Monday, August 30, 2010

Released from Hospital Prison. Now on Cardiac Parole.

Dad was released from the hospital today! He had quadruple bypass surgery on Aug. 24th and came through it with flying colors. We arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m., got him checked in, the paperwork completed, and they got him prepped and on the gurney. They wheeled him out and I was left to wait in the waiting room. The surgical nurse took my cell number and said she would call from the operating room to give me updates. Her name was Faith, which I took as a good omen.

They called me about 9:45 or so to let me know that they had opened his chest and retrieved the veins they would be grafting. After that, I didn't get another call until 11:45 or so. The time between calls was hard because I kept thinking that something had gone wrong and they were trying to fix it/waiting to tell me. I did a lot of praying in that waiting room. I breathed a sigh of relief when the call came around 11:45 telling me that things had gone well and they were closing him up.

I was beyond grateful that the hospital waiting room had free Wi-Fi service. It really helped to keep my mind off things and give me something to focus on, although my thoughts were never far from my Dad.

After the surgery, they took Dad to the SICU, which is the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. He was in so much pain, I felt terrible for him. The anesthesia was wearing off and he was in and out of consciousness. They removed the tube from his throat after a couple of hours and he started saying how much he hurt and that it had to get better because it could not get any worse. I wanted to cry. My Dad is not a big complainer about anything so if he was saying he was hurting, then he was really hurting! They gave him some meds and he drifted off to sleep. Thankfully, he doesn't remember any of the first few hours he was in recovery. I'm glad there are no memories of the pain.

The second day he was in the SICU, the left side of his jaw became numb and his face began swelling up. He looked like a chipmunk. The nurse said it was because of the air trapped in his chest that was moving up. Apparently, it's not uncommon after removing a chest tube for air to be trapped in the chest and to move into the face and get trapped there. They kept an eye on it. Speaking of eyes, Dad's left eye was swollen on the bottom and then the next day that had receded, but the eyelid was swollen. Poor guy couldn't win for losing as they say.

He was moved after a couple of days to a private room one floor down from the SICU. He continued to improve over the next few days, the swelling gradually going down. There was some concern about him retaining fluids so they gave him medication to deal with that. I stayed with him for several hours each day, then I would drive 30 miles back to his house for the evening. On Saturday, I decided to stay overnight with him in his room and that was an interesting experience. 

He had fallen asleep in the recliner chair in his room and prior to drifting off he said it was the most comfortable he had been since being admitted to the hospital. I didn't want to ask him to move of course so I slept in the bed. The nurses came in every hour on the hour it seemed and they thought I was him since I was sleeping in the bed. I understand why they thought that, but I got almost no sleep since I was constantly directing them to the chair all night. I went home on Sunday and napped. That helped.
Of course, we were wondering when Dad might be released. The cardiologist and the surgeon were having a disagreement about when they would release him. It was supposed to be the cardiologist's call and he wanted my dad to stay through Tuesday and possibly Wednesday because of the air in his chest. The surgeon was saying he could go home on Monday.

Anyway, Dad was finally released today with several prescriptions to pick up. We stopped by the store and got the meds, then it was time to go home. Dad is resting comfortably in his own bed right now and I am hoping he gets some good sleep tonight. He really needs that after being in the hospital for six days where rest is impossible.


J.A. Saare said...

I'm so glad he's home and has you to take care of him. Call me if you need to vent, chat, or anything at all.

Amie said...

So glad your dad is ok!

Gazza said...

YAY! So happy it all went well.