On April 8, I had open heart surgery to replace a heart that had a leaky valve and was regurgitating too much blood. I didn’t have any symptoms of heart failure, but the tests were clear. I needed a new heart valve. Given the nature and location of the ailment , there was no minimally invasive way to fix the problem. The doctor had to saw open my chest to get direct access to my heart.

And so it was done. To my surprise, the broken breast cage was not painful. I spent a week heavily medicated and monitored, and the worst effect was my inactivity, which left me unable to rise from a chair and walking as though my legs weighed a ton each. When I leave the intensive care unit, I will spend at least a week doing physical therapy.

I’m immensely impressed by the sophisticated nature of medical technology. I’m even more impressed by the dedication of the young people who staff our hospitals and their spirit of service.