Recovery From Heart Transplant Surgery – A Wife’s Recovery After Her Husband’s Heart Transplant

“You look so calm. How do you do it?” my friends asked. “What are they really asking?” my thoughts blurred. They said I looked calm, without any worries. Oh, if they only knew the storms raging within my thoughts. Yet, the quiet in the hospital’s 7th floor reading room is the place where I found “Anatomy of an Illness” by Norman Cousins. This book seemed to be waiting as a gift of sustaining strength for me.

Hospital staff focused on their arduous tasks of highly skilled health care for numerous patients requiring care for critical health needs. My focus on humor, inspiration, health and faith, of course, carried me through the storm of my life, a heart transplant for my spouse. It is a good thing I did not fully comprehend what was really happening, until our life resumed after his heart transplant.

I remembered a sermon my previous pastor, Richard Hipps, had preached several years earlier about Norman Cousins and a book Cousins had written entitled, “Anatomy of an Illness.” Cousins discovered his pain slowly diminished proportionately with laughter. The more he chuckled, the less pain medicine he needed to conquer a painful disease.

Ultimately, his discovery of laughter’s healing quality restored his health years ago, and that gives me hope today. The decision to follow Norman Cousins’ prescription required a minimal amount of time because it was easy to remember the comedians I enjoyed the most as a child. First, I remembered Jonathan Winters and Red Skelton. Norman Vincent Peale’s inspirational writing of positive thinking was next. Peale’s writing opened a new path for me in addition to new avenues of thought related to the healing qualities of music.

I also found Bible verses I had not previously attempted to memorize now gave me the opportunity to focus on God, rather than myself. A passage of scripture in Job 11:17-19 was particularly challenging for me, however, I successfully memorized it and it continually gives me comfort.

The memorization technique I used was the “sentence writing” method, a method of punishment for misbehavior in class was used by my teachers in middle school. Those sentences of punishment, which they required to be written at least 100 times or more, taught me a lesson I will always remember. “I will not talk in class.” An effective method such as this one would most certainly assist me with memorizing one or two Bible verses…

I got the message. For more years than I prefer to recall, I was known as the quiet student; one who painfully learned the repetition of writing a message or thought over and over would deeply embed the message in my mind. Earl Nightingale was right, “We become what we think about.”

Even though those teachers from years passed had intended “sentence writing” as punishment, my decision as an adult to use this technique as my own personal learning tool gave me hope when I least expected it and needed it the most.

Angela Scott
© July 1, 2008

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