...so that I could deal with the trauma that was this weekend.
My stepdad Jim has suffered another setback in the form of an aortic anuerism on Friday afternoon.
My Mom called to let me know that she had called 911 (from a restaurant) because Jim couldn't stand and was numb, with front & back pain. He wanted to go home, she insisted on calling.
I met them up at the new Providence Hospital ER. How many times did we joke that it was a good thing they were opening a new ER so close to them, after all the weeks we spent driving to Southfield? Countless.
When I got there he had just had a CT scan and an Xray, which showed the aa. All of the sudden this was serious. The med-evac team was on their way to take him to Uof M hospital for the earliest possible treatment. The helicopter team.
The course was changed to Beaumont in Royal Oak because another cardiac event was already taking place at UofM. My Mom & I jumped into the car for the drive while the helicopter was 30 feet away, preparing for take-off.
The minute we arrived @ Beaumont someone lead us to a surgical consult area, where we talked to the surgeon. He described the tear in Jim's valve and aortic wall. He gave us an 80% mortality rate for this type of anuerism. 80%. This is the same thing that killed John Ritter. It's quick and almost certainly fatal. The surgery would take anywhere from 8-10 hours.
2 1/2 hours ago he had been eating pancakes at his favorite restaurant.
Now we were calling everyone in to say their goodbyes.
The surgery lasted 71 minutes. Under 3 hours from first cut to last stitch. They replaced the valve and used a plastic piece to repair the damage. They were able to bypass most of the tearing by using the plastic, so the surgery was shorter than anyone expected. They didn't have to hook him to the heart/lung machine, or cool him down to protect his brain. He, at this point, was nothing short of a miracle.
He was waking up @ 7:00 a.m. when we were getting ready to leave. Responding to his name. By 3:00 p.m., they had taken out the vent and he was sitting up in bed, talking normally. Exhausted, confused, beligerant but Normal. Normal for him.
Yesterday was harder. He hadn't slept at all and was very confused. He thinks he's going home today. He's scared. They are treating him so that he can relax a little, but what he needs is a ton of sleep. They were hoping to remove his 2 chest tubes today. They are uncomfortable to say the least. Get him in a chair and moving. Every step forward will boost his spirits.
He is a miracle. If he can avaoid pneumonia and any other bug floating around the hospital, he will make a great recovery.
To me the most amazing part is how attuned into him my Mom is. If she hadn't seen a particular look cross his face, she may not have called 911. I don't think I would have. If she had waited an extra hour to take him in, he would have died. Plain and simple.
Take a minute today to say a prayer for an incredible man. He deserves a speedy recovery.