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Heartfelt Reactions

April 12, 1987

The article on March 31 by Dick Roraback titled "After Heart Surgery: Jokes, Aches, Mercy and Intensive Care" is a sad and unappreciated (by me) commentary on heart surgery. I saw nothing to joke about. Going into surgery is an experience of great apprehension. ICU is frightening and you are so sick; you hurt so much you can only think about the next pain medication or another day and another day to pass by so you can reach that point, on a day to come, when you will no longer hurt.

I had no "mechanics" operate on me, only skilled surgeons and fine nurses and technicians who had my life in their hands, with their goal to provide me a longer, comfortable life. There was only one nurse I disliked. All others were patient and caring and had the skill to encourage me to try harder, grit my teeth and have faith.

I am an experienced heart patient. My first aortic valve implant was in January, 1965. I was 37. That fine valve lasted 21 years and 3 months before I began to ail. My new aortic valve was implanted in April, 1986, when I was 58. My brother-in-law just two months ago had two artificial valves implanted. He and I both found the surgery tough and frightening.

Sorry, Mr. Roraback, our valves go click, click and not oink. We did not have a choice of valves; we just want them to continue clicking. We didn't think any part of surgery or post-surgery was funny. We had the pills, the needles, the hurting, but all with fine medical care.

MARGARET M. CLOUD

Playa del Rey

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