Because my head will implode if I write too much…

October 23, 2007

…I won’t.

But I’ll update briefly. And probably rant a little.

As of now, we know: very damn little. His echo-cardiogram revealed that he has a leaky valve — which we actually knew back in 2001. There seems to be some debate why it wasn’t fixed during his 2001 open heart or if it should have been fixed at that time. No matter, I guess at this point. But the leakiness appears to be worse. To-wit, he will be having a TEE tomorrow at some point — which is basically a camera down the throat that gives a better look at the heart valves. The cardiologist also wants him to have another test — either a nuclear stress test (basically a dye injected into the heart and an X-rayish kind of thing) or possibly, a heart catheterization, which is every bit as lovely as you might think, what with the word “catheter” and all. Those latter two tests check for blockages in the heart.

If the valve is in really bad shape and it looks like he may need surgery, they’ll probably move right to the cath, as that is the best pre-surgery tool. But there are issues here — that the cardiologist acknowledged. To be blunt, this would be major fucking surgery, even worse than his open heart in 2001. We’re talking hours on the table, being placed on the heart-lung bypass machine (which carries with it a lot of after-effects, cognitively speaking), having his heart pretty much sliced open…his recovery nearly 7 years ago was rough, rough, rough…and I don’t know if it would be the best thing for him to do this surgery now. Factor in the issues with my mom’s encroaching cancer, and well, there’s some decisions that would need to be made…again to be blunt, if he’s had this leaky valve for 7 years, which is more likely to kill him quicker — having the surgery or not having the surgery?

And of course, if he has major blockages, all bets are probably off, because he’ll probably need to do surgery regardless.

So…best case is that there are no blockages and that the doctors don’t find the valve to be significantly worse, so that he can avoid surgery and continue on as is. So that’s what we pray for.

A couple of thoughts on the hospital: why is it so damn tiring to sit around and wait? I feel like someone has pummeled my entire body. Why would the initial admitting doctor, after evaluating my father’s heart and seeing his history of severe heart disease, NOT PLACE A CALL TO THE CARDIOLOGIST, so that at around 4 this afternoon, we all come to realize that one reason we have not yet seen a HEART DOCTOR at the McCONNELL EFFING HEART HOSPITAL, is that said doctor may not have realized that my father had been admitted. That said, good nurses rule, they really do. I credit his two nurses with bull-dogging their way through the bureaucracy of the hospital, so that my father saw a cardiologist today and didn’t have to wait for tomorrow. God bless Aida and Joanna.

At some point, I will have to say a word or two about the idea of the hospitalist — the doctor (an internist I guess) who sees patients before the specialists (the delicate geniuses, as my friend George Costanza would call them) deign to see them. These doctors are put in kind of a bind to begin with, but? Jack of all trades, master of none, my friends. Not so much able to do you a small hill of beans worth of good. But maybe I’m just tired.

Oh, and as a bonus this week, I’ll be accompanying my mom to her oncology appointment because my dad will still be in the hospital…but you know? It’s actually kind of good. I’m in major kick some medical ass mode — I’m taking names and taking no prisoners.

God, I’ve ceased making sense. Or is it cents? Whatever.

Thanks ALL for prayers and such. Please, oh please keep praying.


5 Responses to “Because my head will implode if I write too much…”

  1. Evelyn said

    We’re praying for you–and your folks. Let us know if we can help. We’ve told Tim the same thing, but you know how that goes. With love and prayers. M-i-l

  2. Brian Carlson said

    If you’re in a commando-take-no-prisoners mode, then you are absolutely the one to be taking people to the hospital. That was the only way my aunt, who dealt with major illnesses in her daughter and herself, was ever able to handle the medical world, so, YOU GO GIRL!

    Ummmm, I didn’t mean to suggest, however, that you go sans underwear. Really. If you feel the need for underwear, you should just stick with the underwear because you know what moms say about clean underwear and hospitals.

    And, that’s all I have to say about that.

  3. Brian Carlson said

    Oh, that last comment was from me, Erica, not my husband, Brian.
    I’m sure Brian never ever thinks about your underwear.

  4. Beth said

    Erica — I didn’t think that it was possible for me to laugh out loud tonight, but you managed it for me. Thanks.

    And Evelyn, thanks much as always. And internet world, just so y’all know, my in-laws rock.

  5. rockwell said

    Keep up the good work, bookmarked and referred some mates.

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