The Frenchman may say, “The doctor is often more to be feared than the disease.” (French Proverb) and Benjamin Franklin puts it this way, “God heals, and the doctor takes the fees. ” However, I believe medicine is part of God’s gift to his creatures and that the sciences are of no opposition to the glory of God but rather reflects them.
10 years ago (8th January 2001 -8th January 2011) I had a heart surgery, it was actually both a correction and a replacement of my mitral valve with a mechanical one.
Mitral valve: A valve in the heart situated between the left atrium and the left ventricle that permits blood to flow from the left atrium into the left ventricle but not in the reverse direction.
The mitral valve has two flaps (cusps). It is called “mitral” because it looks like a bishop’s miter or headdress. Also known as the bicuspid. Credit: MedicineNet
In summary, my mitral valve replacement procedure was performed under general anesthesia, which kept me asleep during the whole surgery. An incision through the breastbone in the front of my chest was made in order to get to my heart (quite scary but pretty interesting experience too). After my heart was exposed, the next thing was to make sure that my blood was rerouted to a heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass). An incision was made in my left atrium to expose my mitral valve (Hello valve, you’re my hero. You kept fighting for our greater good, thanks a lot!). My (fallen hero) valve was then replaced with a mechanical valve (Hi new partner, let’s prove to critics that Science and Religion are identical twins okay?). Then after the functioning of my new valve was tested and confirmed, my humble heart was then closed. I was then taken off the cardiopulmonary bypass and my blood was allowed to flow into my coronary arteries. Finally my chest was closed and I was taken to the Intensive Care Unit of the National Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana, West Africa. That was 10 years ago, I almost forgot, I spent my 15th birthday (11th January 2001) at the Intensive Care Unit too. It was Wow!
When I was later taken to the Out Patient Department, I remember noticing a BIG change in my life. I heard a strange sound, something was ticking, I tried searching for the source of that… Is it a bomb or what? I finally realized that it was coming from me, did the doctor leave his watch inside me? What’s going on? I called my doctor and asked him, “Did you leave your watch inside me?” “No…” he explained. It’s the sound of the mechanical valve – my new life partner. 🙂
There are other sensitive things about having a mechanical valve implant. One is living on a blood thinner drug for the rest of your life. Others are quite personal. In the nutshell, I think it was worth it. Yes, Life is worth a living to me.
St. Ambrose of Milan once said, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” I’ll like to thank firstly God who has been so good to me, He truly and really is not just the Author of life but life Himself. Also, I’d love to extend my sincere appreciation to Very Rev. Fr. John Kwabena Louis, Rev. Fr. J. Kusi, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Dr. Lawrence Agyeman Sereboe, my Aunt Ivy Mensah, my mum Sarah Mensah, the Legion of Mary, the Knight of the Altar and all those who prayed for me or supported me in one way or another. Thank you.