Teddy Bear Club
It’s official. I’m now a member of the Teddy Bear Club. My open-heart surgery four weeks ago at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City provided my membership. In keeping with tradition, the hospital gave me a teddy bear to hug tightly to my chest when I sneezed, coughed, or got choked. Hugging the bear fights the pain caused by the extra pressure inside the chest wall.
It has been an interesting experience. I have experienced far less pain than I had anticipated would occur, and I have used the bear only a few times. God has been merciful to me throughout this experience. Still, it is not an experience I care to repeat.
The surgery was June 28 and I went in thinking I would have three bypasses in an operation lasting about four hours. It didn’t turn out that way. Dr. Randolph, who is recognized statewide as an outstanding surgeon, did four bypasses and two laser procedures, and the operation lasted six hours.
In my almost five days there (Thursday until Monday afternoon), the hospital staff gave me outstanding care. All of them were thoughtful and kind. My wife, Carol, was allowed to stay in the room with me the entire time and the staff was equally kind to her. In addition, our older daughter, Cindy, was there and she, too, was treated with respect. She was a great support to her mom and encouragement to me.
When I got home, she had to return to her home in Olathe, KS, and our younger daughter, Donna, and her family arrived for a visit. I was happy to have them, and they were especially helpful to Carol with cooking and doing chores. Donna even honored me by singing some hymns I enjoy. On Friday, they had to return to their home in Bellefontaine, OH.
On Thursday, our son arrived from Laramie, WY, and had a visit with his sister before she left. Then, he devoted two days to doing yard work for me. Because of how I had been feeling, I had allowed shrubbery to go untrimmed and lots of weeding undone. He took care of it and also trimmed some tree limbs, as well as cleaning out the garage.
My wife has been my nurse and has given me attention above and beyond the call of duty. That vow she made about being with me in sickness and in health 55 years ago when we got married may now have much different meaning to her than it did then. She’s an awesome nurse.
My family has been great to me, and so have my church family and other friends. I have received dozens of cards, some wonderful home-grown fruits and vegetables as well as salads, snacks, cake, cookies and cinnamon rolls, numerous phone calls, and many personal visits. My neighbors on either side of us have taken care of mowing my lawn, and the neighbor across the street has brought items fresh from his garden. Members of Carol’s family have helped us in many ways. Also, the Home Health Care nurses who have checked on me have offered encouragement.
No wonder I’m improving so rapidly.
I’m simply a retired 73-year-old former journalist/educator, who is enjoying retirement and keeping busy with projects through my church, writing this blog, and at times working on a novel or two. I’m not some famous personality, but I must say that all of the attention I have received in various ways has really made me feel important.
At the same time, it’s humbling to know that so many people have demonstrated interest in me and my well being.
Most of all, I am thankful to God, my wife, and my family for the way they have supported me through this time. But I also thank the rest of you for all you have done. You will never know how meaningful it has been to me. You are awesome!