I had gotten a telephone call on Tuesday from the Cardiac Lab at St. Mary's Hospital in Athens, GA. I was informed that I was to sign in and register at 9 o'clock on Wednesday morning. I was there before 9. I was taught by my parents to be on time and come a little early. That training in my home was reemphasized in the Marine Corps. Being prompt, meeting schedules on time is a core values of my life and practice.
Dr. Amit Shah, my surgeon came in the room and told me they had an emergency and my surgery would be delayed a couple of hours. Those two hours stretched out to be four, and I had nothing to eat and nothing to drink since before midnight on Tuesday. God was good and helped me to hang in there and go with the flow.
My pastor, Brad Cooper, came to visit me prior to my surgery, ministered to me and my family, and prayed for a successful surgery. It is good to be the recipient of the ministry of one's pastor.
A few minutes before two o'clock in the afternoon, they came to get me and roll me into the surgical suite. It is cold in there, but they covered me with warm blankets, put a tent over me and other things on my shoulder and chest. However, the nurse rolled the tent back so it was not on my face. I was required to turn my head to the right. The surgeon entered and injected a stinging needle into my skin to deaden it for the surgical knife. I never felt the incision or the implanting of the pacemaker. Dr. Shah found an artery and threaded two wires attached to the pacemaker, one to the bottom of my heart muscle and the other to the top. There was a young lady there who represents the company that sells the pacemakers, and she programed it to cause my heart to beat 60 beats a minute. It had been beating below 50 beats down to the high 30s or 40s, and it was irregular and my heart would often stop beating for 3.2 seconds.
When they rolled me back to my room, Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham was there. What a pleasant surprise that was for me, and I was proud to introduce him to the staff there. He had been in Franklin Springs for some meetings and he spoke in chapel on Wednesday. He was on his way to the Atlanta International Airport where he would board a flight to Argentina. I welcomed his prayer for me, Melvine and Greg.
I did so well, that I was released from the hospital around 6 p.m. and got home at little before 7. We stopped by a place to get sandwiches and chips for supper.
I have had an ice pack on the place of the operation to prevent swelling, but I have removed it. I am having to wear a sling, and keep my left hand above my elbow. I am not to lift my hand and arm above my heard for a week or so.
I cannot work out in the yard for a month, and I will have to get someone to plant my garden this year, cut and weed-eat my grass, fertilize my grass and overseed the back yard with turf type fescue, and I need to purchase some grass sod to cover a bank that needs a grass covering.
In the meantime, I plan to continue doing Hugh's News as I have the strength. I am writing a book about our daughter, Stephanie, who died on August 3, 2012. It is interesting to note that I completed my three-year commitment in the United States Marine Corps on August 3, 1956. My good friend Eddie Don, the son of the world famous artist, Don Kingman, one of America's top 10 artists and art professor at Columbia University, took me to the train depot in Quantico to go my home, my parents' home, in Birmingham, AL. He was an excellent clarinet player. I had enrolled at Asbury College in Wilmore, KY, and I went there for only one year.
Thank you for your many prayers, emails, and phone calls.