It's definitely much easier to talk about now, since the tides have subsided and our world is calm once again, but less than a week after our return from California, I was on a plane once more..this time headed to the valley...and not under the happiest of circumstances. Right before Chad and I had left on our trip, my parents informed me of a check up that my dad had gone on...that didn't have the best of outcomes. Blockage in his heart. Everywhere. They would need to operate. Panic quickly set in. Words can not describe the feelings we all felt that week. Leading up to the day, we felt hope that what was routine surgery for his doctor would REMAIN normal and routine... then fear that something could possibly go wrong....sadness of the mere prospect of losing our dad...then nerves as you waited for the man who held your dad's heart in his hands to appear in the waiting room. It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least. Open heart surgery was scheduled for Friday morning so I was on my way Thursday to spend some time with him and my family. Emotions high, and nerves reaking havoc on everyone, we said a prayer amongst the family, shed nervous tears and sent him on his way at midnight to check-in for the next mornings procedures.
Friday Morning: A little more than four hours after the surgery had begun, the doctor emerged at the waiting room door and I swear time stopped for a split second. I could tell my mom felt the same way I did, as our hearts jumped to our throats scanning the surgeons face to see if we could tell how it had gone before he even said a word. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly the routine surgery he was hoping for, but FORTUNATELY, he would recover well. WHEWWWWWWWW.... tears of happiness and relief filled the room.
No one can really prepare you for the way people look right after they come out of surgery like that. Tubes running from each and every imaginable direction. So many machines filled the room buzzing and scanning around us. It was terrifying. Rationally, I knew this was "normal" and stayed strong for my mom for the few minutes that we were able to see him.
The rest of that Friday dragged on as we nervously waited for midnight to make our first call to the nurses station to see how he was progressing. Calmly, the nurses informed us that he was losing blood. As quickly as he was recieving transfusions, the blood was draining out his body. What does this mean? Should we worry? How were we supposed to sleep comfortably that night? The night wore on....
Saturday Morning: Before long, my mom and I were back in the ICU hoping to catch the doctors as they made their rounds. The surgeon, scheduled to be out that day, showed up to check on my dad. He was frank with us and told us he had contemplated going back in to see what the problem was...fortunately, throughout the course of the night, my dad's blood loss had subsided considerably but they would need to keep him intubated for the rest of the day. My mom and I stayed with him, relieved to see some movement (to me indicating that his body was ready to wake up and fight). Although they continued to sedate him, I was pleased to see my dad wanting to wake up. All good signs...
Sunday Morning: After a full day and a half of being sedated and intubated, they let us know that they would begin the process of waking him up early Saturday morning. He would need to pass a series of breathing tests before they would be able to take the air tube out. My dad, quite the rebel, decided in his groggy state to make the nurses work for their pay. In one full swoop of the hand, he took matters into his own hands taking the air tube out, HIMSELF! Luckily no damage was done and several minutes later he was greeting his doctors as they came to check on him. It was smooth sailing from this point forward. Thank goodness!!
It wasn't until Thursday that he was finally released from the hospital, but from the moment his air tube came out, he progressed in leaps and bounds. Every hour was better than the last and every day was like a new day for him.
WHAT. A. RELIEF. I'm exhausted again just thinking about it all... what a way to end a year...and start a new one... with a NEW HEART!