Monday, June 5

The Roller Coaster aka why Tara wont be on line much this week.

For few years my parents have been on a medical roller coaster.

First it was my mom, she fell and needed knee surgery, then it was a cancer scare--endometrial cancer, surgery and months of radiation treatments left her thankfully cancer free. Through all of this my dad had chronic back pain, which he basically ignored.

In September of 2003, after a day of shopping I came home to a full answer machine, my sister left the following messages:

1. Tara, Daddy called Mommy at work, his back is killing him and his legs are numb. He thinks it's a pinched nerve, she's taking him to the hospital. I'm heading over to see what's going on.

2. Tara, are you there?? Pick up.

4. Tara are you there, they're doing a cat scan, something's wrong.

5. Fumbling hang up

6. Fumbling hang up

7. Are you there, it's bad, it's really bad, he's got a massive aneurysm, they're air lifting Daddy to Westchester. We're leaving now, meet us there as soon as possible, they don't think he's going to make it.

Well, "aneurysm" sent a chill down my spine, my mother's father died from the exact same thing. I don't have any idea where my husband was, I got him on his cell phone, but he was home in less than 15 minutes. Between picking up my adult niece, and dropping our son at my in-laws, it took us close to 3 hours to make it to the hospital.

Five hours later my dad had survived the surgery that replaced a section of his aorta and repaired the tear in his femoral artery, the aneurysm was so large it had adhered to the artery and started to rip it, he was slowly bleeding to death. The aneurysm ruptured as soon has the surgeons opened him. The aneurysm they took out was so large that the blood pumping through it wore away at the bone of his spine.

This taught us never ignore pain, even when you think you know what is causing it. The body knows what it's doing, listen to it.

We were so relieved that he was alive that we didn't realize the surgeon said he had 5 more aneurysms along the rest of the aorta. He spent three weeks in intensive care and 5 more in the hospital recovering. After he was out of the hospital he needed cat scans on a regular basis to monitor the other aneurysms.

Eventually, mom went back to work, and I become chauffeur, taking Daddy back and forth to doctor and lab appointments.

Pain brought him back to the hospital in early 2004. The other aneurysms were growing. By now we knew to send my husband to the emergency room, if he's in his office he's only 3 minutes from the hospital. My mom is usually in panic mode, but Chris seems to hear everything and can help keep track of what needs to be done. I'm 30 minutes away and need to drop Junior at a baby sitter before heading there.

The aneurysms that were growing were in such delicate spots the surgeons at Westchester wouldn't touch him, he needed to go to Mount Sinai, in Manhattan, it's where the surgery to replace the aorta was pioneered. He basically needed the entire aorta replaced.

Four surgeries later, 95% if his aorta has been replaced and he has one aneurysm left, it's a small one right where the aorta attaches to the kidneys and the doctors don't want to do surgery unless it's absolutely necessary. Every step of the way, doctors and nurses have told us to pray, that only a miracle would pull him through.

All this time he's been a cranky trooper. His chest looks like the Frankenstein monster, one goes from above his heart, down his chest and around to almost the middle of his back, which means they somehow flipped him during one of the surgeries, the whole thing is mind boggling. He walks for exercise 4 or 5 times a week, 1 1/2 miles with the help of a walker with wheels. He loves to fish and walks whenever he can around a lake not far from their house, he picked up a tick bite not that long ago, turned out to be a deer tick and he's on antibotic for Lyme Disease.

For the past 2 1/2 years Mom has been nurse maid and head cheerleader. She has had high blood pressure and other minor aliments while all this has been going on.

Two weeks ago, they both went for stress tests.

Good news, Dad is finally doing much better. Bad news, Mom has a blockage near her heart and needs to go in for a catherization [sp?] and probably angioplasty. This is scheduled for Wednesday of this week.

Monday will be filled with school and errands, Tuesday is my son's end of year school picnic. The rest of the week will be left open. I have no idea if I'll be back on-line for any length of time this week.

Have a great week and happy reading.


Kristie (J) said...

Tara: it's good to see your Dad is doing better and my thoughts are with you and your family that things go well with your Mom on Wednesday. Now I'm giving you a return hug.
(if you lived in Canada she probobly would have to wait until August for surgery so it's good she is getting in so soon!)
((((hugs to you)))))

CindyS said...

Wow! Your father's story is awe inspiring.

You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.


ames said...

woah! I'm glad your father is doing better and I hope everything goes well with your mom. Big hugs!

Kate D. said...

My thoughts are with your family. I hope that all goes well.

Bookwormom said...

Hugs & prayers for a positive prognosis. Take care, Tara~

Tara Marie said...

Everyone, thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts.


Sam said...

I hope your mom's surgery goes well - and lots of thoughts and prayers winging your way!!!

sybil said...

Hope all is going well! You have some amazing parents there, I knew you came from good stock *g*.

be well hon,

ps: I think I have an extra copy of Megan's Mark *g* just in case you were going to run out and buy it