This is a picture of me and my sweet daddy on the 4th of July. I was grilling hamburgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob for us. My husband and I had a couple of days vacation with him and my mom in Arkansas. Good times.
After that, we went in for his scheduled heart valve replacement the next week. I am writing a quick story of his hospital stay, more or less just to get it off my chest and out of my head.
We went in on Wednesday to prepare for the surgery that would take place the next morning.
They wheeled him out of the room with me crying like a baby. I am very tenderhearted when it comes to my mom and dad. I was making him emotional, so I chose not to go to the surgery waiting area with him. I would have made it harder on both of us.
We went to wait in the ICU waiting room and the doctor called after about 2 hours. They did say they had a hard time starting his heart back, which was kinda scary, but other than that he was doing pretty good. A rough Thursday, Friday, Saturday and early Sunday were spent in ICU. He actually went through something that I had never heard of called ICU psychosis. After 36 hours of no sleep, he began to not know where he was and was trying to pull his IV out and such. I told them that he HAD to have some sleep. They gave him a medication in his IV that allowed him to rest for 12 hours. He was pretty much back to himself but sick to his stomach, hurting and tired after that.
It was still a rough road ahead. At least he was in a room, but a blood clot in his leg called for an extra blood thinner, and he had a chest tube that refused to quit draining more than it should. Also, not being used to a hospital stay, he was beyond ready to go home.
We knew that the chest tube would have to almost quit draining and be out for about a day before he could go home. By now we were on day 9. Finally, the tube completely stopped draining, but the nurse read it wrong, and it stayed in another 8 hours. Finally, Saturday afternoon, the chest tube (the thorn in his side according to dad) was removed! Saturday night, I assured my parents that I will get them out on Sunday, or we would be in the news.
The nurse practitioner came in Sunday morning. I know she could see it in our eyes that we were on the edge of insanity. She informed us that his potassium, which should be a 5 or under, was a 5.9...too high to go home. Immediately, dad's blood pressure went through the roof. I asked if we could recheck it because it was not very high. She said they could give him some fluids and recheck it in the afternoon. Still hope of going home.
In the meantime, mom and I realized that all he had wanted to eat was bananas, prunes, cantaloupe and chocolate Ensure. All loaded with potassium. I knew that it would be normal in the retest. Sure enough, after waiting 6 more hours, it was a 4.1...perfect! The papers were signed and we were on our way.
I am writing this 5 days later. Dad is still very very weak but a bit better each day. I feel that any improvement is good thing. We enjoyed each others company in the hospital, and hospital visits are inevitable, but I feel for the families and patients that are enduring it at this time. May your stay be short and your recovery be shorter!
To health and happiness!
Something that is so easy to take for granted.