Monday, February 17, 2014

A change of heart?

I  am thinking about how  or whether a "significant, life-threatening" event is "life-altering".  I an just past 1 year since I had open heart surgery to replace a "badly stenosed"  aoritic valve.   In a period of six weeks I went from thinking I was as "healthy as a horse" to being told by a cardiac surgeon look at my echocardiogram  and  "you are a very high risk of sudden cardiac death"  and  shaking his head and saying "I don't understand why you are still walking around".

However, the surgery was successful and here I am a year later as "healthy as a horse". 

In a report by  Lifewire  heart bypass  patients often experience post-surgery significant changes  including

  • Fear: Being afraid of what lies ahead, especially concerning your health
  • Anxiety: Sleeplessness, feelings of nervousness, tension
  • Depression: Sadness, low energy
  • Loneliness: Feeling no one understands what you're going through
  • Anger: Losing your temper, negative feelings for those around you
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and New York University associate professor is quoted as saying     "What triggers this is people feel they don't have control over their situation,"

(To be clear heart bypass is  a different procedure than a valve replacement but they both involve the trauma (and risk) of open heart surgery where the patient is put on heart-lung machine and the heart is stopped so I'm assuming this is applicable to my situation).

The report goes on to say that

 "patients who felt fine until they discovered they needed a heart bypass, the shock of suddenly dealing with health problems can be overwhelming."

"Medication such as beta blockers -- often prescribed for heart patients -- can cause depression, and researchers are investigating whether anesthesia may be a culprit as well."

"Some people also feel their memory is not as good after the surgery."

The  main focus of the article is to recognize these effects quickly and take action to restore emotional "strength".

It may be of value to  go back and look at this  process of "sudden loss of (perceived) health" and  coming to grips with the new reality. 

I did touch on this in one of my pre-surgery posts "Beginnings and Endings" - Part 3" especially whether the Kubler-Rosss   stages of grief model would apply. (this model is described by the acronym DABDA; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance)

However at this point I'm more focussed on whether there is any  long term change whether "negative" or positive"

I am particularly interested in  examining changes in spiritual attitudes.

I have started some research  in this area which I will share as it unfolds. 

What makes the difference between "Damascus road changes"  (cf. Acts 9) and other  reactions (no change or a "turning way from God). 

In my case I don't think there has been any dramatic change but there has been  some change - some I would see as "good" and some  that's "not so good".  

Perhaps musing on the  "why or why not" of change can be helpful. We'll see

God Bless

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