How can you mend a broken heart?

Visit the Frankel Center with a woman like this

She stops the rain from falling down.

“How are you feeling, William?” asked Dr. Shinichi Fukuhara, as he entered surgical recovery a few hours after succesfully completing a complex repair of my aortic valve and doing a bypass on one of my coronary arteries. Not a full Letterman, but open-heart surgery nonetheless.

“I feel my like my chest has been cut open with bone saws and forceps,” I muttered. He nodded, stifled a laugh, with what I assumed to be Japanese politness, or, more likely, he had heard such brashness before. But, crikey, I wasn’t deadpanning: The recovery pain was intense.

A note while in recovery — still intubated — I scratched out to Danielle, complaining about tubes and pain. Not at all like me, to be sure.

At the end of 2019, during an annual physical, my doctor detected a heart murmur. He recommended I see a cardiologist sometime in the new year.

In February 2020 I got married. First things first. That part of my heart was more of a priority. I saw a cardiologist in early March. Many tests followed. Since I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms, and Covid was raging, the valve job could wait.

Complicating things, in the summer, after a series of unfortunate events (falling off a mountain bike while resting, for instance), doctors discovered — and successfully removed last year — a large brain tumor on the left side of my brain. The heart repair was delayed, again, until October of this year.

To pass the time in the hospital — ten days on this tour — I would chat with my guardian angel wife Danielle, who was by my side twelve hours a day, check in on Michigan football blogs, and trade YouTube videos via iMessage of Ann Arbor-founded funk band Vulfpeck, with my son, Mick. One sleepless night I stumbled upon a fine PBS profile of journalist-TV presenter Alistair Cooke, whom I hadn’t thought about in years.

It’s been an eventful — shall we say — couple of years. The tumor did some damage. But, thankfully, I still have the mind of a twelve-year-old, as is regularly pointed out at home. My heart literally (as the kids say) and figuratively is mended. My friends and family — especially my beautiful and brave wife Danielle — inspire me.

Recovery is not so bad. I still can’t drive, but I am fond of buses, Uber, and walking. I’m embarrassed to admit, but I finally read “Catcher in the Rye,” which I loved, if you wanna know the truth. I have a newfound affinity for the Canadian rock band Rush. Go figure. And I still have my boyish good looks.

When I was an Opinion Page editor at the Michigan Daily, in the 1980s, I routinely criticized UM policy (slow to divest from apartheid South Africa, for example). But when it comes to saving the life of old Bill — twice — in the past several months, I hold the University’s Michigan Medicine system in the highest possible regard.

Heading home. She makes the world go round.

All allusions to “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” taken from the hit song, written by Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb.

4 thoughts on “How can you mend a broken heart?

  1. Cynthia Schneider says:

    Wow!! The LORD has definitely decided twice you are not done here!! BRAVO!! Happy to hear that those health issues have been eradicated and you have more years left here with us!! Good News William!! Too many of us gone already!! 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David Train says:

    Mr. (and Mrs!) Bill, So glad to hear of at least three major things going right for you! Love to get together sometime with you and the Treseman’s…. Love from Jenny and me.

    Liked by 1 person

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