I have a Zipper


I had finished teaching for the evening. As I walked to my car a group of fiddle students were walking in for their lessons.  I heard a voice say, “I hear you have a zipper too!”.  

She smiled as I walked toward her, and she told me she got her zipper five weeks ago. I got mine zipper 14 months ago.  She had a heart valve replaced; I had a triple by-pass plus a new heart valve. 

She was doing well. She was walking slowly and gingerly. I remembered doing that also. She was going on an outing, a chance to listen to fiddle class and get out of the house.  I remember going on my outings and how important they were to me and my continued recovery. 

I have met a few zipper people over the past few months. We have immediate questions for each other: Did you choose a biologic or mechanical valve?  Did you have a little piece of string sticking out of you? These are unique questions only we understand. 

We share certain physical attributes like a 7+ inch long (and thick) scar going down the center of our chest (the zipper). I make people laugh when I tell them that my wife, Tracie, suggested I get a banjo tattoo with the zipper being the banjo neck and my stomach being the banjo pot. 

But I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I was kept alive on a heart-lung machine for around 70 minutes while they replaced everything. I am here, so I know it worked.  

In the past three years I had my hip replaced (twice) and my heart rebuilt.  I am performing and teaching again.  A few months ago, I resumed making regular blood donations. 

I consider myself officially refurbished.