Ten days ago I was no longer able to walk any distance without stopping to catch my breath. The very next day I visited my physician, Dr. Watters at the Aspinwall VA Hospital. The doctor determined instantly that I had gained too much weight and ordered an EKG. The results indicated that there was a problem and I definitely needed further examination. It was determined that, because of water I had gained 24 pounds, but I required further X-rays by the cardiologist. The very next day it was determined that I had some extremely serious heart blockage problems that could only be resolved by heart surgery. I was introduced to the cardiologist, Dr. Danny Chu, and his staff.  I had already been informed of his credentials, but after shaking hands he looked me in my eyes and said, “Tomorrow we operate, but you are not my patient you are family.” I was never afraid, but his attitude reassured me that I would be able to write about my illness. I am in recovery and it is not an overnight recovery, it’s projected to be at least eight weeks.

There are three reasons that this week’s column is about my illness and my need to write about it.

1. It has been an overwhelming feeling that maybe I have been able to make a positive difference. The cards, prayers and phone calls have been unending, and all three of my daughters, along with their mother, spent a week by my bedside. Ashley thanks for your prayers.

2. The VA Hospitals across America have generally been vilified, but allow me to explain to all of my readers my experience. The degree of professionalism that I encountered was unimaginable; starting with Dr. Danny Chu and his staff; Tim Miller, PA-C; and Jim Manganaro. Every VA employee I encountered   had an identical immense sense of pride about their role in rendering a deserving serving to all veterans.

3.  Lastly, the most important fact that I want the world to know is “that without the God I serve nothing is possible, because he is in charge.”

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)

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