Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Love Needs a Heart

A friend of mine’s father is going to be having a triple bypass operation tomorrow. My dad had a quintuple bypass about 4 years ago, and so i told her about it.

I offered, as a favor to my father, to sit with my mother at the hospital while he was in surgery. My mother talks lots already, and even more when she is nervous, so i fully expected my ears to be bleeding by the end of the day. But i knew that this is what i could do to help my dad, and i was happy to be able to do it.

I got to the hospital as they were prepping my dad. I got a chance to hug him and talk with the doctor a bit. It was sad to see my father looking so small in that white and blue ass-flapping gown, with tubes going hither and yon to places that i didn’t really want to think about on my father.

One of my dad’s tennis buddies showed up while we were waiting for the operation to end. He has had this procedure himself, and he wanted to make sure that we understood and were prepared for what dad would look like in the recovery room. I cannot even tell you what a comfort it was to have him be there and give us an example of what the end result could be.

Eventually we were called into the recovery room. I can tell you honestly that i was prepared for what i would see, but i was not prepared for how it would feel. I’m not sure there is a way to prepare for that.

They make a point of waking up the patient after surgery. My dad was awake, but barely. He said, “Did you get the name?”

Mom and i are all “Oh shit, he’s had a stroke” (which is one of the dangers of this operation). Dad continues. “The truck that hit me.” That’s when i knew that he was trying to be funny, and that my dad was still in there, somewhere. He went back to sleep but i was smiling.

The nurse had told us to talk to him even if he was asleep, that it seems to help patients to hear familiar voices. My mom turned to me in a panic “What should i say to him?”
“Tell him the surgery went well. Tell him he looks good. Tell him that he’s going to be okay. Tell him that you love him and that you’ll be back to see him soon,” for fuck’s sake. I would chalk this up to being nervous, but that’s typical of my mom.

My father has done well, and continues to do very well. Good luck to your dad too my friend.


thailandchani said...

Good luck to your dad. May he heal quickly! And, as for you, only you could find something humorous in this situation and bring it forth like a little nugget. "For f***'s sake". Of course, I can understand your mom. I'm often tongue-tied in situations like that. I nearly spit diet coke all over the keyboard! :)


Thailand Gal

Mignon said...

Good for you - for being there with your mom. It's sad to think of the patients that have nobody to wake up to.

My grandfather had a quadruple bypass many years ago, and was given a pillow shaped like a heart to hold to his chest. It had a little sensor in it, and when he hugged it a nurse would come. After the recovery, they took out the sensor and sent him home with the pillow, and now it sits in the living room and is used as a punching bag/frisbee/foot rest/snuggly for his 11 great-grand-kids. It's an awesome reminder.

Mother of Invention said...

My dad had a quadruple done 20 years ago at age 67. His attitude was that it was just like taking a car into the shop for a repair and tune-up! We went to see hime while he was still in the oxygen tent and you could still hear his booming voice say to the nurse, "This is daughter #3 and her husband!" ten days later, we took him down to lunch and brought him home!
It's all pretty amazing. It's even better now.

I had a stent put in my coronary artery last Feb. at age 52. That's why I'm not teaching this year and am trying to exercise like crazy!

Anonymous said...

Great title.

I like the sounds of that pillow Mignon's granddad got.

I hope everything goes well for friend's father.

egan said...

Hey, I hope things go well recovery wise for your family friend.

I noticed your comment on Jennifer's blog and thoguht I would wander on over and say hello. Hey, you live in my town. Cool!

Marshamlow said...

With my dad is was removing a cancer ridden prostate that brought my mother and I together in the hospital. I am sending good thoughts and wishes for your friend and her dad.

Lynnea said...

Sending starry-eyed wishes and good karma thoughts to your friend's dad. I really like your Dad's sense of humor, even when not quite there.

On an aside, I have had several surgeries due to several things...and I've always wondered why those damn annoying, albeit caring and nice, nurses wake you up repeatedly like that. Its like a stupid alarm clock going off every 10 minutes when you just want to drift in that cloudy sleep. I suppose there's a really good medical reason for it.

thailandchani said...

Errata: I meant, of course, your friend and dad.

