Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Strides and Stressors

Dad is taking a nap right now, so I'm taking this opportunity to blog and give some form of update on the last couple of days. I want to thank folks again for responding to my blogs by leaving comments, by replying to my twitters, and my facebook status updates as well as other forms of reaching me. The comments are encouraging, and as often as possible, I share them with my dad.

On Monday, Dad had an incredibly difficult day. I shared that with you later monay afternoon I believe. Yesterday, we received the results of his echocardiogram. Before his heart attack, he had 55% ejection fraction for his heart. Monday, he was at 35%. This is understandable since his heart did sustain some damage from the attack. The good news is that because Dad walks so much (and will continue), his heart will recover and gain in strength.

In fact, that's one of the coolest things about yesterday. For as bad as Monday was, Tuesday was hugely encouraging. He had a few visitors, and they were spaced out perfectly throughout the day. Each visitor was an incredible encouragement to him. We had some good conversations during the day, and on three different occasions, he walked for about 20 minutes. He also stood up to shave and he bathed himself yesterday. In the evening, I brought in a salad and a sampler platter from fazoli's for us to split (Borrowed my sister's car when she came to visit). We also talked with the doctor about starting Coumadin (which is a nasty little drugnasty little drug btw), and we finally had a visit from a dermatologist who could explain and remedy the rash he had developed on his back and chest over the last few days.

Dad has been making some serious strides in attitude and in physical health over the last day or so. I'm not sure the cardiac rehab people know what to do with him because he's so much farther along than what they expect a quadruple bypass patient to be. It's kind of comical really. They came in to explain to him on monday that he could esy into exercise by walking for three minutes each day for two or three days. I told the lady that he was already walking 15+ minutes multiple times daily.

Today, we were given a glimmer of hope for going home too. If they can get his coumadin dose where they want it, he may be able to go home by Friday. You can pray for wisdom on the part of the physicians in making that determination.

At the same time there have been major strides, there are still a few stressors. One that emerged today is a tightness and pain in the arch of the foot of the leg from which veins were removed for the bypass. It has hampered his walking and his stride, but hopefully a visit from a podiatrist will be ale to help with that and a couple of ingrown toenails. Ouch!

The other big stressor is this. Because dad's Ejection Fraction value for his heart is less than 40%, this means that his condition is described as Congestive Heart Failure, or CHF. This is a scary term used to describe a heart that can't eject blood at the same rate that it is entering the chamber. This causes "congestion" of the heart, and leads to fluid build-up in the feet and the mid-section of the body (among other things). It's usually regulated with a cocktail of drugs that aid in relieving symptoms in different ways, but it can cause some serious lifestyle adjustments. The good news in dad's case is that because of his lifestyle up to this point, his heart is in pretty good condition, and has the potential to recover so that CHF could only be a temporary problem for him.

These next few months are gonna be challenging as he moves along the road to recovery, but the good news is that he is already one week along the road, and he's gathering strength at an incredible pace.

This entry is getting a bit long, but I want to thank you again for your encouragement and prayers.

1 comment:

T@R@ said...

glad to hear that your dad is doing so well on his road to recovery....if you guys need anything please let me know (questions about coumadin or any other meds, or anything else for that matter!) praying that your dad will be home soon!