Recently, I was talking to a friend that had not seen himself in the mirror for over 4 months. After he described what he saw, I remembered some of my thoughts upon seeing myself naked in a full length mirror for the first time, post heart transplant. Plus, I want to try to clarify why I like my “dents” that I talked about in a recent post (click here).
I was NEVER EVER an Adonis, and will NEVER claim to be.
My whirlwind trip from normal middle-aged guy to a middle-aged guy with a new heart lasted 28 days. From the day of my heart attack, until I walked back in the house with a new heart was 4 full weeks.
I had not totally come to grips with this whole transplant “thing” when I got home. I knew what I knew, but there were LOTS of holes in my memory.
Not that seeing myself in the mirror helped bring back that memory, but it sure proved to me that I had, indeed, been on an amazing journey.
Fresh scars, are a more vibrant color than old scars that have faded, as they have now.
The first thing I noticed in the mirror was how skinny I was. I saw this before I saw any of the scars. I had lost 35+ pounds in a month, which is NOT the ideal weight-loss plan, I will assure you. I saw myself as a stick. Pictures of Auschwitz during WWII came to mind.
As I scanned my naked body head to toe, the scar on my chest was the most noticeable to me. It was thicker, heavier, darker in color as the result of two surgeries ….. a triple by-pass and a heart transplant in less than 2 weeks.
The next scars I noticed were a matched set of 4+” scars on both my right and left groin that traveled out towards my outer thighs. This was from being on an ECHMO heart/lung machine for 5 or 6 days post transplant.
The next major scar ….. a very long one, ran from my inner left thigh, to my ankle. This was where they had removed / used the saphenous vein for my triple by-pass surgery. Over the long-term, this was more bothersome than the chest or groin surgeries.
Working back up by body and seeing the smaller things there were LOTS and LOTS of smaller scars that had not been there 28 days earlier. Scars on my abdomen, chest, arms, legs, and hands from drain holes, places where they had inserted things, central lines, and even on my wrists where I had been in restraints (apparently I like pulling out tubing, wires, etc)
It was emotional to see all of “THAT” for the first time. It really drove home the gravity of EVERYTHING I had gone through over the past 28 days. It also humbled me, beyond belief, that others cared this much to keep me alive, to heal me, to give the gift of life to me. At that point, I can remember shaking, like I was cold, as tears flowed from my eyes. Tears of happiness, almost of disbelief, tears of ENORMOUS gratitude. This is why I am so proud, so grateful, so thankful for these scars, these dents. They are ME!
Adonis probably wishes he could have a few scars like mine!