Bad eyes, bad typing.

Anyway, my apologies. :)


meno said...

thailand gal, I just transferred your good wishes to my friend's dad, so no worries. At our house we call the coke on the keyboard "The Pepsi Syndrome" after an old SNL sketch making fun of the movie, "The China Syndrome."

mignon, and my ears have since healed. :) My dad has one of those pillows too, so it looks like that idea caught on.

MOI, they boot them out of the hospital now after 3-4 days. And keep on exercising, please!

de, the title is a song by Jackson Browne that i like.

hi egan, thanks for stopping by. I love Seattle. I went to your website and learned about the dessert shop in Fremont. I have been in dispair since Pacific Dessert Co went out of business, so this is excellent news.

marsha, thank you for the good wishes, i am mentally passing them on. I hope your father is okay now.

maggie, my dad is a silly man. There must be a reason for the constant waking up, but it is damn annoying when you are the wakee.

Unknown said...

Pass on my good wishes too.

Lucia said...

My dad was once in intensive care, really messed up from a car accident, and he did silly things like wave at the camera in the room. You gotta wonder what makes people keep their sense of humor when they're relatively out of it.

Girlplustwo said...

ah. i'll be thinking of your friend.

my grandmother had a triple bypass a month ago, and came through beautifully.

your dad sounds like a true gem.

SUEB0B said...

I love Dad stories.

egan said...

Yes, Simply Desserts will make you forget all about place formerly located in Lower Queen Anne. It's a small place, but the cakes are marvelous. I'm a bit partial though.

Dick said...

I think friends and family are very important when one has a medical problem. They help provide a sense of normality that is desperately needed. And if it is provided by one who has experienced the same proceedure, so much the better.

Mother of Invention said...

Re: Maggie's comment!
I got a card once when I was sick that said,"Ain't hospitals great? Where else do they wake you up to give you a sleeping pill?!"


karmic said...

Good luck to your friend's dad.

Ashley Lasbury said...

I am so thankful that my parents are healthy! I do remember what my Mom looked like after she had her lumpectomy. Scary! Am so glad your Dad is hale and hearty. And my prayers are being sent to your Dad's friend.

Andrea Frazer said...

I know what you mean about your dad looking small. My dad, right before he died, was this weak old man. I miss him still. You are lucky to have your father still. And good luck to your friend.

meno said...

nancy, i will, thanks.

lucia, must be an ingrained way of interacting with the world, a sense of humor.

jen, it's amazing what the human body can take and then bounce back. Just amazing. I'm glad to hear about your grandmother. My dad is a gem.

suebob, Me too. As you might have guessed, i'm kind of a daddy's girl.

egan, i will check this out FOR SURE.

dick, i agree. My dad's freind really helped us out. I thanked him a month or so ago when he came to my dad's 80th bd party.

MOI, when i had EM, i told the people at the hospital that i needed to go home to get some sleep. They laughed at me, but it was true. I did sleep much better at home without some person coming in to my hospital room every half an hour.

sanjay, thank you!

onetallmomma, why hello there! It makes me appreciate my dad that much more. And thank you.

sparkliesunshine, funny when the sick person spends their energy trying to put us at ease. It's sweet.

mamap, it really reminds me that he won't be here forever. Thank you for the luck thoughts.

Bob said...

My dad is a very independant person. when he had an icd (fancy defibrilator/pacemaker) installed I was asking when and where and he told me there was no reason for me to come. I didn't argue with him, I just told him I was going to be there. It was as much for mom as for him. my sister came and the three of us chatted the time away. I know mom was glad for the company and the distraction. an hour and a half later they wheeled dad out half-awake and on into a room. they booted him out the next morning.

sari said...

Sending good wishes for a speedy recovery.

Your dad has a good sense of humor!

urban-urchin said...

Oh I like the new background color and banner!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your friend's dad.

meno said...

hi bob, i think it's great that you went anyway. The stoic act just doesn't apply to surgery.

sari, thank you. My dad does have a good sense of humor. Although he's getting a little foogy these days and tends to repeat himself.

urban-urchin, Thanks! A little (really little)HTML knowledge is a dangerous thing.