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Open Heart Surgery and Darwin
Witnessing Tools
Thursday, August 06, 2015
J.L. Robb

When I was in a university studying Zoology in 1972-73, I bought into the evolution story. Even back then, evolution was pretty much taught as fact, not theory.

Once you studied a few chapters and took a look at Haeckel’s fraudulent embryonic chart- we thought it was true at the time or why would it be in our textbooks?- most all in the scientific and pseudo-scientific communities bought into the theory too. They still do.

Haeckel (1834-1919) was a man of many degrees: physician, biologist, zoologist and artist. He believed and tried to illustrate through drawings that during embryonic growth, animals actually “grew” through their ancient evolutionary forms. As an example, his embryonic drawings of the human indicated that we actually had “gill slits” while in the womb, thus proving we were once fishes. Turns out they were not gill slits at all but instead were pharyngeal arches which developed about the 4th week of pregnancy and are visible only briefly. They grow to be parts of the head and neck.

Haeckel was so intrigued with Darwin’s new theory of evolution as described in Darwin’s book, Origin of Species, Haeckel did a little touching up (think photoshop) of his drawings to make them better fit the evolutionary mold.

There is much evidence for evolution which makes it difficult to deny scientifically, especially if one considers the length of a day during the creation process as described in Genesis. For example, a chimpanzee is said to have 95% of the genetic makeup of man. However, a fruit fly has 95% of the genetic makeup of a chimpanzee.

Let me digress.

As many of you reading this article know, June 9, 2015, I underwent quadruple bypass surgery at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Atlanta. Though I acted cool and calm, I was a nervous wreck. I had gone through surgery before but nothing of this magnitude. At one time the medical field thought quadruple bypass surgery would be an impossibility. Now it is routine and done in many hospitals every day with nearly a 100% success record.

As I lay in intensive care for five days and nights, I thought about a lot of stuff. I asked God a lot of questions, some I had asked before and some I had not. The questions weren’t complex, things like: Where do you live? Do you travel the entire universe? How fast can you go? How big are you? Did you mean we were made in your physical image or your mental image?

The Surgical ICU (SICU) is not a place to relax. There were 15 small rooms surrounding the nurse’s station. Each room had a monitor that beeped, burped and made all sorts of sounds based on different states of those being monitored. Listening to the monitors’ sounds at night was almost like a symphony, as though a nurse was standing in the middle like a maestro directing an orchestra, each room emitting different sounds: two high beeps for blood pressure anomalies, a single low chirp for insulin aberrations, a triple-thump for pulse irregularities.

All night and day, nurses and technicians streamed in and out, pricking fingers, making me do breathing exercises and asking me if I needed to have a “bowel movement?” And yes I did, but I wasn’t about to do it around all these people! Almost any surgery seems to make bowels especially sensitive and as they suggest you go to the bathroom but “don’t strain,” you have to ask yourself: How do you do that and not strain? However, with all the drugs, constipation was a problem, especially with pain meds.

I suppose, now in retrospect sort of, the surgery was the most eye-opening event of my life so far. I had never been through anything so major.

Day 1 Pre-Surgery (June 9, 2015)

It was early, about 7:00 AM. My friend Clarence Weathers took me yet again to the hospital; but this time it wasn’t for more tests.

After meeting the anesthesiologist, we were ready. The nurse covered me with a warm blanket; and we began our trek to surgery, rolling silently down the hall.

“Mr. Robb, I will be giving you a relaxant in a few minutes,” the nurse said with a smile.

I knew that meant it would be “lights out” until it was all over, and I responded.

“Great! I’ll see you in six or seven hours.”

I found myself talking with God on the way to surgery. I had prayed “the prayer” many times in my life, the prayer about dying. The one where we tell God we aren’t afraid to die but could we just go to sleep and not wake up? No pain and suffering.

Anesthesia would surely be a great way. Rolling down the hall one minute, deep sleep the next- you would never even know. Only, I wasn’t ready to go. As much as I believe in God, heaven, God’s Kingdom and the heavenly host, I just wasn’t quite ready to make the leap. One Omega Letter subscriber sent me a quote from Woody Allen that pretty much summed it up: “I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”

I woke up maybe 7 or 8 hours later, though I have no memory of such. My daughter, Erica, was there briefly but said later she just could not take all the tubes and IVs. And the beeps of the monitors.

Day 1 Post-Surgery (June 10, 2015)

Another day I do not remember except for being hot. Erica and Clarence (her apartment mate) came back to visit and said I talked very coherently; but I remember nothing. Still affected by anesthesia and morphine and a huge cocktail of other meds.

Day 3 Post-Surgery (June 11, 2015)

Day 3, I was coherent. After breakfast, the nurses had me out of the bed and into a recliner chair. We also took a brief walk around ICU, one lap as other patients who had already been there-done that gave me a thumbs up. Contrary to all the news stories decrying the quality of care provided by the Veterans Administration Hospitals, this was not my case. The staff was great but always busy.

Day 3 was the only day I thought I might not make it and found myself asking God, “Is this it?” I felt awful, hot and uncomfortable in places I didn’t even know I had places. I was concerned but the nurses were encouraging. They assured me in a few weeks or months I would be as good as new.

I was awake most of the night talking with God about all sorts of stuff and thinking about all my many friends and what a great gift they were. What a blessing. That is the night I spent a lot of time thinking about the flawed theory of evolution, especially concerning the giant leap between chimps and man.

How many chimps or bonobos have discovered a vaccine, made a pill or inserted an IV? How many apes had ever set up a tent, much less build a hospital? How many primates can do CPR or the Heimlich maneuver? How man chimps had built a monitoring machine that beeps and thumps? When was the last time an ape did open-heart surgery?

The difference between chimps and mankind is a lot greater than 5% DNA. Man is the only creature who believes in the possibility of an afterlife and a God who created everything. The rest of the animal kingdom doesn’t worry about heart disease, cancer or having a policeman show up one night to let you know your teen has died in an accident. The rest of the animal kingdom basically eats, sleeps and then repeats the process. They are not building highways, bridges or space stations.

It seems, should evolution be valid, that surely some primate other than man could have a conversation in several languages, set up a tent or build an ICU. Talk about missing links.

Day 32 Post-Surgery (Saturday, July 11, 2015)

Could not sleep last night, probably all the meds so I watched Gunsmoke and Rifleman reruns, again. I looked at the clock at 3:46 AM and finally dozed off, waking again at 6:45, just in time for my morning walk. The day started off not much differently than the preceding days, at least it seems now; only it was much different. Today I would walk a half-mile with Erica. Tomorrow my good friend from the Navy, Edgar Allan Poe, was coming over with a few other friends and bringing lunch.

I still spend a lot of time in Big Red, my recliner chair and wonder if I will ever be able to sleep in a bed again. It is very painful to get in and out of a bed.

Like preceding days when I wake up for the morning, I sit at the edge of the chair and wait to see if I’m dizzy. Do not want to fall.

Today is Day 57. I am now driving and am working about 50% of the time. I am off the pain meds and not getting so tired. I am walking about a half-mile every day, friends are visiting and grilled out last night, a good, heart-healthy ribeye.

I could almost feel all the prayers that were being said for me, by friends and strangers. It has made my recovery that much faster. Thank you.

A week ago I started sleeping in my bed again!

About J.L. Robb

Last week: We've Lost Some Angels this Year



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