Talk about a weekend from hell. Saturday was J’s birthday, and what a day it turned out to be. We went to the gym, then out to lunch, and as we were leaving we got a frantic phone call from his mom, letting him know that his father was in the ER and we were needed there immediately. We were already in the car, so we headed straight over to the ER and ran inside. We were immediately taken back and were told that Jim (J’s father) had had a heart attack and we needed to see him right then (I think at this point, they might not have been sure of prognosis, so they wanted us to be able to see him, in case things didn’t turn out well). We went in, J was choked up and was able to tell his dad he loved him, and then we were ushered out.
Apparently, Jim started having chest pains early that morning, but they weren’t bad and he didn’t think anything of them. As the morning wore on, they got worse, and he went to lay down. He came back from their bedroom and told Pam (J’s mom) that he needed to go to the ER, because the pain was really bad. Pam drove him to the ER, where he then passed out. During this time, they hooked him up to all the machines they could find, found out there was a problem with his heart and that he was having a heart attack, and shocked him (twice) in order to get a good rhythm. After that, we showed up, spoke with Jim (he was conscious by this point…but very groggy) and then we were taken to the ER waiting room. The doctor immediately called the Cath Lab team in so that they could do a heart cath on Jim, to see if there was a blockage.
So…once the cath team got there, we were taking to the heart cath waiting room and basically waited for the surgery to be over. They went in, did a heart cath, found the blockage and was able to put in a stint. Jim was awake briefly after that (more like conscious sedation, because he remembers nothing about it), and then they whisked him away to ICU where he was kept intubated and sedated for the rest of the evening/night.
Sunday morning, J went in to the hospital around 4:30am to be there when they woke up his dad. Jim came out of sedation just fine, and a few hours later they took out the intubation tube. By the time I got there (around 8:00am), Jim was talking and seemed like a slightly more exhausted version of his normal self. We stuck around for a few hours, then ran home to do a few things, then came back after lunch and stayed through dinner. By the time we left that evening, Jim was eating, sitting up, talking (and harassing the nurses), and walking the corridors. Today was even better…they took out all the IVs and all he has right now is an external heart rate monitor that is keeping track of everything going on inside.
I never really realized just how scary it is…seeing your parent (through J’s eyes) facing possible death. I mean…we all wonder what we’ll do when our parents die, but on Saturday, J was as close to that possibility as he’ll ever be, short of actual death. It was scary. It was an eye opener. It was one more reason to focus on being more active, eating a healthier diet, and taking the time to be with loved once, because you never know how much time you’ve got. Saturday sucked, but today is a good day. Hopefully, Jim will be released later today, or tomorrow, and we can get back to some degree of “normal.” He actually needs two more stints put in, but they will wait a month or so before they do that surgery, to give him time to heal. The next surgery should be a lot better, so we’re all keeping our fingers crossed. In the meantime, we’re all incredibly thankful to be given more time with such a wonderful guy.