1 Feb 2001

Regarding my father's surgery

Submitted by theshovel
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Hello y'all,

I took off on Thursday PM to meet my family in Miami at the Baptist Hospital there. My dad had surgery scheduled on Friday AM. My little bro, Donald, (who is one of my best friends in all the world) flew in from Illinois, and my sister flew in from Tennessee to be there, too. My mom was there as well (that's my father's wife just in case you didn't get the connection :).

My dad has been very depressed for a while. He (and my mom) have been very active their whole lives as they have worked together every day since moving here to Florida for the past 30 years. In the past few years, illnesses from colon cancer to Mystenia Gravis (a nerve disorder that effects respiratory and eye - leaving him blind in one eye - among other things) to Prostate Cancer (discovered a few months ago) to his most recent diagnosis of an anuerysm in the Aorta, has pretty much put him in a constant state of depression. On top of this, my mom's hip is so bad that she's getting a replacement ... which has had to wait until dad's operation is done. Whew!

On Thursday PM my dad went to sleep immediately while the three of us were in the next room making all kinds of noise in the attempt to go to sleep! Mom said he doesn't go to sleep much anymore. Apparently he was so relieved and encouraged by our presence that he was able to do that. This means he was rested more than he has been for a long time just in time for the surgery.

Let me tell you about this wild surgery procedure (He couldn't have conventional surgery because the doctor said he would die on the table, so he had to go the "experimental" route). They made an incision on his right side about 6" long and about 4" on the left. They put a tube (something like an upside down 'Y') up the main artery that they somehow fastened up near the heart and then down the main arteries of each leg. The blood no longer flows through the aorta itself but through these tubes inside the aorta. Amazing, huh? It took 5 hours.

The results? It went great! No complications, apparently. The doctors said it went as well as they possibly could have expected ... they actually looked relieved as they told us. I think they all realized that it could have easily killed him.

We were able to see him about 2 hours later (we had all waited in the hospital the whole time ... we had two Laptops with us :). My mom's so funny ... she thought he should have been more "perky"! We had a good laugh about that one for a while. Heck, many people look less perky after having their wisdom teeth pulled! :)

We visited him in his room quite a bit. We brought a deck of cards and played a few card games (it is their favorite pasttime). My mom was afraid that we might get thrown out because we were so noisy. hahaha! My little bro and I kept everybody entertained! We had my dad laughing a bit (very little bit) even the evening after the surgery! :)

Here's how serious it was for my dad. He had written the four of us a short letter each that he had put in the suitcase just before we checked him into the hospital. My mom found them after we came back to the room on Friday PM. My dad is not one to express himself. I think he had expected that we would be reading this after he had died.

Here was my letter:

Dear Jim,

I want to thank you for caring. It means a lot to know your children care. So many don't. It's nice that you will be in Miami with your mother. I didn't want her down there all alone ... It will all be in God's hands now. I am proud to have you for a son. I hope only the very best for you. I do love you now and always have. It's nice to know your children like you. They all don't.

With all my love, Dad.

It was an emotional moment for all of us.

He is doing so well he may get released tomorrow.

Love, Jim

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