Sunday, August 16, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude

Mission Beach, 2 minutes ago

I woke up this morning with a profound sense of gratitude. As I lay here listening the my favorite sound, waves crashing on the beach, I thought of the gift I have today of being with our children and Barbie here in San Diego as we celebrate our 1st anniversary. Today Samuel and Michelle celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary. Barbie and I celebrate one year with my new heart. The music of the waves accompanied in my mind a hymn from church that I know by heart; "Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Count you many blessing, see what God has done."
Memory then transported me to August 16, 2008. My initial recollection of that day one year ago was disjointed. Anesthesia has the unsettling side effect of time compression. Since you don't dream, there is no sense of time passage. Multiple three minute episodes of consciousness over a two hour period are spliced into a 12 minute montage of confusion. Finally, when you are continuously awake and memory becomes contiguous do you fully realize where you are and the magnitude of what has just happened to you. In that moment, I felt it. More than I have ever felt it before; an overwhelming attitude of gratitude. It is not that I was grateful to be alive; I never even entertained the thought that I might not make it through the transplant. Rather, I was grateful for life. My gratitude was not directed at anyone or anything. I was simply thankful.
I became aware that my brother Daren and his wife Rachelle were sitting at the end of my bed. I remember that they were smiling. I asked them to come to my bedside because I wanted to say a prayer with them. I don't remember the exact words of my prayer other that I prayed for Sam and Michelle, I prayed for Barbie and I thanked God for the miracle of life that he had given me.

I am thankful for the loving faith and prayers of so many friends
I am thankful for caring and capable doctors and nurses
I am thankful for drug companies, chemists, PharmD's and pharmacists for providing me with the 'Chemicals for Better Living' that keep my heart inside my chest and invading organisms out.
I am thankful to all of my partners in the department of Urology at Kaiser for caring for my patients while I was gone.
I am thankful to my staff for helping while I was gone and helping me come back.
I am thankful to my patients for being patient.
I am thankful to be doing surgery again.
I am thankful to the wonderful men and women in our church for taking care of our family this year. We could not have done it without them.
I am thankful to all of you for sharing this jouney with us.
I am thankful to God to have trusted me with the strength to learn the things that He needed to teach me. I am not he same man I was a year ago.
Above all, I am thankful for Barbie, my reason for living. She is the love of my life. When I am with her, there is no pain, there is no illness, there is no fear, there is no hurry. With her I am truly happy and I will always love her with my 'Whole new heart'.


Patty Kuntzmann said...

Happy Anniversary!! Wow 1 year already... I remember that day so clearly. We went to meet everyone at the hotel for Sam & Michelle's reception and no one was there yet...When I called Barbie to find out the ETA on everyone's arrival, I was given the fantastic news that a new heart had been found & you had already been thru the surgery! How elated we were! That was a truly amazing day!! I beleive that 2 new lives were created that day; A new life for Sam & Michelle as husband & wife and a new chapter of life for you & Barbie. I will never forget that day or the smile on Barbie's face as we dropped her off at the airport so she could fly home to you. It was pure joy!

We continue to pray for you all & we thank god for all the prayers he has already answered.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey!

All our love to you both -
The Kuntzmann Family

Wendy said...

I thought about you all day on the 16th. I talked about you with friends. It is amazing that I even remembered without a reminder. What an experience you have had! So happy you are here!!!

carolyn said...

I am Tippi's mother.
I have been following your blog since the beginning as Tip is so very fond of you and Debbie.
I first thought i would learn of the things that could happen with her through you.
But, each person is different and I then began following and reading because I was so moved by the things you have had to say.
This past year has been a miracle for all three of you,and I am so greatful to be able to share in all your lives.
So even tho you don't know me, I feel like I know you and like Tip I have grown fond of you too!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! I'm sure you're having a wonderful time. Enjoy! you deserve every minute of it.

We love you, Lloyd & Lydia

Aunt Renie said...

You make fifty look nifty
when you use chemicals for living and love for so much giving!
love, Aunt Renie

leslie anderson said...

Congradulations I too remember this day a year ago...We are so grateful you are here. Happy 50th birthday today. It was great to see you last week. Thanks for keeping the pool open for all of us strays. leslie

Unknown said...

Thank you for an awesome post. May God continue to bless you!!!

Don P.