I just got off the phone with my sister in law and have decided not to try to go down to Portland today to see Buz. She tells me he will not be really conscious for several days and wouldn't remember that I was there, even if he opened his eyes and saw me. So I'll go next week when he will be much more lucid. I'm relieved not to have to make the drive but I also want him to know that I was there. I feel vaguely uneasy that I'm not rushing to his bedside immediately.
The surgery took many hours, probably about 12, because he had had an LVAD implanted last fall and all that hardware had to be removed. But the heart was implanted in the afternoon and started to beat properly, though he remained on the bypass machine while they took out the LVAD hardware. Now he will be in ICU for several days while his body adjusts to the new heart and they regulate the anti-rejection drugs, but he will be a new man, almost literally, when he is recovered.
His doctors have told my SIL that Buz is the ideal candidate for transplant, because he is young, strong, and determined. He's also smart, in that he is willing to follow the doctor's orders and not take risks with his health.
I admire my brother for his determination and his will to live. Over the 25 years of this ordeal with heart disease, he has refused to give up, to cut back on his commitment to public service, to draw into himself in despair. He has explored every possible treatment in an intelligent and comprehensive way and has been willing to try just about anything to survive. He feels strongly that God has a plan for him and it doesn't include dying young.
In other news, my congregation was so sweet to me yesterday! They produced a birthday cake during coffee hour, with cards and flowers, and even took me out to dinner at the Chinese place after church last night. It was just perfect, not too much hype, just enough.
Sixty-six ain't such a bad age, I guess!