Sunday, July 03, 2005

Much better (7/3)

Dad had a 3-minute stint in the operating room yesterday. His surgeon put a needle into the infected lump on his thigh, drained that thang, and sent the fluid on for analysis. They sent Dad back to his hospital room and kept the antibiotics going. He'll need another CAT-scan on 7/12, to make sure the abscess in his lung is dissipating.

He was in great spirits yesterday after the procedure. Amy & I were heading back from NYC to the hospital, and called to make sure he was back in his room. He said, "Bring me some food! I haven't eaten in 25 hours!"

"What do you want to eat?" I asked.

"You know!"

"... Pop, I'm not bringing a Fuddrucker's burger into the cardiac ward of the hospital."

"Why not?"

I couldn't really come up with a good answer, so I conferred with Dad's girlfriend, who I was afraid would kick my ass if I brought that food. She said, "Just bring it. Your father will be fine."

So we picked up a half-pound ostrich burger and some fries, and Dad was happy as the proverbial pig in shit.

They still plan to keep him in till Tuesday, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to bring him terrible food till then.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Complications (7/2)

Dad's back in the hospital. He's been (dry) coughing pretty badly ever we got him home after his heart surgery at the end of April. He's also had some alternating fevers in the last month-to-six weeks. We took him for CAT scan on Thursday, which revealed an abscess in his lung. He also has this weird tennis-ball-sized lump of hard tissue at the top of his thigh, right where the scar begins from where they took one of the veins for his bypasses.

His surgeon took one look at it Friday and admitted him back into the hospital. Looks like he's been fighting an infection ever since surgery. Being a tough guy, he kept ignoring his worsening condition, but his girlfriend noticed that he was burning up last week, and got the ball rolling for this current round of treatment. Saving his life for the nth time.

So he's going into surgery later today, where they'll drain the lump in his thigh. They'll get him on a serious load of antibiotics so that the abscess in the lung will get zapped before it spreads to his heart. Everyone (except Dad) sounds pretty optimistic about this. Dad'll be in the hospital until Tuesday (7/5) at a minimum. I'll write more as the situation warrants.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Dad just visited his cardiologist, who gave him the thumbs-up! (of course, this is the same guy who said Dad was fine, about 2 weeks before we discovered 100% blockage in three arteries of his heart)

Anyway, the upshot is that Dad's now allowed to drive, which makes him MUCH happier.

That said, he was dragging ass this morning. He says it's the same as the last few mornings after I got him to go long on the treadmill. So we'll pull back tomorrow night: go with 20 minutes and see if he feels good the next morning.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Monday evening (5/23)

Didn't see Dad this weekend, but he said he was doing well. He and his girlfriend went down to New Hope, PA and shopped for a while, and evidently she told him, "STOP walking like an old man!" This shocked him into realizing he was dragging ass for no reason.

So now he's in a much better frame of mind. He said he had a great time today, taking care of work on the phone. Tomorrow, he's seeing his doctor again. He's hoping for clearance to start driving (as I may've mentioned, the big worry is that, if Dad's in a car accident, the airbag explosion would blow out the sutures and such that were left after surgery).

I went over tonight, where Dad told me all this. Then I got him up on the treadmill for 25 minutes, a new record. He'll likely be too tired tomorrow, but I'll get him to 30 minutes in the next few days.

Finishing up his 25 minutes, he said to me, "I've walked more in the last two weeks than I did in the past 10 years." I told him that it wasn't gonna let up, and that he needs to make this a practice once he's back at full power. He grunted.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Thursday evening (5/19)

Success! Got 20 minutes out of Dad on the treadmill! His previous high, two nights ago, was 15!

It's boring as crap for him, but at least we have the aforementioned Jim Cramer and his stock analyses to keep us going.

He made the mistake of trying to move a pool chair today, when he wanted to sit outside. The sutures in his muscles are still sore from exertions like that. It must be pretty tough, when you otherwise feel fine, to have to deal with internal weaknesses or stress points like that.

Anyway, it didn't lead to any real harm; it was just a reminder that he still has a way to go before he's fully recovered.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Wednesday evening (5/18)

No treadmill today. Dad was a little depressed when I got to his place, and we had an appointment at the optician at 6pm. I took his out there, playing it unsafe by letting him ride in the passenger seat upfront (after this sort of surgery, the impact of an airbag on the patient's chest can severely mess up the sutures that are keeping the bones in place).

It was an uneventful ride, followed by an uneventful checkup.

As is our wont, we had a misunderstanding about where he wanted to pick up dinner, which added some time to the evening. But we got him taken care of.

