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My dad's having major surgery

We just found out that my dad has to have a triple arterial bypass, and they scheduled the surgery for next week. It absolutely shocked his cardiologist, because he takes amazing care of himself, working out 7 days a week and eating a diet that would put Jamie Oliver to shame. He's 68 now, and he's just always had awful cholesterol.

I've known for a few days, but it really hit me hard a minite ago when my mom told me that he has a 90 percent chance of coming out of it ok. I know those are "great" odds, but I can't help but obsess over that 10 percent. I also don't know if I should fly home to Minnesota or not. It's in a week, so I'd have to cancel on my clients, which I feel ok doing. I just don't know if I'm overreacting, and I don't know where we'd come up with money for the plane ticket, but I wouldn't want to let that stop me either.

I'm not sure if there's a question in here, but I feel like I'm about to have a breakdown on my way to work and had to talk to someone. Thanks.

Re: My dad's having major surgery

  • Sorry Poli,  thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

    I personally think the fact that he IS so healthy otherwise would make his odds even better! Was he taking anything for his cholesterol?

    {{hugs}}
     
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  • aragx6aragx6 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    I'm so sorry to hear about your dad, but at least it sounds as though he's as healthy as he could be going into the surgery. Fi's family has cholesterol problems and it's such a shame to realize that when you have a family history there's often only so much a healthy lifestyle can really do.

    As far as whether or not you should go, no one can really answer that other than you, but I think I would try to go if I could. Maybe it's an overreaction, but I feel as though overreactions should be expected when it comes to parents, children and spouses.
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  • Poli, I will keep your dad in my prayers. Let us know when he's safe and sound out of surgery. *hugs*

    If I were in your situation, I would go there but it's perfectly okay if you don't either. I just know it would make me feel better about things.
  • *HUGS* Poli!  No matter how good the odds are, it is NEVER easy to have a parent go in for major surgery.  My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
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  • Poli, you and your family (especially your dad) will be in my thoughts and prayers.  FWIW, when my grandma had her stroke, the first thing on my brain was to hop in the car and drive to PA from SC (or hop on a plane), but I ended up waiting a few weeks until she was moved to the nursing home so that I could actually spend some time with her.  Could you ask your dad if he wants you to come and keep your mom company during the surgery?  Does she have anyone else to sit with her?
  • Poli, I am thinking and praying for your family and you.  *hugs*.  He will come out of this no problem. 
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  • I'm so sorry to hear that, but it does sound like he has really good odds, since he has taken care of himself!

    Like a pp said, only you can decide if you need to go up or not, but I wouldn't be able to stay here and concentrate on work, so I'd go up purely so I could be there with my mom and be physically present, since I'd be mentally present there regardless of where I physically was.
  • I so, so appreciate all the kind words. You ladies are amazing. Strlz, I'm going to be back home during the second week of July for a friend's wedding, so I'd be there for the tail end of his most intense recovery time. He'll be in the hospital for a week and then resting at home for 4 to 6 weeks.
  • I just went through this with my dad last April (he had a quadruple bypass).  I did go home because he actually asked both me and my sister to be there for him because his wife (my stepmom) had just passed away a few months before that.  It's out of character for him to ask us for anything, so of course I bought a plane ticket that instant.

    If your mom is there, she can give you updates.  If you think you need to go home to be with her, then go home.  I always feel you need to go with your heart on these things.   
    If you can't make it home for the surgery, it is a long recovery and it could be nice if you went home afterwards to keep him company.
  • tpender13tpender13 member
    2500 Comments
    edited June 2012
    I'm so sorry! If you think you'll go nuts waiting for a call, then go. But I think you're fine if you don't drop everything to be there. Stlrz brought up a good point -- how will your mom be? I just spent all day in the hospital on Monday with my best friend whose husband was having surgery to remove a brain tumor. Not necessarily for him, but for her -- I knew she needed the support. Would your mom feel better having you there? I would take that into consideration.

    ETA: Now that I've read your update, I would say to just wait. Maybe take off work the day of, so you can be near the phone to get updates. Perhaps you could add some extra time to your trip in July?
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  • I'm so sorry, Poli.  That's tough to go through.  T&P to your Dad, you, and family.
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  • polichikpolichik member
    2500 Comments
    edited June 2012
    That's a really good point about my mom. When someone else is in need, she tends to go into power mom mode and do fairly well, but this is so huge that I know it will be tough for her. I'm also realizing that my younger brother will need a lot of help, since he's unable to get to work without help. You can probably tell which direction I'm starting to sway. ETA: My mom has a bunch of close friends and a supportive church, but no family anywhere near.
  • Poli - my dad went through this probably 20 years ago and wasn't in near the great shape your dad is.  He was back home from the hospital in days and did great.  And he wasn't the most disciplined man in the world either!

