Monday, May 03, 2010

Dad: One Year Later

Well, sort of. Last year on April 27th, my dad was taken to Charleston, WV to have a routine test done to determine if his arteries were blocked. He found out that four of the arteries around his heart were 99%, 95%, 90% and 69% blocked. A few minutes after this determination was made, he had a massive heart attack.
I was in San Francisco, CA for a week of meetings with Nuru’s Senior Director Team. My friends at Nuru, bought me a plane ticket and took me to the airport for a red-eye flight to Charleston so I could meet up with my dad, sister, and best friend in the whole world, Willie, at the hospital.
My dad spent about two weeks in the hospital in recovery before he came home. When he came home he was week from the surgery (they break open your chest to do a quadruple bypass), he was really weak, and had lots of pain and discomfort. He was accustomed to walking about 12 miles per day, and he was unable to walk around the block for several days.
For all of you medical people, before his heart attack, he had an ejection fraction of 55%, and afterward it dropped to 35%. When he had an echocardiogram done last October, he had increased his ejection fraction to 40%. I imagine it has increased since then as well.
Last Monday, I went to work out with him—he has a membership at a local gym, and after twelve weeks of cardiac rehab last summer, he has built a habit of exercise (beyond walking). He goes three times a week, and works through a circuit of resistance machines as well as 20 minutes on an exercise bike, seven minutes on a rower, and 45 minutes on a treadmill. He’s no slouch as he goes through this routine either. He spends the first 35 minutes of his treadmill workout walking at 4.0mph, at a 4% incline (try it sometime). At 35 minutes, he increases the incline to 15% and continues at the 4mph pace for an additional 4 minutes. Then he gradually lowers the incline back to 4% to finish his 4mph walk. At 68 years of age, he’s probably in better condition than most people I know at my age.
It’s pretty amazing to see his level of recovery at about one year. I’d even go so far to say it’s been miraculous. I’m so thankful that he was in one of the best cardiac hospitals in the region when he had his heart attack, and I’m extremely grateful for his fast and strong recovery.
Friday night, he and I went to the blue and gold WVU intersquad scrimmage. Last year when we went, he was complaining about a tightness in his chest. This year, he was feeling much stronger, and looking much more energized.
For those who have been reading this blog for a while, thanks so much for your prayers. Together, we walked through a pretty difficult season, and I’m truly appreciative for the opportunities that I have had to spend time with my dad as he grows stronger day-by-day.

1 comment:

Kat said...

Billy, having worked out with your Dad several times let me applaud him for working so hard at being well. He runs circles around me and encourages me to do my best. Bless you for all you do. We are at Relay for Life this weekend. Your Mom is in our thoughts. God Bless. Kat