Monthly Letters to Pulmonary Patients by Thomas L. Petty

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)


National Lung Health Education Program
A collaborative project with



HealthOne Center
1850 High Street
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303 839 6755
Fax: 303 832 8137

To Walk in the Light of Day

August 1998
PEP Pioneers
Second Wind
Torrance, California

     Dear Friends:

Serious illness always seems to be worse during the darkness of night.  This is true not only for the patient and the family, but also for the medical staff.  By contrast, at sunrise when  the light of day returns, everything seems to get better.

Such was the case with me recently, when following my second open heart surgery, I had severe problems with blood pressure, and things looked very dim as night fell and complications emerged.  But a miracle happened, and I was able to rally, and even get up the next day and sit by the window.  What a delight it was to see the first light of day, on the day following my surgery.

Today, just eighteen days following repair of a very damaged mitral valve, I took a walk at sunrise and was able to complete a two mile course in just over forty minutes, which is very close to three miles an hour.  What a thrill it was to feel the cool air, to hear the birds chirping, and to enjoy the early morning light.

As I walked by the hospital, where my life nearly ended less than three weeks ago, I marveled at the miracles of modern medicine that gave me this day.  But these miracles, although marvelous and lifesaving, do not equal the spiritual forces which allowed me to once again live and walk in the light of day.

I will be in touch next month.

     Your friend,

    Thomas Petty, MD

Last update:
16 March 2002