Thursday, September 17, 2009

No surgery

Surgery was cancelled at the last minute today. We got up early to get to the hospital in time to spend a few hours with Dad before this surgery. We got up there and the team of Doctors came in to inform us of a new change in plans. I can honestly say we were SHOCKED. The surgery is now put off for the next 6-8 weeks. But he won't have to stay in the hospital until then, thankfully.

Here's the deal:
They found some pulmonary emboli located in his lungs. These are blood clots that are formed in the legs and travel up to the lungs. They obstruct blood flow to certain parts of the lung. In this case, part of Dad's lung has already "died" because it cut off too much blood flow to that part of the lung.

Because of this, it puts extra stress on the right ventricle of the heart which is the reason they can not operate today. They said it's never a good outcome if they were to operate on his heart with these P.E's.

Thus why they are postponing the surgery until he is on a coumadin level that thins his blood enough to go though surgery. Plus they need the existing clots to dissolve into the body first. They already had Dad on Heprin shots, but now they have him on a Heprin IV and they will start coumadin this week. They will discharge him as soon as the levels are correct on his blood work. Then it all becomes a waiting game.

What do I have to say about all this? I honestly think this whole thing is a blessing. I know my Dad's life is going to change. So ya, he has an aneurysm, but they found that by chance. He went to the hospital for chest pain that was totally unrelated to the aneurysm. At the first hospital, they did a CTA of the chest and did not find any blood clots and that's why they thought his pain was related to pleurisy. But at that time, they also found the aneurysm, which is why he was immediately transferred to UC for an urgent surgery.

At the time, the cardiac surgeon did not want to the surgery until he did a diagnostic cardiac cath (which gets pictures of the heart),and felt since he was stable that it was okay to not do the surgery emergently. So when the cath was unsuccessful, we were disappointed that we would have to wait longer. The Dr then wanted a non-invasive CTA-heart to be done in order to attempt to get a picture of the heart before surgery. They wanted these pictures so in case Dad had any other blockages, they could fix those at the same time he had his surgery.

The first time the attempted the scan, Dad was still in a very confused state and the scan was unsuccessful. So when he came out of confusion yesterday morning they immediately re-scheduled the scan. So when he went down to scan, the Dr went to take a quick look at the coronary arteries as they scanned him and saw NO blockages and so he went ahead and scheduled the open heart for today.

Well your probably asking why they didn't catch the PE's on the scan right away...? Well when the Drs took a glance at the scan, they saw no blockage in the heart, they left since that's what they are looking at. But when the scan was sent to the radiologist, they have to take a look at the scan and 'read" it and then report what they see. So at that time, which was probably last night, they immediately call the surgeon and tell them their findings.

I consider it all a blessing that this is happening, it's all coming together and and every road block that has happened and proved to be a reason. Just in the case that if he didn't have the chest pain from the PE, they never would have found the aneurysm. If the original cath was successful, they never would have had to do another scan and never would have caught the PE's before surgery.

And as far as the open heart, Dad thinks it's the perfect time to start a new life. Just the fact he stopped smoking about a year ago was the first start. And YES, he did stop smoking, and it is hurtful to him that people are second guessing this. He did it as my wedding gift to me and he has done SO good. I am so proud of him, if he was still smoking, he would be even more sick right now. Trust me, I know what a smoker's lungs produce and my Dad isn't producing that stuff anymore. The other thing is he is not an alcoholic, because that would put him more risk for delirium and DT's. He chose not to go down that road because he knew that he was at a high risk to become one. He chose to love food and his remote, but not booze.

Not that it's the greatest, but that's why I know this situation is a blessing in disguise. He knows he has to get healthy and start eating better and exercising more to make a good recovery. I know more than anything that he wants to live long enough to see his future grand babies grow up and know he will take any stride to do so. He loves his family more than anything.
We have and 8x10 family picture from the wedding in his room (we used it to remind him of his family when he was confused) and every single nurse, RT, X-ray tech or anyone else that walks in the room comments on it, and when they do his eyes light up and says...Yup that's my 4 kids and he smiles so big. Then he names us all and brags about his babies. Its the sweetest thing to watch because it shows how proud he is of us.

He even told us this morning before his surgery was cancelled that "Today is a beautiful day for a new life" He knows that starting over with a "new heart" is a new healthy start and it means a longer life with his family. I am just so proud of him for realizing this and knows that he has a long but rewarding road in front of him.

So for now, he's still in the ICU at UC and will remain there for 3-7 days, but he is in good spirits and he's back to himself. We have been SO happy with the Drs and nurses at UC. He is honestly in one of the best places for this and I have COMPLETE confidence in the decisions they make. I honestly don't think our family can get any more bad news, but at least we can look at it and see it as a blessing... well at least for now we can.


Rachel H. said...

Continuing to think of you guys and pray! :)

Bluebird said...

Just getting caught up on all that's been going on with you, and I'm sitting here in tears. You have had SO MUCH to deal with! The emotional roller coaster. . . oh my goodness, sweet girl. Oh my.

. said...

Hello I found your blog via the nest and have been reading along for quite sometime. I have never commented though today I felt like I needed to. I love your family picture it reminds me of my family. Makes me happy to look at it. Just wanted to let you know that your family is in my prayers. Many hugs to you all.

Bree said...

The relationship between a father and his daughter is very special. I teared up when I read about your dad bragging about his babies. My dad would always do that too. Big hug to you!

Jacinta said...

It sounds like Nolan is watching over his grandfather with all these fortunate coincidences! Glad that the news is positive