Neither of us won the lottery Tuesday night, and I made sure to get the skin off his damned KFC that evening (answering THAT question from my previous post).

Sorry if I sound down. It feels like Dad's in "slog" mode. He said he was coughing up a storm this morning from the pollen in the air, and it flat-out exhausted him. I hope to get him treadmilling for 20 minutes tomorrow night. Jim Cramer's Mad Money show has been our workout entertainment.

That guy looks like a walking ad for bypass surgery, when he starts his "lightning round" of phone callers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tuesday afternoon (5/17)

Headed over to Dad's soon. He had a good session on the treadmill last night, even though he was feeling pretty down due to my brother's absence.

He just called to ask me to pick up some stuff for him:

"$10 in lottery tickets, but only if it's up around $50 million.

"And get me two or three pieces of KFC."

"Dad," I said, "there's no way on earth I'm getting KFC for you."

"I'll only eat the white meat," he responded.

Dare I trade off letting him eat the white meat, while I nosh on the extra-crispy skin?

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of "Father Knows Worst."

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sunday evening (5/15)

Took my brother to the airport this morning. It was a great boon to have him around, taking some of the load off of us in helping Dad recuperate.

Dad got pretty depressed last night about Boaz's departure, but he was in great spirits this afternoon when he called. His girlfriend took him up to Herriman State Park, where he managed to walk at a good pace for about 40 minutes! He was insanely upbeat about his progress, and called to let me know how great he felt.

In addition, he wanted to apologize for his darker moods in the past week. He said he realized that he was reacting badly to the situation that he's in, looking for someone to blame, rather than becoming an active participant in his recovery.

In other words, he was looking back more than looking forward. And, as I've pointed out in my other blog, all that looking back can really give you a pain in the neck. So let's toast new beginnings.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday afternoon (5/13)

Dad's doing well. My brother's been in town the last few nights to help out, and Dad seems to be responding nicely. He did a good 10.5 minutes on the treadmill last night and had a sizeable appetite at dinnertime.

Today, they visited Dad's doctor, who said the recovery is going great: wounds are healing, blood pressure is perfect, and the heart sounds fine. He put Dad on Lipitor, which helps the bottom line at my day job. However, Dad did just call from Harold's Kosher Deli, so he might be putting himself in a little danger, but hey.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Sunday afternoon

What a difference a day makes. Amy & I got to Dad's room just after noon today, and found that Dad's chest tube has been removed! He told us that the assistant to his surgeon came by an hour or so earlier, said that the bleeding was effetively done, and plucked the tube right out!

(I'm sure it was more work than that, but that's how Dad remembers it, so hey.)

He also said that the assistant contended Dad's within 24 hours of being discharged from the hospital. Now, I appreciate the positive spin and all, but Pop hasn't even started walking yet, because of the tube and its attendant drain box. So, as much as I wan to see him get out of there and return home, I really don't think it's happening on Monday. I'm ready for it, but it'd be amazing if it happened by then.

I'm sure that Dad's cardiologist will keep him there a little while longer at least, but probably not the longest-term estimate (7 days) he gave yesterday. Dad's girlfriend & I are sorta estimating Wednesday, but not with any real foundation.

Oh, and the blood culture was negative, so it appears that yesterday's fever wasn't infection-related.

As ever, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Saturday evening

Spent an hour with Dad this evening, and he was in even better spirits. The four of us (Dad's girlfriend was there when we arrived) chatted for a bit, with American Chopper on in the background.

Unfortunately, his girlfriend just called to say that his temperature's around 101. She's asked the nurses to perform a blood culture, so we can figure out if he's got any sort of infection. I'm hoping that it's just the stress of the operation, the blood transfusions, etc., causing a little fever.

Saturday afternoon

Amy & I went to visit Dad around 12:30 today (we're heading back over in a couple of minutes), for an hour. His cardiologist was checking on him when we arrived. He said Dad's improvement has been great, and that the only wildcard is the continued (but subdued) bleeding in his chest. He felt that, on the conservative side, Dad is 3-7 days from being able to go home.

Once he left, we talked with Dad for a bit. He was in much better spirits than yesterday, when he was somewhat depressed and worn down. I think part of that had to do with the simple fact that he's sharing his room with another patient. Any of you who know my dad will understand why that can be a problem.

As I said, he was in better spirits. Unfortunately, he's also been having a couple of minor hallucinations (bugs and mice), induced by his pain medication, and has lost track of what day it is. This is pretty small-scale, given the enormity of what's gone on.