Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Didn't See That Coming

On Sunday night my parents picked me up from the airport around 10:30pm. My dad drove about 2 miles and then pulled over and asked my mom to drive because he wasn't feeling well. I asked him what was wrong and he said he just thought he was tired because he did a lot over the weekend even though he hasn't really regained his strength since his illness a few weeks ago. About 10 minutes into our drive my dad stated he had a "tightness" in his chest and when I suggested we go to a hospital he agreed. (By the way, if you're ever compiling a list of people to drive you to the hospital in the event of an emergency, you might not want to include my mom's name on that list. Like not even in the top 100.)

There is a really great heart hospital in Oklahoma City so we went there. They have an ER specifically for heart patients and within 5 minutes or our arrival he was in a bed hooked up to an EKG and had been given nitroglycerin and baby aspirin; within 10 minutes blood had been drawn and x-rays taken. My brothers and aunt arrived and within about half an hour my dad was feeling much better. His blood work and x-rays were fine and he was beginning to feel foolish for even going but the doctor still recommended he stay overnight. My mom stayed and the rest of us went home fully expecting my dad would be released the next day after seeing a cardiologist and making a follow-up appointment.

I arrived at the hospital yesterday morning while the cardiologist was talking with my dad. He took his history and said he was 80% sure whatever Dad had experienced was not heart related but that given his history and risk factors, he could do an angiogram and that way he would know 100%. As recently as Thursday, my dad's GP suggested he make an appointment with a cardiologist (for an unrelated issue) but that probably wouldn't happen for several weeks due to my dad's schedule and the time it can take to get a non-emergent appointment with a cardiologist. I was personally very glad when Dad opted to have the test performed because he just hasn't been feeling well lately and I wanted him to have some peace of mind.

They scheduled the test for 10:00 and my mom went home to shower while I went to drop off our car for approximately $1 million worth of maintenance and repairs. When I arrived back at the hospital at 9:30 they were wheeling my dad down the hall for his procedure and by 10:01 our "beeper" went off alerting us to proceed to a conference room to talk with the doctor about the results. This place operates with extreme efficiency and yet still manages to convey extreme competence and compassion; it's all very impressive. The news the doctor gave us was not so good: Two of Dad's 3 major arteries showed significant blockage. There were a couple of options--each with their own risks--but the bottom line (you've been waiting for that, haven't you?) is he will have a double-bypass surgery tomorrow afternoon. And he didn't even know he had a serious problem. It's just crazy. We're nervous about the surgery, of course, but so relieved this was discovered before he had a heart attack.

I am unbelievably thankful I am home. I really cannot adequately express how much it means to me. It's important to me that my mom not get exhausted and/or overwhelmed during Dad's hospital stay because she will be his primary caretaker once he is discharged. I can ensure this far more easily when I'm here than if I were in the Mystery Country. Who knows, I might even make a color-coded hospital assignments chart. There's a better than even chance one of my brothers will soon remind me that I'm not the boss of them. Whatever...we all know that's not true.

On a more serious note, though, I know my entire family would great appreciate your prayers during this time. I'll let you know something as soon as I can.

9 comments:

Soapchick said...

Rachel - I'll keep you, your dad and in my prayers. I'm so glad you are there in person with them.

N said...

Oh my goodness. I'm SO glad you're there, and beyond thankful that you guys went to the hospital and started this series of tests that found it BEFORE he had a heart attack.

Keeping you guys in my thoughts.

Jericho said...

Yikes--but I am so glad that you were there for this. Thinking of you guys!

Peaches said...

I'm so glad you dad let you & your mom take him to the hospital. That trip probably saved his life. I can only imagine your relief at being home and able to help out. I'm praying for your dad to have a successful operation and speedy recovery.

AKD said...

What a gift from God that you were there for all of them. I'll keep you in my prayers, and also lift up your dad. What wonderful hands he is in - that's so reassuring.

The Gutsy Mom said...

I am glad you are there. I am praying.

areyoukiddingme said...

Saying a prayer for your dad, and all of your family.

This is a fairly routine procedure, albeit a very serious one. Expect some unusual emotional responses from your dad after the surgery. Make sure he follows the directions after surgery, and keep an eye on him. It will take a while before he regains his strength. Much luck.

Here from LFCA...

cowgirltn said...

Praying for your family.

Marie W said...

Here from LFCA - keeping your dad and family in prayer.