My Dad’s In The Hospital

dad in the hospitalMy dad is in the hospital in Milwaukee tonight. He was short of breath and had pressure in his chest yesterday. That gets you lights and sirens!

My dad’s health issues can be summarized in the one sentence he has said to me more than once.

“You know, Geoffrey, I’m old.”

That he is. My father will be 90 in October. He has a long list of health concerns. His most pressing problem is a blocked and leaking heart valve.

Until recently he’d be out-of-luck. Heart surgery is more than he can take. There’s a new procedure to insert the valve through a catheter, then open it once its in place.

The New York Times had a major story on this in June.

With the procedure, a new valve is folded up and slipped into a catheter — a thin, flexible tube — which is then put into a blood vessel in the groin. When the catheter reaches the base of the aorta — the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body — the doctor opens a balloon that inflates the valve. The old valve remains, pushed aside by the new. Patients are awake and only lightly anesthetized.

“You are putting a valve right above the heart,” said Dr. Lawrence H. Cohn, a Harvard heart surgeon. “If you are not careful, you could obstruct one of the coronary arteries, causing a big heart attack. This is not child’s play. It is not for the fainthearted.”

Tests that were going to span a month have been accelerated. Yesterday’s incident has squeezed the timeline.

My sister is in charge. She was at the hospital yesterday and today. You would want Trudi to be your medical advocate. She’s tough when she needs to be.

If the surgery is successful, as we hope, the change for my dad should be instantaneous. As soon as his blood flow improves his strength and stamina will follow suit. It will be as if a switch had been thrown!

Ninety is still ninety. My dad has one eye, trouble hearing and shakes like a leaf fluttering in the fall breeze.

But he is mentally sharp. He enjoys life. He’s not done yet.

33 thoughts on “My Dad’s In The Hospital”

  1. Best wishes and positive thoughts to your dad! Good luck with the surgery. Even in a hospital gown and bed, he’s adorable-

  2. Jeff,
    Technology is temarkable. My mother survived a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm and has an artifical one for 10 years now. She was 81 when she survived what kills 95% of the people who suffer this.
    She is 91 and amazing.

  3. Geoff….I was associated (on the fringe) of the establishment of the “Hybrid Operating Room” at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport. This OR is designed to do just what your Dad will need. I recently spoke to someone close to this & was told about 2 ladies, both in their early 90’s, who had the heart valve procedure (in the last 4-5 months) They each came through with flying colors and are doing great!!!!

    I feel quite confident that your Dad (just looking at him in the bed) will do very well!! Now, if you can promise him that those Las Vegas girls in past photos will welcome him out of the anesthesia……out of the park home run!!!!

  4. Sending lots of positive purple (healing) thoughts to your Dad. I’m sure he will be back on his feet in no time, then he can visit again, and go on walks with Doppler. 🙂

  5. Geoff! Will be praying for my favorite
    Mr. Harold! He looks wonderful if even in hospital garb. The nurses will adore caring for him. I’m glad he has Trudi. You NEED patient advocates in this day and age. As a nurse, I say question EVERYTHING! (But no worries– He is the kind of charmer that we nurses will fight over! ). Give him a long distance hug from his biggest fan in Danbury!Evi

  6. Loving concern for your dad as he goes through this surgery. Prayers for a successful procedure and complete healing with a full recovery! Sounds like he has a great “voice” speaking up for him!

  7. Geoff, my prayers for a successful procedure and quick recovery for your Dad. He is such a sweetheart. God Bless him. He has a lot of people pulling for him. Give him cyber hugs from us all 🙂

  8. Sending good thoughts to your dad and to you and your family. (1.5 years ago we thought my Mom — then 80 — was going to need a valve replacement, and this procedure wasn’t quite ready for prime-time where she lives. Glad to see it’s becoming standard, in case she circles back around to needing it again.)

  9. Best wishes to you, your entire family and your dad.
    Thankfully medical science and technology have evolved dramatically.
    I join you all in hoping for a successful outcome.

  10. I love that while in a hospital bed wearing an ill-fitting johnny coat, he still has that wonderful grin. Never met the man, but I think he is very special. Sending some strong Protestant prayers for him!

  11. He will come through this with flying colors. Last year I wentvti an inservice on this valve at work- it’s a godsend for people like your dad with all his comorbidies. Thinking of you and your dad!!

  12. Add my prayers to those above—-no matter what our belief–or what religion we practice–there is only one God. I think you should send him this list of prayer offerings and well wishers–and keep him smiling. The advances that have come available in medicine and surgery are, within just our lifetime, are amazing. And your dad has a wide range of ‘rooters’ for him. God’s blessings to all of you.

  13. Many prayers and healing thoughts for your dad! He looks remarkable for his age. And dont chew your fingernails off! He’ll do fine with the surgery.

  14. I am praying my Dad can have this surgery. He’s 88 almost 89. Getting weaker by the day.
    Pray your Dad comes out well. Thank you for sharing.
    Give your Dad a big hug and kiss! Love to all Fox family 🙂

  15. My 91 year old aunt had a tavr procedure last January She is doing remarkably well it is amazing what can be done today Wishing your Dad a speedy recovery Good speed

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