Monday, February 07, 2011

The Barbara Walters special, "A Matter of Life and Death"

Cliff and I watched this Barbara Walters special with interest:  After all, it was about famous people who have had open heart surgery.  We wanted to hear what they had to say about this procedure that Cliff went through almost five years ago.  
If you missed the show, you can go HERE to see some snippets of the interviews with Bill Clinton, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Regis Philbin, and Charlie Rose.  Here are some quotes:  
"I realized there was really no alternative, if I wanted to live, I had to do this." 
-- President Bill Clinton

"I would find myself busting into tears and sobbing uncontrollably." 
-- David Letterman

"... stop the heart, work on it, restart it ... good luck." 
-- Robin Williams

"They're going to put him on a gurney, roll him into the OR room and bust him open like a lobster." 
-- Regis Philbin  

"It was hell." 

-- Charlie Rose

There was one thing Cliff and I couldn't understand:  Both Barbara Walters and David Letterman said they didn't have pain after the surgery.  Maybe they were on morphine longer, because trust me, Cliff had lots of pain for quite a while.  So did everyone I've met who has had this type surgery.  I know one man personally who says if he is ever told he needs open heart surgery again, he'll choose death.  I asked Cliff which choice he would make if he needed it again: he thought hard, but didn't answer.  I can tell you that if I were still kicking and he had to make that choice, he'd choose life, because he's always felt his job in life is to take care of me; concern for me would make him go through the pain.  I am as certain of this as I can be.  I know him well.  
All these famous folks talked about the unbelievable weakness after surgery, and we could relate to that.  Cliff was doing well to walk across a room when he first came home from the hospital.  
I found it interesting that Bill Clinton has become a vegetarian.  As a result, he's gotten so thin that people often think he's sick.  He joked about the fact that since he now has a cow valve in his heart, maybe that's why he can't eat meat.   
Barbara Walters always does great interviews.  This was a topic close to our hearts, in more ways than one.  I loved this special.


Anonymous said...

My dad was one of those guys who never "gave in" to pain...but he was in a lot of pain after his open heart. It was the first time in my life he had ever admitted to any pain at all. ~Mary

Lindie said...

I enjoyed it also. I do know how Joy Philbin felt, that Regis looked so frail after he got out of surgery. My husband was 53 and he scared me, he looked so fragile in ICU. I only took pain pills the first night I was home. I stopped after that because I didn't want to overuse them. But I know it hurt to cough or sneeze for a very long time.

Margaret said...

It's about as major as surgery as you can get, so it's no wonder that it's painful and debilitating. And yet look at where all those people are now(including Cliff) and how well they're doing!! The miracles of modern surgery are wonderful. :)