximal vein graft which supplied the RCA. He also has a recurrent atrial fibrillation which is now permanent. He was found to have at least moderate pulmonary hypertension with a PA pressure at 50/32. He has become significantly disabled with reference to development of significant dyspnea.”
WOW… sounds worse when the doc explains it in terms the average person cannot understand. All I know is that I had a CABG, and something is wrong with my LAD that affects my RCA and something is happening with my LIMA. All of this is making me feel bad and taking away my energy.
We went through all these questions. I had an EKG and a chest x-ray. I had to walk with her around the complex to see how long it took for me to get short of breath. It was a quick hour and 1/2 consultation/exam/interview. She was nice even though I could not understand a lot of what she was saying. Now, you have to take into consideration that I was listening to her with my 68 year old “Married” ear. And, as I have been told repeatedly, it don’t hear too well.
As we were leaving and she was handing me off to the lady at the window, from about ten feet away, I heard her say: “Next time I hope you will be brand new.” And replied: “I sure do hope so.” I turned to Shirley who asked me what she said and I repeated that she said: “Next time maybe you will be brand new.” The lady behind the window broke in and said: “Honey, she didn’t say you would be brand new. She said Next time I see you it will be in Kernersville.” (They are moving to the new Kernersville clinic in February.) I snickered and said: “I really prefer to take it like I heard it… Next time maybe I will be brand new.”
It is fun to get old and hard of hearing… it makes everyday an adventure. I imagine people saying all kinds of weird stuff to me… and I remark: “I am sure they didn’t say what I thought they said.” Laugh or cry? We prefer to laugh.
It reminds me of the old story that goes around the District Committee on Ordained Ministry – which tried to help persons to understand and develop their call to ministry. One day a young farmer boy appears before the Dcom saying that he saw a cloud formation in the sky that clearly read G P. He took it to mean that God was saying “Go Preach.” But the committee could not find any gifts or graces that would warrant them to encourage him to pursue a call to ministry. Finally one of the committee members spoke us and said: “Maybe God is saying Go Plow?”
The doc I met at the VA was Indian. She spoke quickly… much quicker than I listened. On her wall she had this huge picture of the Taj Mahal. It made me think about Ghandi and how we Christians didn’t hear the call or obey the call to be Christian in his midst. Gandhi told missionaries, “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” When asked why he did not embrace Christianity, Gandhi said it offered nothing he could not get from his own religion, observing, “…to be a good Hindu also meant that I would be a good Christian. There is no need for me to join your creed to be a believer in the beauty of the teachings of Jesus or try to follow His example.”
Ghandi was given the name Mahatma, which means “High-Souled.” I wonder, are we high-souled? Do we know that we have been called to live on a higher plane… to allow others to be attracted to the teaching of Jesus by the way we live our daily lives among everyone we meet? We are called to be new creatures in Christ. “Next time I see you, I hope we will be brand new.”
Lord, take these old, tired, unhearing ears of mine and let me truly hear your call for me to be brand new. Amen.