The Great Physician

The documentary on military airplanes played in the background on the large television, as I sat there on the long leather couch. It was January of 2013, and I was with my mother and sister at Mercy Hospital, where my dad was having open heart surgery. My dad was born with what is known as a bicuspid valve, which meant he had only two heart valves when there should be three. At 63 years old, my dad had lived his entire life with these two valves working overtime, and that took their toll on his heart. He had developed an aneurysm on one of the valves, as well as a diseased aortic root. He was having the valve with the aneurysm replaced with a titanium valve, and he was having his root replaced with a completely synthetic one. 

Rather than sitting with me and my sister in the lounge which sat in the waiting room, my mom sat in the rest of the waiting room, her eyes focused solely on the large monitor which was up to date with information on the surgeries in progress, and the patients who were having those surgeries. In her hand she clutched a picture, given to us by the Catholic hospital. My family and I are not Catholic, but we are born again believers, and so my mom found comfort in this picture. The picture depicted an open heart surgery, with Jesus standing behind the surgeon guiding his hands to ensure the surgery went without a hitch. The title of this picture was The Great Physician, and my mom had found a little stack of them on the desk parallel to the waiting room. 

After 26 years of marriage, I had known my parents were in love and would be together no matter what. I had never truly thought about their relationship until the week leading up to the day of the surgery. My mother was what she herself called a worry wart, and stressed over anything and everything, but not like she stressed about this surgery. I remember her telling me and my sister that she’d been getting only three hours of sleep each night, because she was too worried to sleep. This was the very first time she’d ever told me and my sister that she’d be unable to live without our father. I’d never heard someone truthfully say this about a significant other, and it had a big impact on my life. Would I be able to find a love in my life like my parents had, where my wife and I would need each other as much as my mom needed my dad?


Maryland HTS Missouri