Monday, May 11, 2015

Sharing Courage

A few times, I have wondered who was more afraid, my husband and I or the people, the medical professionals, we met along the way in his journey with BAV.

I wrote the verses below after my husband's aneurysm surgery. Recently I dusted them off.

He was in the hospital on a heparin drip before that surgery, because he had a prosthetic mechanical valve and had to be weaned from warfarin. I remember very well one doctor who visited his room the night before surgery. We were feeling at peace, looking forward to soon being aneurysm free! We both remember one part of the conversation with that doctor very well. He crossed his fingers on both hands and said "of course, anything can happen." Well, we did not catch his fear, but we were in a tough spot, pretty well trapped by signed legal papers and that heparin drip, if we had panicked. He was a medical doctor, not a surgeon. Today, I remember this doctor with compassion and have always hoped he will never need aneurysm surgery himself. If he does, maybe he will remember the many excellent results from surgeries like my husband's and take courage.

A nurse said the words "time bomb" to me during my husband's surgery that day. Somehow meant to console me, an acknowledgement that there was no choice, those words were jarring to my own heart. We were not in denial. We knew why he needed the surgery he was having that day. We had waited, since we found out it was there, for this day when it would be removed. 

Since then, I have spoken with many people about their aneurysms and upcoming surgeries. I have had people ask me, some whom I have never met in person, if they are going to make it.

I have never once spoken about time bombs. I have never crossed my fingers in front of those I meet. I have met them with a smile, not because I do not know how serious it is, but because we are in this fight to win. No one should face surgery already feeling defeated. 

I understand now, years later, that aneurysm of the aorta in the chest can strike medical professionals with fear also. Even when it is not an emergency. And very much more so, when it is.

The lines below are a call for courage in the face of this tough opponent, aortic disease in the chest. I have learned that not just aneurysms, but valves, and infection, may be challenging too. My husband has had three surgeries, and the two involving his valve, for different reasons each time, were difficult, risky.

It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear. It is taking action in spite of fear.  Please, share your courage, not your fear.

This little poem is meant to speak for the person having the surgery. It is meant for everyone who knows or will meet someone facing that surgery, for an aneurysm or some other complications of aortic disease in their chest.

  Sharing Courage

Please don’t tell me I have a time bomb in my chest
Don’t let me see fear in your eyes.
I cannot forget, yes, I know it is there,
This terror within, in disguise.

Please tell me the best is all there for me,
Share your strength, understanding, and care.
With your help and support I’m reminded
This terror within, I can bear.

Please tell me the wonders of surgery,
Tell of the many it’s saved.
Many days I have lived with this enemy,
This terror within, I have braved.

Please tell me together we’ll do this,
Remind me today is a great day.
No match for the hands of the surgeon,
This terror within cannot stay.

Please tell me you’re there for my family,
Share your courage, assure them it’s true.
Waiting now, soon they’ll see and touch me again,
This terror within hurts them too.

Please tell me that soon it can’t hurt me,
Smile and tell me again that we’ll win.
And when I awake, all new inside,
No more terror, my healing begins.
              - Arlys Velebir

Please give yourself time whenever you need it, time when you can cry, seek comfort, and renew your own courage. Then go out again to share your courage with others.

Courage is always,
an important ingredient
When Creating a Climate of Hope.

Best wishes,
Arlys Velebir