As I write this account of the past six weeks or so, six weeks that saw me thinking I had an ulcer one moment and then waking up from a quadruple bypass operation; I write it from the perspective from the future. So, forgive me if I get some facts or actual events mixed up or if I omit important people, places or words expressed. Forgive me also for embellishing or simplifying events – memories after all are based on memories of memories – so I am sure most get lost or are born in the translations
From the time I was laying in the hospital bed with the Wonka grandparents that first night, to the time I was told that my operation would occur later that Friday morning – I was in a mental state of fog. I didn’t know what was actually happening, what was going to happen and what actually led me to that bed. It was when the craziness began and the orderlies, nurses, doctors and whomever else came storming towards me thrusting questions at me – what’s your name, birthdate, what brought you here, are you allergic… That is when I dropped any sense of being in control of my life and ceded to my higher power.
I closed my eyes as this Spanish gentleman began to shave my chest and (What seemed like a very angry) a Russian woman asked me questions in the form of commands. Another three or four people waited their turns to ask the same questions as if they weren’t all on the same page. I closed my eyes and I actually said these words in my mind:
“God you have always been there for me, maybe I have doubted it from time to time, but I never doubted your existence – just felt like you were bored of me or something. I need you now to take over – this is way above my head and I am scared. I don’t want to die – as much I complain a lot about money and stuff – I truly love life and my life and I have too many people who I love and I do not want to leave. As Captain Kirk said, take the conn. I am giving up any false sense of control that I fool myself into believing I possess. I am letting God – God. I am stepping down from my brain so You can heal my heart.”
I then said “Shema Yisrael A’donai Elohenu A’donai E-had. Listen Israel – God is our Lord and our Lord is one.”
Once again, I am sure I just embellished what I said but I did speak to God and admitted I was not in control. I was in no shape to drive and I sat in the back and went along for the ride.
Someone, with only the best of intentions, posted on Facebook to say a prayer for “Freddy Zalta who is having an emergency heart operation.” or something to that effect. I have no doubt that only the sincerest of intentions inspired this post but it caused a kind of earthquake as all of our cell phones began to scream out bad vibrations.
I had forgotten that as many people who I loved actually loved me right back. I knew I needed to post something and I did. This was on Thursday night when I was under the assumption my operation would occur on Monday.
“I am fine, I just need to have a procedure to fix this beating inside my chest. If you must do something, do good deeds. I will be back posting here tomorrow if not tonight. Surgery Monday, prayers are nice, actions are better. Make this world a better place, start at home and go from there.”
The responses were quick and amazing. I never could have expected over 100 responses and words of comfort, prayers and love. One of the comments spell check hijacked and turned what is a term for a quick recovery into what became a humorous rallying cry.
“Refuse the Shoemaker!” Which should have come out “Refuah Shelemah” which kind of means recover quickly. It was very funny to see the comments after that; one person though the “Shoemaker” was a Doctor I should stay away from. Another thought it was a metaphor for something. It was a spell check error which sparked a flash of comedic relief that was really needed. I wonder if mine was the first Quadruple Bypass with updates on Facebook. I can say that Facebook did make it easier for me and others who waited for updates on my condition. My son Saul posted once the operation was finished:
“Thank God surgery went well. He is doing great. Still sleeping but thank God it went well.”
I remember my wife running in that morning as they worked on me. I don’t remember what or who else came that morning only the sight of Jessica. The next thing I remember is being pulled on a gurney, hearing my wife racing to keep up and seeing the different ceilings pass by. And to be honest – I could be making this part up as well.
I do remember being in the operating room and asking to be put to sleep – they said dont worry we dont want you to be awake. I kept remembering a Nip/Tuck episode where the anesthesia did not put the patient to sleep and she witnessed the whole thing while numb, but awake and unable to speak or move. But before I knew it I was waking up somewhere and being told all went well.
I never thought I would be thrilled to have my memory erase one of the most important events in my life.