The Heart of the Matter

Posted by Tisha Peterson on

Hi, I'm Tisha with Enchanted 3 Boutique. This has been a rough few weeks for me.  Some of you may already know, but most of you do not, that my dad had to have a double bypass during open heart surgery last week. I want to share with you, my family's experience and talk about the importance of knowing your body and selfcare. I hope my dad's story helps some of you. Let’s get to the Heart of the Matter!

I'll give you a little background on my dad. For the last year he has joked that he is living on borrowed time. His dad passed away at 54. He was a truck driver and on the road. They received a call that he had passed and it had been due to his heart. My dad is now 55. 

For months my dad was experiencing weakness, tiredness, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and dizziness. It would come and go, so he just let it go. When the symptoms progressed my mom told their primary care physician at one of her appointments, since my dad refused to tell the doctor about it at his appointment. The doctor referred him to a cardiologist, which my dad tried to refuse to go to. It took some brow beating from my mother, but he went in. The cardiologist ordered a stress test. Again, my dad tried to get out of it, but my mom convinced him to go. When he failed the stress test the cardiologist ordered a heart cath. The expectation was, my dad would go in for the Heart Cath and may have to have stents put in. It was a huge shock, to not only us, but the cardiologist as well, that my dad needed to have open heart surgery. 

During the Heart Cath, they found that he had almost complete blockage in 2 arteries and partial blockage in another. The Double Coronary Atrial Bypass surgery was scheduled for the following morning. It was terrifying to get that phone call from my parents. The doctor had told them if he had waited much longer to come in he would have just fallen over and never got up again. There would be no CPR to bring him back. He would have just been gone. 

The surgery was over 4 hours long. My sisters and I were in a car in the all day for news since only my mom could go into the hospital due to Covid restrictions. Once he went in for surgery, my mom came out to sit with us. No one wants to sit in a hospital waiting room by themselves waiting for news. It was one of the longest days of my life. The surgical nurse would call my mom every hour with an update. "He's doing well, the surgery is going well, no complications so far." 

When the surgery was in its last hour my mom got a call from the nurse saying, "Everything is good. Come back up to the waiting room. He will be done within the hour." She went up, and we waited...and waited...and waited. Over 2 hours later and we had no news. No one came to the waiting room to tell my mom what happened. No one called with news. If you know my mom, you know that she can usually keep her cool. She has worked in healthcare her entire life, but she started to fear the worst. Finally she called the Critical Care Unit where she was told he would go after surgery. They didn't have him on their floor, but would transfer her to the Intensive Care Unit. Someone picked up, and she asked if my dad was on that floor. It turns out, he had been in his room for over an hour, and he was doing well. A nurse came and got her from the waiting room so she could go in and see him. She will tell you that was the most stressful and horrifying 2 hours of her life. 

My dad is on the mend after four days in the hospital and some home health nurse visits when he was released. He is doing really well, except for an allergic reaction to his blood pressure medication, but that was manageable. He'll take the next three to six months to heal, but he is no longer "living on borrowed time."

We thank God everyday that this was caught in time and he is still with us. That the surgery went well and that he is healing. He was even out manning the grill already. He is a very lucky guy, especially to have a wife of 38 years that doesn't take no for an answer and will make sure he is well taken care of. If my mom is the glue that hold us altogether my dad is the frame that keeps us strong. I have been blessed with parents that love unconditionally and have spent the last 38 years showing us what a marriage should be. I am so thankful for them. 

The lesson I did learn was that like my father, I do not always make the best decisions regarding my health. So I am making some life style changes. Trying to eat healthier and get more exercise. Following doctors orders and just trying to create a life of general well being. So if you are putting off that doctors appointment go to it. If you are feeling poorly or just not yourself, make an appointment to see the doctor. You never know when it is going to save your life. It saved my dad's. 

Have you had any health scares or advice to give on creating a healthy lifestyle? Comment below and share your stories or ask a question if you have concerns. We'd love to hear from you. Until next time, be safe, be healthy, and love well. 

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