I accompany my husband as he makes a Mended Heart Pre-Op visit at the hospital. I linger in the hallway as he stands at the beside of a newly scheduled heart by-pass patient. Not wanting to intrude, I remain just outside the open door surveying all the bustle that seems to occur in and around a patient awaiting heart surgery.
As the veteran Mended Heart speaks quietly with the perspective Mended Heart, I glance down at a small cart near my elbow. There, on a clipboard full of papers, is the chart and computer printout for the patient with whom my husband is speaking. In bold hand-printed block letters, someone has written "CABG IN A.M. - READY BY 7A.M."
Those of us who speak the language of "Cardiac" already know that CABG is the abbreviation that doctors and medical staff assign to Open Heart Surgery. We know too, that it is spoken of in a most casual manner as simply, "Cabbage!" There is nothing casual however, about Open Heart Surgery.
Here in this hallway, as evening is approaching, I listen to muffled voices coming from the nearby room, and am suddenly aware that this is what Mended Hearts is really all about; one single person standing at the foot of another's hospital bed, chatting, explaining, encouraging, and listening; standing as living proof that this is indeed an endurable process that can reap benefits and rewards.
It is sobering and humbling to witness a caring Mended Heart make his rounds. As we go about our daily routines, we can pause occasionally and remember that almost every day, someone is stretched out in a hospital bed across the city, wearing one of those scanty little hospital gowns with that maddening blue diamond pattern on it. And you can count on the fact that almost always there is a Mended Heart Visitor making plans to be at that patient's bedside.
It makes one pause and wonder if perhaps something more than just cardiac drugs and medications are dripped down into the veins and arteries of heart surgical patients. Is there, by chance, some exquisite magical elixir which also makes its way into the bloodstream, leaving all those who are By-passed, Re-valved, or Angioplastied with a new and keener awareness of life's wonders, and giving them all a rarefied state of humility and unusual kindness to others?
It is virtually impossible to find a Mended Heart who is not caring and giving and keenly aware of life's great gifts and opportunities. Mended Hearts are, one by one, making all the difference in the world.
Assistant Regional Director
Chapter 297 Vice-President
Mended Hearts Accredited Hospital Visitor