Saturday, September 01, 2007

All the gory details

This isn't going to be very coherent, I'm sure. I'm kinda tired so excuse me.

At 2:30ish, dad came by our house to pick up Josie. Dad walked in looking ashen and sat down on the couch. He was dripping with sweat and looked terrible.

He asked to hold the baby. I said that his hands looked a little dirty and that perhaps he shouldn't. He insisted that his hands were clean, so I gave him the baby. We started chatting when he mentioned casually,

"By the way, I've been having chest pains and my left arm is totally numb."

That's kind of a problem, really, so I probed a little further. He described his pain as "someone squeezing his chest as hard as they could," and that he couldn't lift his arm to turn the steering wheel.

I couldn't remember if it was the left arm or the right arm that would go numb for a heart attack, so I looked it up quickly on the internet. It's the left arm.

It said that if the pain didn't subside within 3-5 minutes that you should go to the hospital immediately. Dad's pain started shortly after leaving his house, which is about 15 minutes away from mine. He had been sitting in my house for about 10 minutes, so that was already 25 minutes without the pain subsiding.

We called mom, who was stuck at work without a car, and set off for the clinic. Luckily Andrew had taken the day off of work since I don't drive and it really wouldn't be good for dad to drive himself. The clinic sent us to the Orem Community Hospital where we were for a few hours.

Dad was in a very good mood. He kept cracking jokes with the nurses. For example, Dad said, "I hope something is wrong because if nothing is, I'll feel really stupid."

"I hope nothing is wrong, but if nothing was, we'd have started teasing you long before now," quipped the nurse.

The doctor came in and said, "I'm glad you decided to come in and didn't just ignore the pain...or did someone," with a sideways glance and wink at me, "or did someone convince you to come in."

"A little bit of both," said Dad, "The internet said not to drive yourself in, so if they hadn't brought me in I would have had to just go home."

Well, we discussed the pain and the nurses did a whole bunch of tests involving drawing a lot of blood and taking EKGs. They gave Dad some blood thinner to help lower his blood pressure and a liquid nitrogen tablet to dissolve under his tongue.

They told me everything was normal but that they wanted to send him to UVRMC to get some more testing done. They instructed us to go ahead of the ambulance and register dad at the hospital. I was like, "Normal...ambulance...what?"

Under no circumstances would they allow us to transport him in our car...yet, everything was normal? Hmmm...

Well, we got to UVRMC and waited and waited and waited. And then mom's co-worker dropped her off at the hospital. And then Andrew's parents showed up with a car key for their van, which they were leaving for mom to use (David has her car in Las Vegas--he's doing his 5 days of school for his master's program).

Andrew and Reid gave dad a blessing and then dad went in to have a angioplasty.

While he was getting ready for this very routine procedure, Dad was quipping more jokes.

"We're going to lay you flat..." said the doctor.

"As long as I don't flat line, I'm fine." said dad.

Then the little heart-beat reader fell off his finger. "Oops, you died," said Andrew.

"No, I still have blood pressure so I'm alive," corrected dad.

They took the blood pressure thing off his arm. "Now I'm dead," said dad.

It made the nurse rather nervous to hear dad talk like that, but the doctor (and Andrew) found it rather funny.

They put the catheter in his upper thigh and weaved it through his chest and to the heart area where they injected some dye so they could watch it on the screen easier. They were just going to put some stints in and then send dad home...but then they found a rip in one of his arteries.

Immediately the situation went from bad to worse. They stopped the angioplasty and informed mom that they were going to have to do an emergency bypass surgery.

Meanwhile, I was desperately trying to get a hold of my mom to see what was going on...when I finally got a hold of her, she sounded like she was crying. She told me what was happening and we decided to leave right away, so we packed up and hurried to the we could wait.

It was a lot of waiting and visiting and eating and laughing with many people (Bishop Bybee, my parents hometeachers, the Wrights, Uncle Bruce and Aunt Sara, Grandma and Grandpa L., Kelli and Rose, Josie, Patrick, Me, Andrew, Rachel, and of course, Mom--I may have missed a few).

Finally a nurse..or doctor stopped by...and said that he's on bypass (12:12 am).

And then saying that he's off bypass and they're stitching him up (1:38 am).

It's 2:05 am and the surgeon just stopped by to say that they finished his triple bypass and he's working better now. Uncle Bruce says the surgeon looks a little tired but he's still on his feet and looks calm.

Dad's heart is now working better than it was before, go figure.

So, now he's just still out...on oxygen...and will probably take a while before he's back to his good ol' self.

We can see him in about 45 minutes. So, everything went well. The surgeon said not to worry. We're all just tired and a little stressed (don't worry? hah!). Scary day.

As for our plans for tomorrow...well, I think we'll be spending some time at the hospital.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, scary! I hope you're dad's all right, back to his 'normal' self in a few days/weeks. We'll pray for him. Hope Andrew has a good first couple days of school after this!