Sunday, April 05, 2009

Dad Update (of sorts)

Well, I'm glad I waited to do this, otherwise there would have been all sorts of edits...
Update(s) at the bottom.
Easiest way to do this is through my favorite device, the bullet:
  • Dad had heart surgery just before Thanksgiving to replace the stent in his aorta which had shifted some. Somewhat standard procedure. Move up the femoral artery (the groin) to the heart, replace stent, come back out. Well, the femoral artery collapsed on them, so they had to spend an extra two hours fixing that! The heart stuff went routinely well.
  • Dad goes outside for the first time to have Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's. He can barely walk, as his legs are severely swollen (as are his privates) from fluid retention after surgery. And the two holes in his groin from where they poked around.
  • Two weeks later, it was found that the hole in his leg was healing incorrectly, so it was left wide open, to be packed on a daily basis (Mom is getting alot of nursing experience!).
  • A couple of months go by without much incident. Until about a month ago. One night they heard a beeping sound. They figured it was Mom's cell phone. It happened again, but it wasn't the phone, so they figured it was the smoke detector in a back hallway. They replace the battery. Then it happened one more time. Dad determines that it's his pacemaker!! He had a scheduled MRI for later this month, so it was decided that he could wait until then to take care of it. (OK--a couple of points here. If MY pacemaker was beeping, wouldn't I want to take care of it right now?? Does a pacemaker slow down as the battery is dying, or does it just shut off? How does one re-zap a pacemaker? I don't think they open you up to replace it, and I haven't noticed any electrodes on my dad's neck to jump the battery if necessary.)
  • Two weeks ago, he woke up in the middle of the night, lost his balance, and fell into the walk-in closet. Needed help getting up. Mom attributes this to the fact that he hasn't been doing any sort of exercise because of the hole in his leg.
  • A couple of days later, at my sister's again for a family bday celebration for my niece, he fell on the ice and scraped his arm. His skin has the consistency of cellophane, and he bled quite nicely. Mom had to get up twice that night to re-guaze his entire arm as the blood had totally soaked through them. I, of course, suggested going to the hospital. Mom just pfffttt'ed me and said it was nothing.
  • This past Tuesday night he apparently started oozing 'something' from the incision point on his other leg from the heart surgery. They took him to the hospital Wednesday morning to check it out. Apparently, the site has been infected for the past four months. They immediately admitted him and got him on IV antibiotics (but not sure if they had him on the 'right' ones or not). They wanted to monitor his progress for 24-48 hours.
  • I get an email from Mom saying that they'd sucked out 15 ml of "goop" from the area, and they wanted to keep him until the swelling and redness went down. They were confident that the antibiotics were correct.
  • I get another email from Mom (love the way we communicate? for those who don't know--they live 2 blocks away from me, and the hospital is 4 blocks away!) saying that he was scheduled for surgery on Sunday morning. They wanted to drain an encapsulated hematoma and insert something a bit more than just a drainage tube to suck out anything that continued to seep in.
  • Sunday morning, I get a phone call (!). They decided to postpone the surgery because they didn't have a back-up team in place in case his heart decided to act up.
  • Sunday afternoon, I get another phone call. This one was from on the road. They stuck my dad in an ambulance and sent him off to Billings (3.5 hours away). Mom and two sisters were on their way to Billings. Evaluation tonight, and hopefully surgery in the morning. Hope they remember to zap his pacemaker!
So that's basically it. Dad said the night nurses were noisy and kept poking and prodding him all night, which in turn, made him cranky. As long as he's cranky, he's going to be OK. I'll update as soon as I hear anything.

UPDATE #1: Mom called from Billings. He's out of surgery, everything went well, and they expect to keep him another day or two to let the antibiotics do their thing. Should be coming home Wednesday afternoon-ish.

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