After getting some chores and work done this morning, my aunt and I came back to the hospital to see my dad. My mom looked as though she had just spent the night dodging bullets, and my dad… Well, he looked like he just had heart surgery. I’d never seen him more frail in my life. He initially was so weak this morning that when the nurse asked him if he was ready to take a walk, he laughed and said, ‘No way!” His voice was weak, and he said his chest hurt every time he spoke due to the incision there from the surgery. Later in the morning after I arrived, he became more animated and alert, and he said he was up for a walk. He did not one lap but two laps around the ICU, and he said he could do another and feel fine, but the nurses said he should sit back down. Clearly, he was very proud of himself.
“How do you feel, Daddy?” I asked him today. “Do you feel like you have a new heart?”
He said he felt good, just very tired and a bit dizzy. The only pain he felt was from the chest incision. The nurse said that would take some time to heal, but the pain was completely normal. I asked him what it felt like between the period of getting sedated and then waking up after surgery.
“That Wednesday before the surgery… I was really scared,” he finally admitted. “I had no idea what was going to happen.” He then told me that wasn’t fully the truth because he spent a few days before reading all about the surgery and even watched a few bypass surgery videos on YouTube. Yes, that’s the kind of person my dad is. He wants to know everything and even see the gruesome stuff.
“Well, I didn’t watch the entire surgery,” he insisted. “I can’t handle that kind of stuff after a certain point!”
He said that after he fell asleep from the anesthesia, he felt like he was in one long sleep, like a coma. He said he dreamt he was in some place he didn’t recognize, and he said he had no idea which direction to go in. The next thing he knew, he was waking up, and he saw my mom sitting in a chair looking over him. Then it hit him: he survived.
“I know heart disease runs in this family,” he said. “Ever since I turned 64, I kept thinking… how much longer do I have? When is it (a heart attack) going to happen?”
It’s a scary reality to think about, but I’m so thankful that my dad had this surgery and every procedure and test before it that led up to this. Like my boss says, it’s like Life 2.0 for him. He has a new and renewed heart, and another shot at life. This surgery is “standard” for so many people now due to technological advances. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier being part of today’s world than the last 24 hours. My dad is going to be healthy and happy soon.
Did you hear that, Ed? Daddy’s on the road to recovery. He won’t be joining you anytime soon, but I know you aren’t upset about that. I know you aren’t worrying about the surgery anymore and are calm now that his heart has been fixed. Just don’t worry like our mother is about every little thing.