A few months ago, I had a stress test for my heart. When my doctor found I had never had a stress test, she scheduled me right in to have one. We met with the cardiologist last Tuesday, 8/9, and she told me there is a serious blockage. When "resting", my heart gets good supply of blood all around, but when there is a lot of physical exertion, there is a shortage in one area of my heart.

She is scheduling me in for another stent placement before September. Back in 99, I had two stents inserted, and the doctor told me then there was still a 75% blockage in an area, but he did not feel it was necessary to stent it, so he let it go. This may be that area or even a stent plugging up again, as it did 6 months after the first ordeal.

The cardiologist assured me that when they find the blockage, they will stent it, so it will not close up again.

I do not mind so much the surgery (it is done on an outpatient basis now) near as much as where I must go to have it done–downtown DC. The traffic is terrible, to say it mildly.

It is all through the VA, so the expenses should be minimal, though it is at least 90 minutes away. I have been pleased with the VA health care thus far. The VA in DC is associated with the Georgetown University Hospital.

She assured me the procedure would be done before the end of August, but there is no schedule yet.

Job 7:1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? 14:5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Ecclesiastes 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

Our time is in the Lord's hands, and try as we might, we will not change his appointed time. We must use what time we have for his glory NOW!

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

I will keep you posted on the web site. Check it as you think of us.

Pray for us.


Bro Need


Dear Friends:

Thank you for your prayers.

As I mentioned previously, I had stents place in my heart in 1999. I had a "hart attack" when Carol was diagnosed with cancer, but the angiogram showed no change. Then in 2000, I had to go back to have the stents opened that had closed due to scar tissue. (A "roto-rooter" process. The end of the "cutter" spins at 45,000 rpm in the area being opened. This procedure requires an open-heart specialist standing by in case something is cut that should not be.)

After my stress test a few months ago, the doctor wanted another angiogram to see if another stent was required. She sent me to the VA in DC. They asked us when we wanted the procedure, and we said Monday morning so we could come in Sunday evening when the traffic would be light.

The hospital furnished a place for my wife, Christina and me to stay Sunday night, so we would not have to drive in Monday morning. (They provide quarters if one is over 2 hours away. On Monday morning, it would have required at least 3 hours to get there, because of the traffic. My 64th birthday was August 14, and I got to celebrate it in the VA hospital waiting room.)

After typical paperwork confusion (cardiology tried to tell the proper people we were coming in Sunday night, but there was no record. Getting a room for Sunday night took some doing, but we got it.)

I was the first one in for a heart catheterization Monday morning, after they got the paperwork straightened out. With this procedure, they insert a "sheath" in the groin area through the large artery going to the leg. They then place a thin wire (or whatever they use) and thread it up to the heart, and watch the progress of the instrument through a monitor. The patient must be awake during this time, so he or she can move as required. There is some pain as they numb the incursion area, and a good bit of discomfort as they poke the sheath into the artery.

They inject a die that can be easily traced with the monitor, which shows blockages and whatever "bypasses" around blockages the heart might have produced. Evidently, they also have the ability to capture visual images of where the instrument is in the blood system, for they can see blockages, and what is causing the blockages.

One of the stents I had placed in 1999 had a 50% blockage, but they did not feel the blood flow was restricted enough to place another stent there. They do not do the "roto-rooter" procedure at this VA. Rather, they send the patient out to someplace like John Hopkins in Baltimore, where they specialize in that procedure.

Moreover, the pain (of which I never complained after I got used to it, and after many trips to the hospital emergency room and to the cardiologist) I described to them was not consistent with what is associated with heart problems.

Thus, there was not a stent placement, and they let us come home Monday afternoon.

The worse thing about the whole procedure is that after the removal of the sheath from the groin area, the patient MUST lay still for at least 5 hours while the artery clots sufficiently. (However, with a stent placement, they must thin the blood so much that it takes about 8 hours for the artery to clot.) It took a couple of days for my aching back gained from laying still for so long to get back to its normal aches. The doctor did tell me I could do whatever I feel like doing after about a week, giving the artery time to heal good.

The Lord was good, and we were able to get out of DC before the bad evening rush started. It only took us less than 2 hours to get home, which is excellent considering where the hospital is located in DC. We had to come out through downtown past the Washington Monument and the White House. (Yes, we are much too close to DC, and we hope to be able to sell our house and move one more mountain range away from DC. The price of lots and houses all along I 66 is obscene. One would think we were in LA. We are maybe 15 minutes from I 66.)

My experience with the VA medical system has been good. I have found their medical care as good as any care outside of the VA. However, my experience with their paperwork network has not been good. The VA hires "politically correct", so you can imagine what it was like in DC. The VA system also seems to have an unusually large number of female doctors, among other things.

I am reminded once again about how short our days are, and how quickly they can be ended. It looks like the Lord has given me a few more years to serve him.

Thanks again for your prayers.

By His Sovereign Grace Alone,

Bro Need