Above is the view from my hospital bed at Coliseum Medical Center in Macon, Georgia. It’s not a view that compares with those my friend David Welford posts on instagram, but at least it’s a view – there were no windows in the ICU.
However, this morning my wife and I will be driving the 4-or-so hours back to Chattanooga, enjoying the view through the windshield. FREEDOM!
A New Era
Last Friday I entered a new era in my life, one that will require lots more medication, a radical change in diet, and a physical therapy program that will probably turn into a regular workout program. I went from living life a certain way to living it a totally different way. I went from life as usual to life unexpected.
That’s what happens when you have a changed heart.
How It Happened
My heart began to change the moment I realized I was in trouble and admitted my need for help. Had my pride said, “I can handle this…I’ll be OK,” I would have been dead. But the painful feeling in my chest convinced me nothing I could do was going to change my condition – I needed a doctor.
The next step in my change of heart came when I submitted to the recommendations of those with whom I consulted. There was the doctor in the first hospital in Washington County who told me: “We got the results of your blood test…there’s something going on…you need to see a cardiologist tonight.” Then, several hours later, after a long ambulance ride and a lot more tests in another hospital (Coliseum), there was the cardiologist who said, “You need surgery.”
If I had rejected the recommendations of either, I would not be writing this; someone else would be writing my obituary.
The final step came when I submitted to the wisdom and ability of Dr. Nisreen Jallad and allowed her to fix what was wrong by weaving a wire up through my wrist and arm, all the way to the blocked arteries in my heart. Had I just agreed to what was needed, nothing would have changed. It was only when I put my life in her hands and allowed her to perform the scary, painful, life-saving angiogram and arterial surgery that change actually occurred.
Over the next couple of days, as I lay in the intensive care unit (ICU), there were times when I felt pain in my chest. Was I having another attack? More surgery?
That’s when Dr. Jallad calmly reassured me, “You came in with problems, but you are fixed…don’t worry.” All I was feeling were a combination of soreness and anxiety, not a heart attack; my heart was working fine.
What’s the next step? Live like my heart has been changed.
Evidence of Change
With a changed heart I will no longer consume the same foods; I will be on a healthier diet, one which will demand I think before I eat.
With a changed heart I will require an ongoing relationship with a cardiologist, someone who knows how the heart works and how to keep it working.
With a changed heart I will have to maintain a very specific regimen of medications for the rest of my life, else the devices in my heart will cease to perform as designed. The change was permanent, but its usefulness could be thwarted by my complacency and lack of discipline.
Can you see any comparisons to the spiritual heart? Some people claim to have had a change, but where’s the evidence?
Was there ever a moment of crisis? A moment of need? A time when you realized something was seriously wrong and there was nothing you could do to fix yourself?
Has there been a change of diet and discipline? Has the change been taken seriously?
Was there ever a surrendering to the Savior’s surgical hand, or did you simply continue as you were with only His words to contemplate?
Is there an ongoing communication with the Great Physician, the Cardiologist of the soul? Or, was that one trip to His office enough for you?
Then did a heart change really take place?
All I know is that everything changed for me the day my heart was changed.