Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Surgery Story (may be long & rambling- my brain is not totally functional right now)

So Daddy's heart surgery was on Friday. The planned procedures were: replacing 2 heart valves, doing one bypass, and scarring on a chamber to alleviate his A-fib.

My sisters arrived on Thursday. All four of them. This was a surprise to us, because we were told only one would be able to come after it had been re-scheduled. Only 2 of my BILs were brave enough to come along for this adventure. To be fair, Sandra's husband Eddie was in the hospital with congestive respiratory failure himself, but he insisted she come be with Dad.

We met at the hospital at 5 a.m. Friday. They took Dad back almost immediately, and we were allowed to come back for hugs/kisses/prayers before they took him off to surgery. The nurse took one look at us and asked "Is this ALL of them?" The look on her face when we said no was priceless.

Waiting is the worst. Around 7-8, we went to the cafeteria for breakfast. I'm a nervous eater and apparently so are my sisters. That place made a lot of money on us that morning! I took coffee & a danish back to Mom and we all sat around playing the waiting game. Sandra called the hospital back home to get an update on Eddie and scared us all to death when she burst into tears. It turned out to be a good cry though- they told her that he was off the breathing tubes and doing just fine. In fact he was fussing about wanting something to eat.

Sometime around 11-12, the surgeon came out to talk to us. He said Daddy had made it through the surgery like a champ! They wound up being able to replace the leaky heart valves instead of having to replace them, so the operation was less invasive/involved than they expected. (YAY) He also said that Daddy should be good for at least 10 more years now. (oh boy) It was going to be at least 2 hours before we could go back and see him, so we opted to go get lunch.

On the way to the parking garage, everything just hit me at once. I started bawling, much to the horror of my brothers. JR is normally a smart ass, but he was the first one to hug me and THEN he started picking on me to get me to stop crying. Roy started crying when I did, much to Audrey's disgust. Anyway, we all dried up after a minute or two and headed out.

We went to a Mexican restaurant near their hotel for lunch. They'd stopped in for Margaritas the night before and the host remembered them. (not entirely a surprise, given our family) Apparently he was so taken with the pack of us that he started pulling the staff out of the kitchen to gawk at us. The food was really good, though.

Saturday is kind of a blur. Daddy was still heavily drugged, so we took turns going in to sit with him. He did blink at us and squeeze our hands, so we knew it was really him in there. The ICU would only let us in 2 at a time for 10 minutes per pair. At the end of afternoon visiting hours, Sandra & I went shopping while the others went back to the hotel to pack up and move to a new one. Because the PGA championship was in town, hotel rooms were hard to come by and the 6 of them wound up having to share one room for Saturday night. I won't go into details about the dance off that took place before I left them for the night other than to say that Sandra & Audrey are wild women and should know better than to twerk.

Audrey, Roy, & Sandra had to leave Sunday morning. Daddy was still pretty out of it, but was fussing about his breathing tubes. The rest of us spent the day in and out.

Brenda, Angie, & JR left early Monday morning. Shortly after that, Dad managed to pull out his breathing tubes. Mom & I flew down to the hospital and were told that he'd thrown up while they were examining him to see how much damage he'd done to himself and aspirated some of it into his lungs. They were afraid they'd have to cut him open again to clean out his lungs, but were eventually able to flush everything out. He kept fighting the oxygen and other masks they tried to put on him in place of the breathing tubes, so they had to drug him senseless again and put him in restraints. And put the breathing tube back in. Needless to say, I didn't make it to work yesterday.

Today, after a night under sedation and lots of oxygen forced into him, Dad is MUCH improved. The doctors are optimistic that he'll be off the vents by Thursday, and if so, he can be moved into regular recovery. He waved at me when I stopped in to visit before work, and winked at me when I told him that I'd bought his lottery tickets for the weekend.

Then I made the mistake of coming to work. Psycho is giving me the silent treatment because I had the nerve to put my Dad before this hell hole, and if she rolls her eyes one more time when one of my friends drops in to hug me and ask about Dad, I am going to roll her head across the floor.

Yeah, life is getting back to normal.

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