Another scary reality

I just put a flight itinerary on hold to go home next Wednesday. Sudden visits home are never for a good, happy reason.

I just found out last night that my dad failed a stress test for his heart, and then through an angiogram, he discovered that his left artery has a severe blockage. As a result of this, he has to have heart bypass surgery this Thursday morning. He’s going to be in the hospital for five nights after that, and then after that will be mostly recovering at home for the following 3-4 months.

The main reason my dad had this stress test done was because my uncle, his younger brother, had the same test done after sensing some chest pains, and he found he also had an artery blockage, yet it wasn’t severe enough for a bypass surgery, luckily for him. I spoke with my dad’s doctor tonight, and she reassured me how common this surgery was and how they do over a thousand of these surgeries in this hospital alone every year. The success rate is over 99.5%, with less than half a percent of patients experiencing complications. She said my dad was the ideal candidate given his vitals and his relatively young age, as most of the patients they do this on are between 70-90.

I know I’m supposed to be rational about this and calmed by all these facts, yet I can’t help but feel scared. Imagining my dad’s chest being opened up and his heart stopped for 30-45 minutes is absolutely terrifying.

I thought about Ed a lot this evening as I was learning about all of this from my parents and my dad’s doctor. A part of me knows that if he were here, he’d probably be hysterical, too, the way our mother is now. He was always the worrying type. Part of me wishes that we could share this experience together. The other part of me is a bit happy that he doesn’t have to deal with this stress — the stress of living and coming to terms with the fact that not everyone around you will live healthily forever.

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