Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Age of Miracles

My father had a heart attack on Sunday.

There was a time in my life when a heart attack or a diagnosis of cancer was the same as a death sentence.

But, in my lifetime, I have seen so many conditions that conventional wisdom once regarded as terminal reduced to survivable by the march of medical science.

My father is a prime example of that.

He had his heart attack on Sunday. On Tuesday, he had bypass surgery, after which he was taken to intensive care, which is SOP. Tonight, he is in his room — apparently, he's been sleeping all day — and his doctor has said he could be released and sent home as soon as Saturday.

It really wasn't so long ago that even if a person had what was considered a mild heart attack, he or she could expect to spend weeks in the hospital before being allowed to go home.

The thought that my father could be home a week to the day after his heart attack astonishes me. For that matter, it astonished me when I listened to Dad's surgeon talking to him about his upcoming bypass surgery on Monday night. He was so nonchalant about it — as if he was talking about taking out Dad's tonsils.

It is truly a miraculous time in which we live.

When I was a child, I used to watch The Jetsons on Saturday mornings. There was a time when it was probably my very favorite cartoon, the one I absolutely would never miss, and much of the attraction, I suppose, was the glimpse into the future that it supposedly offered.

We haven't achieved most of the things The Jetsons told us were in our future. There are no flying cars yet, and the household appliances I saw on The Jetsons still are far more impressive than anything in the 21st century — so far.

I don't recall if The Jetsons ever mentioned medical advances, but it's hard to imagine their world being more advanced than our own. (In fact, I believe the show was set in the year 2062.)

For that matter, I have heard of miracles in biblical times all my life. If they happened, though, it was way before my time.

But I have borne witness to all the medical miracles of our time.

And I have a lot of gratitude for that right now.

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