#5257 – 2010 so far

if you’ve been following along on my twitter or my facebook accounts, then you know what’s what. if you haven’t, then here’s where i fill you in:

dad’s been in hospital since last thursday (new year’s eve).

when dad goes to work, he usually drives to the metro station, takes the metro into dc, and then walks from the station to his office. he said last tuesday that during this brisk walk that day he felt some chest pains both on his way to the office from the metro, and again on the way back to the metro at the end of the day.

wednesday he went to see the doctor, and our doctor recommended that the next day he call the cardiologist first thing in the morning to find out when he could be seen that day.

thursday he went to the cardiologist, and i don’t know the specifics but mom called me at work about 10 minutes before i left (from dad’s phone) to say that the cardiologist told dad to check himself into hospital to get checked out more thoroughly, and that he’d have to spend new year’s eve in hospital for observation in intensive care.

on friday mom visited dad in the ICU and sent me a text that day to say “ekg normal and blood enzymes show no damage to heart. awaiting further info as to discharge or any test.” later that day they decided to keep him in hospital until monday, then they’d transfer him via ambulance from anne arundel medical center to the washington hospital center since they have a really good heart division there, and this way he could get the catheterization done the fastest, because if they discharge him from hospital then days can pass before they might be able to do it, so this way it’s better to get it done as quickly as possible.

on saturday he was moved from the ICU to a regular hospital room. anne and i went to visit him, and we brought a cake that anne had made for dad a day or two before – she had iced a tyrannosaurus rex on the frosting. meanwhile, mom had already been with dad at the hospital about an hour or so before us. before mom had gone to the hospital that day, she stopped at target and picked up a battery-operated “wheel of fortune” game, except it needed a screwdriver to get access to the battery compartment, and after we arrived she was talking all about this robot dinosaur she saw at target that was pretty cool and on sale ($100, 30% off), she stood up suddenly and said “uh, i forgot something!” and disappeared for an hour or two and returned with the robot dinosaur as a present for dad for when he gets back home from hospital. it was probably a good thing we couldn’t get the “wheel of fortune” game working since when we set it up at home it was pretty noisy, hahaha, and dad kept telling anybody who tried to find a screwdriver that “it was no big deal, really!” that he couldn’t play the game. dad seemed in a good enough mood considering what he’d been through, and they had him wired up to a portable heart monitor. it was weird since his hospital tech was one of my friends from elementary school, hah. we took the dinosaur home since it was big and going to be loud and also involved wireless frequencies to remote-control it to do different things.

when anne and i were leaving, a lady in the elevator saw us carrying the cake and the toy dinosaur…

lady: “a cake! is it someone’s birthday?”

me: “no, she made the cake just because.”

lady: “oh, that’s nice… and a toy dinosaur, too!”

me: “yeah… these are for my dad…”

lady: ?!?!?

sunday dad was still in hospital. mom, anne and i went to visit again for a few hours. apparently his blood pressure was doing well, he got lots of work done on his book (mom had brought him his laptop the day before, and maybe even the day before that too),

i had taken off of work today for a car appointment i had made before christmas to get my clutch checked out (nothing’s wrong, either it was breaking-in the clutch or some cosmoline got on something hot and burned up and made the funky smell i had noticed when i made the appointment, but hadn’t noticed again in the last 2 weeks) and came back home. mom had taken the day off so she could get dad if the hospital checked him out and said that he was ok. well, apparently he wasn’t ok since his procedure this morning involved CPR and those electric paddles! o_o

what happened was one of the arteries or veins or whatever to his heart had such a blockage that it was about 95% blocked (imaging a vein or artery or whatever that’s supposed to look like this: |   |, except it looks more like this: }{ ), and there was a sharp curve they had to take to get to that spot to look at it. well, i guess when they went around that curve, it decreased blood flow enough so that they had to start performing CPR (and apparently he was awake during this whole time since they don’t usually put people all the way under for procedures like this), and in between compressions the doctor made the decision to install a stent to open up that blockage. they had to use the electric paddles when his heartbeat was irregular, but doing so cleared it right up. mom says thank goodness he was at the washington hospital center for this procedure since they’re ranked #20 in the nation for heart surgery, and the only one ranked that’s in the dc area, so if they had tried to do something like this at anne arundel medical center, well, let’s not think about what might have happened.

mom found out about all that when she was on her way to the hospital to see about picking dad up, and she called me at home to let me know that she was going to be at the hospital with him for who knows how long and so i’d have to go pick anne up from the house of the family friends she goes to after school to wait for us to pick her up. mom called me again while i was on my way to get anne and when she heard i was in the car she said “oh, you’re driving right now? i’ll call you back later…” which only made me more anxious — why would you not want to talk to someone about something important when they’re driving unless it was going to make them emotional and a danger on the road?? she sent me a text message a few minutes later to say “just saw dr. things look good. might come home tomorrow or next day. dad is resting comfortably.” yes, i know i shouldn’t be checking text messages while driving. so i called her back and she said pretty much the same stuff that was in that text message, and that apparently dad’s biggest concern was that he wasn’t going to be allowed to drink grapefruit juice anymore.

now if you know my dad and grapefruit juice, you know he LOVES grapefruit juice. and it’s gotta be white grapefruit juice, none of that sweet pink grapefruit juice, yuk. when the doctor said he couldn’t have it any more but that orange juice was still ok, mom told the doctor how some people are addicted to coffee, but dad is the same way with his grapefruit juice. apparently there’s three different types of cholesterol medication and they all go through your kidneys or something, and the grapefruit juice is processed the same way by your body, so if you have grapefruit juice when on these medicines then it sends too much of the medication through your body and can damage your kidneys. so looks like no more grapefruit juice for dad.

i picked up anne and she still thought that dad was coming home today and didn’t know anything about the test or putting the stent or the CPR or the electric paddles, so she freaked out for a second until i reassured her and then was ok.

so post surgery dad’s on his hospital bed but he’s not allowed to really move around or sit on an incline or things like that from what i hear, but just lay flat or mostly flat. apparently he can’t use the bathroom in this position because of an issue with his prostate and he can’t get into a position to use the bathroom, but eventually he said that they could put a catheter in so he could relieve himself. they say that he’ll be able to come home either tomorrow (tuesday) or wednesday, but we think it’ll be more likely wednesday than tuesday just because it’s been such an ordeal for him.

since he’s not allowed to exert himself for some time once he returns, and since this winter is supposed to be really bad (supposed to be? we got about 17″ of snow just a few weeks ago!), we ended up ordering a snow thrower since if we get socked with another big snowstorm it’s going to be just me clearing the driveway (about 8′ x 100′, and not including the rest of the backyard where our cars are)… mom said to me “pick out one you like since you’ll be the one operating it”, hahaha. funny thing, that snow thrower has increased in price $20 since we ordered it.

so that’s been what 2010’s been like for us so far. lots of stress. dad just wants to come home since he’s been in hospitals since 2009. hopefully he’ll come home tomorrow, but if not then i can’t think of a better place for him to be right now where the medical staff can keep an eye on him for another day and make sure things are ok post-operation.