A great Easter

I’m working like a dog, even on Easter day, but this is nevertheless an Easter I will remember. This one has been a horrible week: on thursday my mother was scheduled to have hand surgery (carpal tunnel and stuff), nothing major or particularily worrisome, but hey, surgery is surgery so I was worried anyway.

To further spice up the medical week, last sunday my father had a heart attack (first time ever: he’s a strong men with no health issues in 62 years): he went to the hospital, and was told he had a severe coronary failure. A coronography was in order to understand if he needed bypass surgery or “just” angioplastic: now, even if I know the Internet is not quite the best place to find medical information, I browsed frantically to understand that bypass surgery is major stuff, with high mortality rates, huge chances of cognitive disorders due to the heart-lung machine, long recovery times and notable chances of having to repeat the whole thing in a few years. The coronography, of course, was scheduled on thursday, the very day my mother was scheduled for hand surgery. In a different hospital from my fathers’, needless to say.

So I had both my parents hospitalised (or going to be), some 250km from where I live: of course I traveled to my hometown, leaving at dawn to get there in time to escort my mother to her hospital. Her surgery was due in the afternoon, and she was supposed to have only local anesthesia, and leave the morning after in a strictly-no-fuss way. When the doctor came in for a final assessment, I was told that the whole thing would have lasted one hour, one hour and a half at most. My mom entered the surgery room at 1.45PM (meanwhile my brothers were with my father, constantly polling for news): at 3.15 I started counting minutes, at 3.45 I became nervous and at 4 I started asking people around.

I asked no less than FIVE different nurses and doctors who were walking in and out the surgery sector, with everyone of them telling me they would have found out and get back to me. Another hour went by, and this is when I started panicking. I stopped a nurse and plainly told him that I wasn’t the only one going to have a heart attack shortly, since my father was already hospitalised and waiting for news. Finally, I understood that the one and only elevator of the building suitable for carrying patients was out of order, so actually my mother’s surgery was already over and went fine, but a bunch of patients were stuck inside the surgery room. They waited for another 30 minutes before driving my mother out on a wheelchair: she had full anesthesia, so she was dizzy, drowsy and sleepy, but the fear was over.

Meanwhile, my father’s coronography had been rescheduled for the day after, so we were still waiting for news on that front. I barely had the time to say hello to my mother and rushed to my father’s hospital, some 30km away: since he was in semi-ICU, visit times were very strict and lasted only 30 minutes, so I rushed to make sure to take the most out of the few minutes I was allowed to see him.

The situation wasn’t that good over there: his roommate was examined a few hours before, and told that he had to go through bypass surgery, performed in a different hospital. Another patient was sent away with the same diagnosis and didn’t even reach home: a heart attack on the way forced an emergency helicopter run to the main region hospital. It’s really scary when you’re just a few hours away from knowing if you’re going to get over your heart problems with just a small non-invasive procedure like angioplastic, with little or no consequences, or if you’re going to be with your chest open, a heart-lung machine keeping you alive and your heart awaiting patches on a tray.

A sleepless night after, we were all waiting outside the surgery room for the verdict. We knew that in the bypass case the examination would have been very short (40 minutes) while, if it was the case for angioplastic, the whole thing would have lasted one hour something. We stood there almost breathless, counting every minute, when my mother called us being forced to leave the hospital since another patient was waiting for her bed. I rushed to pick her up and, on my road to the highway, I got one of the most awaited calls of my life, with my brother saying that my father was out and was fine after going through a successful angioplastic. I broke into tears – a nervous breakdown was in order – and went to pick up my mother with the good news. We rushed back to the hospital and the nurses were kind enough to let us in for a few minutes and say hello to my most reliefed father, who told us how, a second after angioplastic, he clearly felt better: we learnt from a doctor that one of his coronary had 95% stenosis, which means that only 5% of the expected blood was able to get through. That clearly explains why, once the “plumbing” problem was over, he suddenly felt better.

So, everything was almost fine: the only possible complication would have been bleeding from the coronography puncture (they use the femoral arteria to crawl up to the heart), which would have delayed the actual dismissal of one day. Of course that happened, and my father was waken up in the middle of the night, his bed being a pool of blood, with doctors and nurses frantically trying to stop the bleeding – arterial blood runs at very high pressure, so it’s really hard to stop it from rinning. Well, this was unfortunate but I would trade that inconvenience anytime given that today my father walked away from the hospital in very good health and with some reccomendation for new habits, but no life changing procedures.

Frantic and horrifying days indeed, but given the happy ending, definitely an Easter to remember and to blog as a future memory. Now, time to catch up with the work backlog…

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