The author, after what seemed like relatively minor symptoms, found himself facing open-heart surgery in the form of a double bypass operation. Researching the Internet, he found lots of scary stuff that led to terrible fear. The books he found didn’t give a good idea of what it was going to be like from the patient’s point of view, and so he resolved to keep a day by day diary of the whole process, from diagnosis to recovery, detailed here in “The Road Map”.
Barnes & Noble.com
In the operating theatre, as I felt the first effects of the anaesthetic, it seemed to me that I entered a dark room, and a door closed behind me.
Later I recovered consciousness in the ICU. But that was not the time that the second door opened. For that, I had to wait a few days until I left the hospital, and was driven home.
Recent rain had taken the city's dust and smoke from the air. Even though clouds hid the sun, the colours of the city stood out more brightly than I had ever seen them, reminding me of the cartoon tints in a child's colouring book.
Not only were the colours deep and vibrant, but every object seemed to have been outlined, as if created with an etch-a-sketch.
We passed across the Puente Atirantado, a suspension bridge, and the patterns of the cables seemed to say, 'here you are, safe in our hammock.' Then, in Del Valle, we passed a tamarind tree, in full bloom, a profusion of green foliage and bright red flowers.
As we grew nearer to the tree, it seemed to be shimmer-ing with movement, and I saw that hundreds of bright yellow butterflies were flirting in its branches, creating an effect more beautiful than any man-made pyrotechnics or Christ-mas lights.
I wondered why, on this day of all days, those butterflies had decided to adopt this particular tree as their home. Or could it be that this sight had been available to me many times before, but that my eyes and my mind had been blind to their passing beauty?
My enjoyment of the passing moments could not be spoilt even by the inevitable traffic jam as we joined a queue of cars waiting to take Constitution.
A transito (traffic policeman) stood at the junction, smil-ing at the motorists as he helped smooth out the situation.
I thought to myself of the many times I had cursed those who, late for some appointment, had jumped the queue. How much damage had I done to myself with each curse? Had my curses been good for anything, except to spoil the day for both myself and others?
I arrived home, climbed out of the car, and walked into my garden, and the wind whispered into my ear, "This is the very first day of your new life. Nothing is as it was before. Don't rush headlong down life's path. Enjoy every moment. Each moment is precious, and has something to say."