Heart trouble

You’ll remember my Dad was Behaving Strangely (or, at least, irritatingly, as we none of us thought it that strange, for him at least (oh woe)) last month? When announced he’d be in town the very same weekend we’d all be out of town because of the Enormous Family Wedding? And then he ended the whole sorry miscommunication saga by announcing he was going home, so there?

And we all rolled our eyes?

He got back in touch this weekend, to discuss what had gone so tits-up.

And, err, he had. He’d been and gone and actually finally had the Goddamn heart-attack his doctors have been threatening him with for years.

Luckily – obviously, in fact, as I was a) talking to him, and b) he’d been able to go home the next day – it was a very minor one. He’d been at his mother’s house on the Saturday (his mother’s! He had a heart-attack in front of his mother) and suddenly went blue and sat down with a thump, but he never lost consciousness and the A&E doctors were quite chirpy about his prognosis, so the next day he went the 500 miles home again. And basically crawled into his den, pulled his blankie in after him, and went incommunicado for a month. (Oh, fucking hell I never asked how he got home. Did he drive? I wouldn’t put it past him to drive 500 miles 12 hours after being let out of hospital for a benighted heart-attack. He once drove home with a fractured skull. But still. I’ve gone completely cold just thinking about it).

The upshot is, Dad is to have a coronary bypass, at some point in the next three months.

I can’t see Dad dealing with that very well. They have to crack your ribs open. It all hurts like hell and they put you on morphine and your bowel packs up. My father-in-law had heart-surgery in 2009 and told us all about it, and how long it took to heal, and how it hurt, and he was (is) much, much fitter than my Dad, and was having surgery to prevent an existing condition (caused by rheumatic fever in his youth, and not by crappy lifestyle choices) deteriorating. My Dad is quite fit in terms of bloody-mindedly yomping up mountains, but is a border-line alcoholic and has smoked since he was a fetus and he weighs about 120 lbs soaking wet despite being six feet tall. And he only eats once a day.

Like I needed something else to worry about.


33 responses to “Heart trouble

  • wombattwo

    Oh May. I’m sorry, can I do anything? Your dad’s up north somewhere, right? I suspect you probably need a hug right now, so one will be arriving shortly, by special delivery.

  • MFA Mama

    Urrrrgh! This is not unlike that time MY crazy old dad drove off the edge of a volcano (not into the center, though, just–JUST!–down the side…), a couple of miles into a jungle, and into a tree. There he sat attempting to get a cell signal until his battery died, at which point he hiked back up the side of the mountain to the road and hitched a ride into town.

    A couple of days later when he finally convinced his insurer to send a towtruck with a winch, they couldn’t find exactly where he’d gone off the road; the jungle healed itself that fast and his Subaru Outback went feral, I s’pose.

    I was quite chagrined when he bought another car.

    (oh, and when HE had that heart attack it was a major one, and they had to keep him in ICU until his quadruple bypass, and less than a month later he got on a bloody airplane and went to AMSTERDAM by HIMSELF)

    You really can’t worry about them but so much, really; they’ll do what they bloody well please. Here’s hoping that your dad, like mine, is only capable of being HALF-dead at a time; mine’s been that way so long I think he’s achieved a sort of half-immortality. Either that or he’s got death trapped up a coconut tree…

  • Quiet Dreams

    So very sorry about your dad’s heart. It makes you feel so helpless when a parent is ill. Mine have had (relatively) minor bouts with things, but it’s very scary. So sorry.

  • a

    So sorry to hear that. The bypass is surprisingly mentally challenging as well as physically. (i.e. when my mom had hers done, she was an absolute bitch for months) So, bring on the patience, and best of luck to your dad.

  • Illanare

    I’m so sorry to read this. Sending hugs.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Oh, buggery fuckington. Dicky ticker NOT on the order list: poor May’s Dad. (Poor May, too, who will doubtless worry enough for the rest of the family put together, and then some.) At least the mystery of the strop is no more, although I do wish it had been a proper flouncing-off for no discernible reason as opposed to something requiring significant surgery.

    It always beats me how they can actually TELL that the heart, which has returned to normalish, has had an attack (altho I bet Wombat knows!), and the degree of the severity thereof. Wonders of modern medicine.

  • manapan

    Poor guy! And poor you! I hope he harnesses all his stubbornness into recovering.

  • Bee Cee

    Sounds pretty horrible. Hope it goes as smoothly as possibly.

  • Bee Cee

    Possibly?! I meant possible. I’m not functioning properly, as you can tell.

  • twangy

    Oh man.That is a worry. Urg. Ooh. I think I might have been a bit irked/mystified by proxy at his behaviour – so eh, I take it back! Sorry, May’s Dad.

    For what’s it’s worth, my Da came out of his (quadruple) bypass very well, scary as it was. Oddly enough, the experience gave him a whole new lease of life. I will be hoping for a similar outcome for your father. Soonest.

    • May

      Yes, indeed, very much hoping he’ll be yomping as yompily as ever. And we shan’t tell him we all rolled our eyes at him.

      QUADRUPLE? Golly. Impressed. Can you do quintuple? Or is quadruple as bypassed as you can get?

  • bionicbrooklynite

    oh, damn. i am sorry, may. hope he heals fast. and with a minimum of additional worry-inspiring events.

  • bunny

    I normally hid quietly in the background like a creepy peeping tom, but I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s difficult enough worrying about a parent who cooperates, but having had one that sounds rather similar to yours, I extra sympathize. I like the whole new lease on life idea floated above, which I hope will come with magical pleasantness powder.

  • Betty M

    Oh no poor Dad of May. No fun at all. But generally medicine seems to have this bypass thing down pretty well these days. The morphine bowel strike will be a doozy though cos they never talk about it before so the operated on expects pain in the region of the op And is told about it in advance but the other stuff aint mentioned. I expect being bloody minded (see mountain climbing etc) will stand him in good stead. And I’m sure all those Bulgatlrians who live forever eating yoghurt up mountains don’t eat much either so it seems to be one of those things that is better got you than you might think. Anyway sending all the best for you both.

    • May

      I shall warn him of the Morphine Bowel myself (alas alas I am familiar with it. Ohhhh, teeny-tiny violins).

      I think my Dad even eats yoghurt these days. Extraordinary.

  • thalia

    How very upsetting and shocking. I am glad things seem to be on the not-totally-awful side in this case.

    Re the morphine, there are ways to help it not get so bad if you are aware. When my mum had her hysterectomy I fed her dried and fresh apricots with yogurt for breakast and for pudding at at least one other meal- very superior apricots you understand. And cooked brown rice etc etc. i don’t remember her being constipated that badly although I may be blanking. And of course yomping is a good thing to do asap after the op.

    • May

      ‘Very superior apricots’ – I like it.

      I am banned from seeing Dad until he’s up and about again. He is FREAKISH about being seen while vulnerable. He even went all weird about letting any of us see him when all he’d done was cracked a rib falling onto a bollard. He’ll have to sort his own apricots out.

  • Amy P

    *rather belated hugs*

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