Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Good News/Bad News
The surgery went very well. Mom got 5 bypasses, her heart seems to be tolerating and enjoying them. She got two units of blood, which she is also tolerating well. Her labwork since the surgery all came back looking great. That's a relief.
Mom's lungs aren't in great shape. The doctor said she might be able to come off of the ventilator tomorrow, which would be great. He also cautioned, however, that it's entirely possible that she won't be able to come off the ventilator (tube down her throat helping her to breathe) for several days, a week, even a month. And they'll keep her unconscious until she is off the ventilator, so I don't know how long before she'll be awake again. I'm sure hoping for tomorrow. I want to see her awake before I leave for California, which is Friday. I hate the idea of leaving here here, alone and asleep. But I can't stay, not knowing how much longer she'll be asleep. We did talk about this beforehand, and she agrees. That helps, but not as much as you might think.
At one point during the surgery, someone came out to tell me the progress, and they said that her lungs didn't look great. A bit later, I was talking to Richard on the phone, and he said, "I wonder if that could have anything to do with the heater in her apartment..." Crap. I had forgotten about that damn heater. A few years ago, she had a heater die in her apartment, slowly and without much noise or anything...it was quietly, slowly filling her apartment with soot. It happened so gradually that she didn't realize anything was going on, until one day she looked up and realized her walls were gray. Great. So after the surgery (not before, when they might have wanted to know this information, but it didn't occur to any of us that it could be important), I told the surgeon about the heater and the soot in her apartment. He said it's impossible to know what damage that may have done, but it could have done the same damage as decades of smoking. Wonderful. So yeah, she's doing well. But I've been crying, and I'm worried, and I wish I knew whether all of this worry was for nothing, or if this is just the beginning.
Blech. Sorry, I wish I had more good news. I want good news. I'm going to try to focus on the good news that I do have, which is that her heart is doing well, and her body is getting more good oxygen and blood than it has gotten in a long time, and that will help it to be strong and heal. That's where I have to focus, I think.
(cross-posted at Thinking About...)