You — hopefully — don’t get many surprises like this one.

I was having tightness in my chest now and then when I exerted myself, things like walking. The tightness was;t pain and it disappeared quickly when I sat down and rested.

I mentioned it to my oncologist and she insisted I see my cardiologist. (Lord, I have so many different doctors these days. For years I had not even one.)

The cardiologist insisted I have a cardiac catheterization to see what was what. He mentioned that, if they found something and needed to put a stent in my heart, for instance, and keep me overnight.


I had the cardiac cath Tuesday Dec. 8. They found at least four blocked arteries around my heart. They’d have to do a quadruple bypass. It was Tuesday — they’d check me into the hospital (Lourdes Medical Center in Camden) until, at least, the following Wednesday.

Talk about being scared to death. Wow!

I knew I was in what is considered by many to be the best area hospital for heart care. I had great doctors and nurses. I had my Closest Companion always by my side — she spent the night before my open-heat surgery sleeping in a recliner next to my hospital bed, close enough that we held hands for much of that night.

One interesting thing, for me, is that, as I was coming out of open-heart surgery, down the street at Cooper University Hospital, my niece was being rolled into the delivery room to give birth to my beautiful great niece.

Now it’s all recovery. My heart is in great shape, they tell me. All this pain and discomfort results from the broken bone — my sternum, which is wired together and hurts like crazy.

But it hurts like crazy less and less each day. I’m a week and a half out of my quadruple bypass surgery and I’m getting up and down off the sofa better. I’m walking more and more. I’m healing.

At some point, I will probably notice a deeper, overall feeling of being healthier because my heart will be — is — working so much better.

So maybe I’ll get to meet that new great-niece before Christmas. I’ll see much of the family for Christmas.

And each day, I get better and better.

What better gift could I have this Christmas?

I hope your holiday is as good and happy as mine!