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An Escape Before Open Heart Surgery

Jul 11

Posted by: ACHA
7/11/2012 11:29 AM  RssIcon

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

I know you won't be reading this blog post until July 11th, but I am writing this right now at the end of June. It is currently a Friday and today is my first full day of a ten-day vacation. I felt I needed this time away. You see, at the end of July, I will be having my third open heart surgery.

I've known the date now for several weeks and at first I was fine with it—but as the days have come and gone I have been finding myself more anxious. I have been anticipating this surgery for several years and now that it’s finally here I can't wait to hurry up and get it over with. Of course that means that every day seems to last forever.

So I chose to come to a place where time seems to have no meaning. I am currently sitting in the Adirondacks, on the edge of the dock with the dogs wet and sleeping beside me. I'm looking out across the lake, topped with whitecaps, the evening sun still hot despite the stiff breeze blowing in my face. The tension of the last couple of weeks gone from my shoulders and the upcoming surgery—even now—seems like a million miles away. I am tired from a day of swimming and playing with the dogs and yet somehow I feel invigorated. This is the reason I came to this place. To escape for a time.

I think we all have points in our lives when we need to escape. When sometimes it’s prudent to withdraw from life and recuperate. I think it helps us to gather ourselves, to step back and gain some perspective and see the bigger picture. Recharge our batteries, so to speak. I know that when this time here is finished I will be able to go back and face this upcoming surgery with calm and grace, instead of the frantic and nervous energy I arrived here with.

Jon Ritchings, Jr., is a 40-year-old father who was born with pulmonary atresia and hypoplastic right heart syndrome. Although he has made a career in retail, he prefers to be outdoors kayaking and taking photos. Jon likes to draw inspiration from quotes and one of his current favorites is from Lao Tzu: “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

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5 comment(s) so far...


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Re: An Escape Before Open Heart Surgery

You're right, and wise to take an important break.
Am thinking of you. Trust you will recover well and feel better than ever.
Best,
Connie

By Connie on   7/12/2012 7:43 AM
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Re: An Escape Before Open Heart Surgery

Good luck with your operation Jon.

By kathy on   7/12/2012 7:43 AM
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Re: An Escape Before Open Heart Surgery

This is exactly how I feel.I'm scheduled for open heart surgery(pulmonary valve replacement) in September.I'm planning a week vacation on the north shore in August.Looking out at lake Superior.and skipping rocks will be my escape.I hope you vacation was a pleasant one.The best of luck to you during your surgery.

By Sarah Snell on   7/12/2012 12:37 PM
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Re: An Escape Before Open Heart Surgery

Jon, Thank you for allowing us to escape with you for a brief moment at least. I will be thinking of you during this time. The past week or so has been a time for reflecting for me and many at ACHA as well, I think. I am thinking of so many of us and how life is so precious. May God give you strength and a calm heart. :-)

By Stephie on   7/16/2012 2:37 PM
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Re: An Escape Before Open Heart Surgery

Good luck, Jon! I will be thinking of you. I also had my third open heart, this past November. I think the escape vacation is an awesome idea. Be strong:)

By Chris on   7/18/2012 7:05 AM

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