My heart valve replacement
By Ted Belman
I am happy to say that I am now out of the hospital after having my aortic heart valve replaced.
Fifteen years ago, in Canada, my doctor preformed a triple bypass for me which required open heart surgery. For the uninitiated, this means that the doctors had to saw through my sternum (breast bone) to separate both sides of my rib cage. Once done they separated both sides about four inches by the use of a very strong separater. This enables the doctors to do their thing inside by rib cage. This creates havoc on ones rib cage that takes months to recover from. When I woke up in the recovery room after this operation, I felt like I had been run over by a truck.
So the news that I needed a valve replaced was received with considerable trepidation. It needn’t have been. A new technique was developed about a year ago which is now in use in 50 countries which enabled the replacement to be done without open heart surgery. Although Israel didn’t develop the technique, I am told, she greatly improved on the engineering.
First, a valve must be selected from a number of alternatives. I choose to go with a pig’s valve. The procedure itself involves the insertion of a sleeve into the artery in one’s groin. This sleeve is inserted all the way along the artery and into the heart chamber itself, entering through the defective valve. Then the pig’s valve is inserted into the sleeve and pushed to the edge of the heart chamber where the defective valve is located. It is positioned in the centre of it. Next the sleeve is withdrawn allowing the mechanical device inserted with the valve, to expand thereby pressing the valve against the walls of the chamber to lock it in place. At the same time the new valve “crushes” the defective one.
Unbelievable really. In less than six days I was released.
I might mention that Arabs who were treated in the hospital are treated as any Jewish patient might be. Also many of the nurses on staff were Arabs and they showed me the same respect as they showed to the Arabs they were assisting.
Many young Jewish girls were doing national service at the hospital and I was quick to praise them for their service. Finally there were a number of young Jewish volunteers happy just to help.
As it turned out, one of the men who shared my room, I had met a a conference over a year ago. I enjoyed his company very much. He made aliya from Russia about 25 years ago and speaks English and Hebrew fluently. He works for a humanitarian organization. He talked about the Russian mentality. They don’t care about democracy and its strictures. They see the Arabs as enemies to be dealt with rather than citizens who have rights. If the Arabs are loyal citizens, no problems. If they are loyal and not subversive they are entitled to the same rights.