Personal Stories: Robert J. Roberts


On January 29th I experienced intense chest pains at our local church youth group meeting.  My wife and father tried in vain to convince me I needed to go to the ER.  However, I convinced them and myself the pain was gas.  This was on a Sunday night, by Thursday morning February 3rd, I needed little persuasion.  My internal medicine specialist quickly referred me to the local cardiologist who in turn handed me off to a wonderful cardiac surgeon.  My cardiologist determined I had suffered an aortic dissection which had to be fixed via emergency operation.  All these life changing and imperative, life saving steps took place in less than 2&1/2 hours. 
My surgery took 8&1/2 hours, but thank God it was a complete success.  It's been just over five months for me now and I still have my good and bad moments.  The whole ordeal, for me, was more a mental than physical battle.  I often wondered if it was like that for all other heart patients.  Anyway, three months after my surgery I was cleared to return to my job at the Post Office as a Rural Carrier Substitute.  This helped me improve even more, just being able to get back into my routine and seeing for myself that I could still do my job. 
I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, which had nothing to do with my aortic dissection.  However, they fixed my leaky valve while they were in there.  You know, the old two for the price of one sale.  I got a St. Jude mechanical aortic valve, the hottest valve on the market now, really cutting edge technology.  My dissected aorta was replaced with a Dacron sleeve.  My Doctors tell me these new gadgets should prolong my life by another 50-60 years.
As I already knew prior to my surgery, only the Good Lord knows the day and time of our departure.  So I put no stock in what man tells me, even a trained medical professional, but if I get to 78 or 88 with no more problems that will be great.  God has taught me so much through this little experience, namely our dependence and reliance should be on Him and not self.  When you learn that you've learned a lot.
I still wake up at 3 AM regularly, I just write now instead of fretting or worrying.  I still have strange scents that I smell, that no one else picks up or simply isn't there.  I just say I've got Spidy-sents now.  Lots of times my taste buds tell me things that cannot be right, like fruit tasting like a spicy Mexican meal, but this problem has almost disappeared.  And sometimes I think I see someone I think I know in the distance, but upon approaching them I realize it's not who I thought.  This hardly counts according to my wife because I had that problem before my operation she reminds me. 
All that to say this, any type of heart surgery affects all the senses.  It is a proven fact.  My doctors told me everything going in, actually coming out because they were too rushed going in to do much other than get my signature on the bottom line.  I thought these "side-effects" didn't apply to me, just everybody else.  Heart surgery will change you whether you think it will or not.  If you're struggling with something, anything, talk to your doctors, they will help you any way they can to get well.  Most importantly talk with The Doctor, He knows all and heals all, perfectly.  His Son Jesus Christ is there to hear you anytime you press the help button and He's never too busy to come immediately.
Well Brian that's my short story.  I'm shopping around my long story to be published now.  That's why I've been slow to get back to you.  If you or any visitor of the site have any questions I'll be at  I simply request not to be forwarded a bunch of junk as I hate that stuff as much as the next guy.  This address is for serious enquires only as they say in the classifieds...    Look forward to hearing what you think.    john 


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