    The last person I know who had a multiple bypass came home in 5 days and is on top of the world.  Only  you can make this decision but if you were one of my girls asking me what I thought you should do, I would tell you to sit tight.  But that would be my advice in my family, and I don't know yours.

    A couple of thoughts I will pass along - the first time you see someone after by pass surgery can scare you because of all the tubes and machines and the noise they make.  I define that as music to my ears and that tells me everything is going according to plan.  Someone gave me a heads up prior to my dad's surgery so I was ok.  Freaked my sister out (but that isn't hard to do) but she figured out quickly that it was all good.

    Do they have good support where they live?  Can they hire a neighbor kid to keep up the mowing, etc?  It is those little ancillary things that can add up for your mom.  

    I will keep you and your parents in my prayers.  I have seen this go very very well so many times so I really think your dad will come out of this just great.  I'm betting you will be shocked at how well he does in a short span of time.
  • I really, really appreciate hearing about people you ladies know who have had a similar surgery and came through it well. My dad has had both hips replaced before on two seperate occasions and had a quadruple bypass about 10 years ago, which Jim was telling me was a good sign since he's had surgery before. I think that at the very least I'll take the day off of work. I love being a therapist, but it's really hard to have your head in the game when something like this is going on.
  • *Hugs* Poli.

    I'm so sorry and will keep you, your dad, and your family in my thoughts.  I'm positive he will be just fine!

    My dad had a heart attack and emergency triple bypass at age 49. I was only 19 and it was absolutely the worst day of my life so far.  Our dads are supposed to be our rocks so seeing them like this is a real shock. This was 16 years ago and that bypass is still fine (we were told they have to be redone every 10-15 years on average). If he can do it, I know your dad will come through with flying colors, especially hearing how in shape and healthy he is otherwise.  Think positive!

    If you're a big worrier or feel like your mom needs you there, go visit him now.  You won't regret it, even if it means charging the whole trip to a credit card. If you decide to wait, that's ok too and I'm sure he'll appreciate some good company when he's recovering at home.

    Take care!
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  • Thanks again for all your support, ladies. I just called my mom and mentioned it, and she was touched and said that she felt pretty ok being on her own but that she needed me to do whatever I needed to feel comfortable. She and my dad are going to talk about it, and I'm about to meet with my supervisor, so I'll talk it over with her too. I'll check in later thanks again for the support.
  • Poli, I'm sending you a hug from Florida.  It's never easy seeing a loved parent have serious health problems.  I know it's probably of no comfort hearing about other people, but I have a lot of patients who are 20+ years out from multiple vessal bypass, and they are still doing great.  
  • Poli, I'm so sorry. I will keep you and your family in your thoughts. And if it were me, I'd probably go home. I know I would be doing way too much freaking out to be useful at work anyway. It sounds like he's going to be just fine, but I'm sure this is really, really scary. *Hugs*
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  • Thinking of you. My grandpa has had to have this surgery twice--once it was a double bypass, once a triple. Just like your dad, he always ate well, couldn't work out a lot because of a war injury in his leg but rode the stationary bike in his house daily. He's just had bad cholesterol his whole life. My grandfather was much older than your dad the second time he had this surgery and did wonderfully! He's 84 years young today and still doing great. I totally understand freaking out; I was nervous when my grandpa underwent that surgery, but I'm sure your dad will do great.


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  • I'm so sorry Poli.  My dad had quadruple bypass about 15 years ago now.  The surgery can be long and the recovery is not easy, but Dad is doing great now.  I'm sure your dad's healthy lifestyle will help in his recovery greatly.

    One thing that we didn't expect and no one told us it was a side effect until later is that open heart surgery can actually cause depression.  Dad went into a deep depression after his surgery.  Even worse is that it took a few months to happen so we didn't make the connection until after he spoke with his cardiologist about it.  A lot of people we've talked to were not warned of that possibility until after they developed the depression, so our family tries to tell people ahead of time when we can.

  • I'm late to this, but I just wanted to add thoughts and prayers for you and your family. 

    My SIL had emergency open heart a few years ago, and I'll second the thought that it looks scary at first with all the tubes and machines, but she was home and doing great in about 5 days.

    Also, Drama is right about the possible depression. Just something to keep in mind and to be prepared for.

    As far as whether to go home or not, see how you feel after your parents talk.  I would probably want my daughters to come home, but wouldn't want to cause them hardship.  So, in other words, I'm no help in that department.

    Good luck to your Dad when he has the surgery.

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  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm sorry, Poli. I'll keep him in my thoughts. *hugs*

  • Poli, I will hold you and your family in my thoughts.
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