It’s been almost one year since my dad underwent triple bypass surgery. Just this weekend, we were reminiscing, saying, “Remember what June was like last year?” Oh man. It was not an easy month. Or summer.
But the surgery was the worst part.
The evening before, people from church had joined our family in the hospital to pray for a successful surgery. It was so strange to be gathered there, Dad perfectly normal, in good spirits although nervous, and thinking, Tomorrow our world could change. We knew that Dad needed the surgery; but it is a terrifying thing to undergo.
Dad stayed alone in the hospital that night, but we were back at 5:30 in the morning, saying goodbye and that we’d see him after surgery. Mom went with him into the OR. Kristin fell apart as they wheeled him away; I did too (but not as much as Kristin– she’s the over-reactor of the family. For example, when she learned Dad needed surgery, she cried and said, “I don’t even know what songs to have at his funeral!!!” Oh Kristin.). Kevin was pretty well put together.
Mom came back to the waiting room in a while (it was a nice waiting room, and we had a private area of it!), and then the waiting game started. There was a computer, so you could see what part of the surgery they were doing at which time. Eventually the nurse came in and told us that he was on bypass now.
Do you know what that means? I didn’t. It meant that my dad’s heart was not beating but that a machine was doing that work for him while they operated. It struck me then how crazy this surgery was.
It was a long day. A long wait. We were all on edge.
But he came out of it just fine, and when we went to see him in the ICU, I saw him lying there, swollen, ashen, chest tubes coming out of him, draining blood, and I about passed out. Was not expecting that.
He had a marvelous recovery. It was tough on him and on my mom, but they did it together, and they are both rockstars. After you have heart surgery, you have a lot you need to cough up, but they break your sternum for the surgery, so it HURTS. A LOT. My poor daddy was in so much pain. The nurse said the more he walked, the better he would feel. At first, Dad’s walks were from the family room, into the kitchen, and around the table. Just that would completely exhaust him. But he kept working on it because he’s dynamite.
And six months later, we were on rides at Disney World!!!! Oh, and P.S. I could not keep up with my dad.