Tuesday, January 20, 2009
i really hesitated blogging about this because it seems so stupid to even involve the internet but i feel like i need my friends to know what is going on, and this is much easier than calling every person in my life and explaining what happened over and over again. basically to make a long story somehow shorter, my dad collapsed at work on fri, around 4:30pm. when hank and i got the call from my mom, we had no idea what happened, only that my dad had collapsed and was being rushed to the hospital. hank and i immediately got in the car and headed down to phx, having no idea what was going on. it was horribly scary having no information. my mom and sister arrived at the hospital and saw my father on a stretcher going past them into the er. there was a flurry of people and emts and nurses so they only saw him for a moment before they were whisked into a side room, still not knowing what had happened, if he was alive, etc. my mother said when the social worked took her into the room she assumed they were informing her my father died, because they sent a social worker instead of a nurse or doctor, and called her into a private area. the social worker told my mom that my dad had had a massive, massive heart attack while sitting outside at work with a colleague. he fell off the bench and onto his face, hitting his head very hard. his colleague is on the bomb squad and has had lots of training with cpr, and immediately began administrating cpr to my father. he was having trouble because my dad had a blockage in his throat so he was without air for a short while. a woman was walking by and ran to call 911 so the man (josh) could continue cpr. my father was not breathing and had no heart beat/pulse. the ambulance arrived 7 minutes later and found my father, dead. they shocked his heart numerous times and eventually got his heart pumping and him slightly breathing. he was brought to maricopa medical center, which was the closest trauma center. upon arrival my father had gone back to flat-lining and they rushed him into the er. the wonderful doctors and nurses were able to bring my dad back, but he was still unconscious and they weren't sure if they would be able to wake him up. the doctors then realized my dads legs had gone pale with no blood flow or pulse whatsoever, and upon further testing over the next hour while keeping him somewhat stable but in critical condition then were able to see that his leg arteries were completely blocked off. they also initially thought that in addition to all of the major arteries in his heart being blocked, it looked like his aorta was completely severed. they couldn't give him blood thinner to fix his heart because of the severed aorta, and they couldn't fix his aorta without the heart being fixed, so it was a horrible spot and my mom had to sign a paper giving them permission to do the incredibly risky heart procedure. the odds of my dad surviving that procedure was slim to none and as they began this hank and i arrived. we didn't hear back from the doctors for about 2 hours and it was getting terrifying, as we didn't know what was going on. they came out and told us that miraculously my dad's aorta was not severed as initially thought, and they were able to place three stints into his heart, opening up a few of the major blockages. his legs were still not getting any blood and the doctors told us that the possibility of amputating his legs was very great, which was another horrible bit of information to add to everything. after they fixed his heart and got blood flowing though, his leg arteries opened back up, nixing the amputation idea thank god. so at this point my dad is in very critical condition. his head had been completely bashed in via the fall, they did a scan to look for brain bleeding (there was none), but they did inform us that because my dad was without oxygen for so long there was a possibility he may never wake up, and if he did, he would be brain damaged. time goes by, and my dad is put into the icu, not doing very well. he makes it through the night and finally wakes up the next morning (saturday), breathing tube in, neck brace, a million different ivs and monitors, etc. it was the most horrible thing to see my dad like that. his eyes weren't open very much and he just kept shaking his head back and forth and fighting the breathing tube. he was not lucid at all so we began to prepare for him being brain damaged. but as the morning went by he began to try to communicate with us with his hands, spelling things with his fingers, etc. they took the breathing tube out around 4pm on saturday, and my dad began to be able to talk to us. his short term memory was completely gone, and he couldn't remember things we told him 2 minutes prior. over and over again he would touch his head, feel the blood, and ask what was going on, how it happened, where he was. we would tell him that he died and was revived, etc and he would break down. 2 minutes later he would forget and ask again. it was horrible and i felt so bad for my poor daddy having to deal with this. he was so scared and because it was icu he could only have visitors every 3 or 4 hours for 30 minutes at a time so he was alone a lot, confused and scared. my mom, sister, hank and i stayed in the hospital every moment because things were so up and down it was terrifying to leave for even a minute. time went on and he continued to be in the icu. sat night, sun, mon...and as time went on my dad got a bit better. the doctors and nurses at this hospital did a great job saving his life, but the aftercare was atrocious (with the exception of the amazing todd- best nurse ever) and the hospital was absolutely horrible- very dirty. it was the closest hospital to the accident so we had no choice, and once he was there, there was no way to move him in his critical condition. so we were stuck with negligent and inadequate care and it was horrible. my sister's friend is a heart surgeon, in addition to hank's step dad, so we had many opinions that all were alike, but all differed from the state hospital's surgeon. the surgeon at the medical center wanted to push ahead with a risky surgery and it was not a good situation- the staff tried to bully my sweet little mom into making bad decisions and it was not good. monday morning hank's mom came down and assisted us in forcing the hospital to move him to banner baywood, which is the best hospital for his situation and where his doctors are. hank's mom is a very assertive woman who has a major part in arizona's health industry, so she knew exactly what to do and who to call. she arranged everything and when the emts arrived to transfer my father they realized that my dad had no iv in and no oxygen, which is completely illegal and negligent. any time you are a patient in the hospital (especially icu) ivs are necessary in the event they need to administer drugs quickly. so my dad had had no fluids or oxygen, and was having a hard time breathing due to these idiotic, and life-threatening mistakes. the situation was remedied by the wonderful emts and off my dad went to banner. he arrived into the new hospital (which is so much different than that horrible medical center, and a million times better), and he is still there. he is in better shape, and slowly gaining strength. his doctors have decided his best course of action is to do open heart surgery, and get a triple bypass, either this weekend or monday of next week. it is a scary surgery and i am terrified but i know my dad will be okay. i truly thought my dad had died on friday and i can't even explain what we all went through. i feel so fortunate my dad is awake, with no brain damage. his only problem is slight short term memory loss, which is normal for his trauma, but that will go away over time. it's a really hard week for our family. my dad obviously went through this horrible event and is still going through it, and my mom is having a surgery on her colon friday to remove pre-cancerous tumors. if you know my family you know my mom battled breast cancer last year (resulting in beating the cancer but having a double mastectomy) so it's been a rough couple of years. fortunately my sister is able to take my mom to her surgery while my dad is at the hospital friday. i am hoping all of the above makes sense. i really didn't want to post about it, but i wanted to share what is going on with you, my friends. please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. we are all staying positive and i know we will get through this. the more positive energy and thoughts sent my mom and dad's way the better. and thanks for reading.