Blogs by Hilary Hopkins


March 18, 2014 / Open-Heart Surgery: Traveling Through the Valley of the Shadow

So just take everything off, and the gown opens in the back.  You can put your clothes in this plastic bag.

Here, honey,  I want you to keep my wedding rings till I come home.

No, just take the bag of clothes home with you.  You can bring it back when I get discharged.

Oh, that’s a really nice vein there in your arm!  I’ll put this line in there.

Yeah, I know my heart rate is really high.  I look calm, and actually I feel pretty calm too.  But my body knows!

No, I didn’t eat or drink anything since nine o’clock last night.  I don’t suppose I could have an ice chip?  Didn’t think so.

Bless her and her family.  Guide the hands of her surgeon and all those who will care for her.  Keep her safe…  Anointing you with oil is a very ancient thing.

I know.  It seems a great comfort to me.  Thank you so much, Reverend.

Good morning, doctor!   Will you have to go in through the side?  No?  Well, that’s good I guess.  How long will it all take, ballpark?  Six hours?  OK. 

So I’m going to give you a sedative now…




Open your eyes!  Open your eyes!   Open your eyes Mommy!  Open your eyes!   Open your eyes Hilary!  Open your eyes dear!   Open your eyes!   Open your

I’m here!  I’m here!  They did it!  

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep

The surgeon said it was easier than he thought it would be.

I am so THIRSTY.   Oh thank you!

Hi, I am one of the nurses, my name’s Sandy…Jean…Rose…Taj…Seana…Patty…Catherine….

Yes, I think I can sit on the side of the bed…sit in the chair…walk down the hall…

I am so THIRSTY.

Barbara…Joanne…oh hi Jean…

No, I don’t think I need that pain pill.

I think I can sleep.

Oooohh    ooohhh    ooohhhh   oooohhhh   MAma   MAma   Mama   I need you…I need you…

You poor person.  I hear you, in this night, even if your Mama can not. 

“Anesthesia, report to Cardiac Stepdown Unit!”

“Oncall pediatrician, report to Labor and Delivery STAT!”

I am so grateful, so grateful, to be lying here in the night, aware of my healing.  Others whom I do not see, but who are here and in extremis, are not so lucky.

It’s Ash Wednesday.  Hilary, receive these ashes, knowing that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Yes, but not just yet.

So grateful.


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