Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Our trip to Virginia Beach was anything but what I imagined. The trip took 6+ hours due to potty stops and lunch, but we finally arrived about 4:30 pm just in time for my dad's heart attack. WTF? He knew something wasn't right that day and looking back now he knows that something wasn't right for about a week. Dad said he did not want to go to the doctor or the ER because the girls and I were on the way. He is damn lucky nothing else happened. I am soooo not ready to be dealing with my parents and illnesses. He is only 65 - still has a LOT of life left. Hear that, Dad????

So I drive into the driveway and cautioned the girls not to go running into the backyard because: 1. the brick sidewalk is askew due to the roots under it and 2. I don't know if Dad is awake or asleep. We walk back and go on the porch. Of course, he is awake, and his neighbor, Doug, is there too. (Doug has been a god send playing nurse to Dad as he has recuperated from three, yes, three surgeries in the past 5 months.) Doug grabs me and says, "Your dad isn't feeling well and won't call the doctor. Something isn't right."

I got Dad into the house and started going thru the papers on the various drugs he has to take. The drug pamphlet for Naproxen says in BIG BOLD letters to watch for heart attack signs. Um, yeah - that would be what he has. I called the dr. and left a message cause, of course, it is after hours. The nurse/dr. returns my call and says, "Go to the ER." OK, Dad. We are taking a little trip (this is now 5:30 pm) so he goes to change his clothes. Meanwhile Mom has arrived from work. Let her know I am taking him in. I think she was in total shock as she did not fight me to take him in. Load Dad into his Explorer and off we go to the new Princess Anne ER. I was a nervous wreck driving to the ER even though it was only 10 minutes from their house. I don't do medical situations well AT ALL.

The ER was great - only one person ahead of us. Great staff and doctor. ER dr. doesn't think he is having cardiac issues, but maybe a P.E. (pulmonary embolism) due to the chest pain. Nope, the blood work says "Cardiac Episode" - what a nice way to say HEART ATTACK. So the indigestion and sweating Dad had at 3 AM that morning was the heart attack itself. Ugh.... now we are gonna be transferred to Sentara Leigh cause they have the heart cath lab. At 11:30 PM he is finally transferred to Leigh. Fun part - the Virginia Beach Amphitheater is right behind the hospital and had a concert that night. Yeah - all the concert goers are leaving at the same time we are. Oh, the joy! I traded places with Mom - she went to Leigh, and I went to their house to stay with the girls. No sleep for me. I laid down about 2 am and Youngest woke up at 5:30 am. Oh, thank God for caffeine.

Oh, my gracious. I think I went into overdrive (as Patti called it) cause I wasn't emotional at all. That is EXTREMELY unlike me. I don't do medical problems very well (did I tell you that?), but damn if I didn't keep it together for my parents.

Wednesday was the cath lab, angiogram, and angioplasty. The Obtuse Marginal (??) is a sub-artery in the back of the heart. It was 90% blocked, so it was ballooned and then a stent was inserted. Dad was an absolute bear after because he was in so much pain from his back/neck where the laminectomy was and the oxycodone withdrawl. This coming from a man who is usually so laid back and gracious. Two hours in the cath recovery then off to another room for more intensive nursing. By Thursday morning he looked and acted so much better. The doctor was helping him eliminate the oxy by giving him Ativan for the anxiety. I was happy it was working really well cause he needed to come off the oxy. What an addicting drug!

Friday morning Dad was released to come home - but the dr. barely gave him an indications as to what kind of damage was done by the heart attack, what to do as far as exercise or eating, or his meds. We were even sure about wearing the bone stimulator for his neck. We took matters into our own hands and started calling and researching. Gracious - you would think that the doctor would be a little more concerned about the next 2.5 weeks until the follow-up appt. I am not too impressed with the discharge. The dr. who did the discharge even forgot to tell Dad to take the baby aspirin every day. OMG - that needs to be taken with the Plavix everyday. A blood clot could develop around the stent otherwise. Moron!!!

My poor girls got the brunt of this. My sister-in-law, Thierry or "T", came up from Carolina and kinda took over the younger two. They had lots of fun making Barbie clothes, going to Aunt T's house and playing, and getting new Barbie furniture. She was a blessing. Ashley was OK on the computer or hanging out. She finally got to spend some time with Sam too - they hung out at his house, and I took them to the skate park at Mt. Trashmore so Sam could teach her to skateboard. Sam's family was great to her while we were in VB. Very accommodating about having her over and spending time with them.

Once Dad was home, Mom became a not so nice person to be around. I think all of her emotions over the way this year has been really came to the surface. I know she is mad, scared, frustrated, disappointed, and any other negative emotion. Taking care of Dad so intensively is not what she bargained for in addition to running the business. The heart attack was kinda the final straw. I really hope that for both of their sakes that Mom will come to terms with Dad's physical issues and be more compassionate. I know she logically knows he did not do anything to cause his injuries, but I believe she is very angry at Dad for how it has affected her life. She is such a Type A personality and likes control over everything - which isn't going to help in this situation. Dad needs someone who is motivating and gentle. Not the steamroller she can be. But with all of this said, she did "brag" to her best friend how Thierry and I took over the meals, laundry, cleaning, etc. so she didn't have to do anything while Dad was in the hospital. I just wish she had told Thierry and I this instead of telling us we were doing stuff wrong.

I did get Dad to take a walk on Sunday; however, I think he pushed it way too much and told him so. He walked too far, so today he walked just around the court and then worked on the rehab exercises for his knee and neck. Much better. Mom was in a better mood when I talked to her tonight. Hopefully it will last.

OK - I think this is most of the heart attack info. I will edit if I remember more. God, what a week. Not fun. I am not ready to deal with this yet - my parents are still too damn young to be pulling this mess. Straighten up!

1 comment:

Kaesmom said...

Amy, I told you - it's a long, slow process. He will be very tired for a long time. Walking is good - but he needs to start small. My dh had a tough time walking to the end of the driveway to get the mail during those first few days home. Your dad will slowly start feeling better.

So he's on plavix and aspirin (so is dh - 250 mg. of aspirin. One baby aspirin isn't enough - I'm sort of surprised they didn't recommend more. He might want to check into that) -- did they tell him to take omega-3 pills? My dh doesn't take them like he should - he hates the fish-taste when he burps. Gross. But if your dad doesn't eat any fish (like my dh), then the omega-3's are helpful. Heck, we should ALL be taking omega-3.

When he goes for his 6 week stress test, he'll probably find out how much damage was done to his heart. That's a big deal, getting that stress test. It tells a lot of information. But that's still a long way away so he has time to rebuild his strength. :)

{hugs} He'll be ok in the long run. Give his body time to heal. If your mom is typeA, get her some good reading material. The more informed she is, the control she can take. :)