Taking care of our hearts is being stressed this month, and it certainly is important.
No. This is not Thanksgiving. It is just another day to give thanks.
This is National Heart Month.
I would like to pay tribute to the doctors who have taken part in giving added life to those who enter the world with congenital heart defects.
When our son was born in 1952, the prospect of open heart surgery using a successful heart lung machine was still in the future. Fortunately for him and for us, it was available in 1958 when he needed it and was also successful in his case. Some defects were/are still too complicated to be corrected, but heart surgery was becoming more and more common and more successful as time went on.
By the time our daughter was born in 1960, many congenital heart surgeries were almost routine, but not for our daughter, who had a three chambered heart and was completely reversed.
When she later stood at attention before our flag, she could proudly place her left hand over her right chest to cover her heart.
But the years before her surgery were not easy for her, her parents or even her doctors. It was a mystery up to and within the time frame of her surgery.
The famed Dr. Denton Cooley was faced with an impossible situation, a single ventricle with no semblance of a wall to attach a patch, so he attached it directly to the wall, but that is only a part of his and her surgical story.
It is only in the past year that we have learned the complexity of the surgery that Dr. Cooley performed and how miraculous it was that she has lived into her late 50s, giving birth to two sons who are now young, strapping 6- feet-plus men who have excelled in their school work and are making strides in their professions.
One of them also had a corrective heart surgery when he was only days old.
We find much to be thankful for, and the human hearts that go out to perfect surgery and protect children who come into the world with what could be a fatal handicap are among those we honor. Those doctors are among the most humble and caring we have met. Children’s hospitals do that to you.
Take care of your heart. It must last you a lifetime.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Norma Christian Raymondville