Monday, August 29, 2011

A Big Monday

Sunday was a very long day. After leaving the hospital around 2pm, I didn't get away from the Apt until 7. Helen was still there, I don't know how much longer she stayed. So it was definitely a late supper for the parents.

Monday was going to be a busy day. We had an 11:15 appointment with Dad's cardiologist at Presbyterian Hospital and then needed to be at UT Southwestern on the other side of town by 12:45 for Mom's 1 o'clock radiation treatment. The gears of heaven were going have to be well oiled and turning smoothly!

Dad slept great Sunday night and started Monday strong out of the gate, but immediately ran out of gas and  was totally exhausted when I arrived to take them on our grand outing. But they were ready and zipped out of the Apt. and just like that we were at Dr. Musselman's. After a brief spat over whether we really had to fill out the medical history forms (Mom said she been told that it wouldn't be necessary) we sat down to fill out the forms while we waited. Before she was finished, we were whisked back to an examination room and after a quick check of the vitals and an EKG, we waited for Musselman.

And waited and waited. Dad gets really worked up in these situations.

"Come on, come on, come on!" "Darnit why won't they come?" "Jeez! What can be taking so long?" "Come on, come on." "Oh, come on, Doc!"

This time Mom and I shared his sense or urgency as there was very little time between this appointment and her treatment. We were just about at the time when we would have to leave Musselman's to get to Southwestern Medical . We were all ready to get up and leave when Dr. M arrived. The sense of urgency seemed to vanish!

He asked how Dad was feeling and listened carefully as Dad elaborated. Then he carried out his exam and pronounced judgement. "You know, you're 86 years old and this was big, major surgery and recovery is going to take time. You are really doing great." Not the first time we've heard that drill! Maybe it's the bottom line truth. The problem is that Dad has a very hard time accepting it and an even harder time accommodating the changes in his life necessitated the facts of his condition.

"Sleep. Eat. Exercise. Rest." Don't try to do too much, but try to do a little more every day. You will have good days, you will have not quite so good days. Slowly you will get very close to where you were before."

I asked about the stroke diagnosis. Dr. M did not show much concern. He said that it's common after open-heart  surgery for tiny clots and particulate to circulate and get stuck. He made the aortic valve sound like a rusty old piece of pipe from under the sink! And he said that the recovery regimen for the mini-stroke is the same as recovery regimen for the surgery. "Sleep. Eat. Exercise. Rest."

Dad goes back to Musselman in a month.

Then we were out in a flash and made it out of the office, down the elevators, into the car and and across town into the valet park at UT Southwestern's Radiation Oncology Center in about 30 minutes, right on time for Mom's appointment, thank you very much!. She hopped out of the car, said hello to her new friends at the valet park and went inside. (I think this sense of independence and  her ownership of her treatment process gives her strength.)

And Dad and I scooted over to Braum's for Shakes and Burgers. He had a la-a-r-ge chocolate shake, a chili-cheeseburger and fries. Was quite dignified as he ate the burger with knife and fork! The shake was made with hand scooped vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and milk. He drank every drop.

We got a monster shake-to-go for Mom and went to pick her up. Dad went into the building, saw the huge David Bates painting and we were looking at the tall orange Chihuly in the Seay Building lobby, where Mom wandered and met us. Then it was a longish walk through the treatment center and back to the car.

Dad had started out the day exhausted!

The shake picked him up but he went crashed on the way home and went straight to the bed.


1 comment:

  1. A big day but it sounds like it actually went great. He made it all the way through; he couldn't have done that two weeks ago. Progress hast be made in such little steps. A big day off for you too. Love.