Friday, November 9, 2007

Heart Attack-ack-ack-ack...

I got home this morning at 2:30am from a trip to Coulee City to visit my mom. On Tuesday morning, Kelly and I were having coffee when my stepbrother called to tell us that his dad, my mom's husband, Tom, had a heart attack, and they were currently in an ambulance on their way to a hospital in Moses Lake. We phoned my mom, who was riding along with him, to check on things and her voice cracked and she began to sob. He was stable, but my mom sure wasn't, and that wasn't like her at all. She asked us to pray and that she'd keep in touch. Kelly looked at me and at the same time, we said, "let's go."

Tom, September 2007

Chris arranged with his boss to work from the time Flannery went to school to the time she got out of school for the whole week, we also arranged with Melissa to watch Flannery if Chris needed anything. We drove to Chris' work, grabbed the debit card and headed out of town, calling our siblings on the way to let them know Tom's condition.

On our way, they had decided to life flight Tom to Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, which specializes in heart-related disease, so we stayed on I-84 a little longer and shot up to Spokane. It was a 5 1/2 hour drive with some tears and some laughter and stops to fill the gas tank (YIKES) and grab snacks along the way. It was good to be alone with my sister and just talk and be girls and cry a little too.

We arrived at 6 pm, met mom and her pastor, Pastor Allen, outside Tom's door, and then heard Tom, teasing the nurses, joking with the staff, etc...he sounded great...thanks to the nitro drip. We went in and I offered to let their pastor read him last rites and Tom laughed, as did his pastor, and really, thanks to the 5 different bags of blood thinners, etc, Tom looked fantastic.

Mom hugged us and cried. She was like I had never seen her. A weak, sad woman. It scared me a little, but I kept it together. Kelly, Pastor Allen and I went to the waiting room where we indulged on Cheetos and made jokes and kept it light, and he asked that we convince mom to get some dinner and go to a motel in town, rather than drive 90 minutes back to Coulee City and then back again in the morning. (My mom is frugal beyond belief, so this would be a tough task.) Pastor Allen went home.

After a few more hours and tests, Tom was stable and relaxed and the doctor assured us that his procedure in the morning would tell us exactly what was going on. His cardiac enzymes were highly elevated, though the CT didn't show any tearing or emergent situation.

We went to the cafe in the hospital and had sandwiches and iced tea and then found a Quality Inn down the street where we all three checked in, got some coffee and watched a little TV, while we talked and laughed and cried like 3 best friends, raided the vending machine and then finally fell asleep around 2 am.

L-R: Kelly, Me, our brother, Jonathan, and my mom, Linda 2005

The next morning, we had a yummy breakfast provided by the hotel and went to the hospital and watched as Tom went in for the "procedure." The cath up the artery in the groin area and into his heart. After 2 hours, the doctor came in with before and after pics of the damage. He has one artery 100% blocked to where the rest of the artery was deflated like a balloon. They put in a 4mm stent to open it up and they flushed out a lot of the blockage. He has another artery that is 30% blocked and they left that alone to flush on its' own, while he starts on about 4 new meds.

That evening, mom, Kelly and I went out to dinner at Perkin's Restaurant, and had a huge meal and then went back to the hospital to be with Tom until around 8pm and then back to the hotel for more vending machine fun, coffee and TV. Mom fell asleep fast that night, and Kelly and I were so glad. She was exhausted and emotionally drained beyond anything I have ever seen in her.

The next morning, after another yummy breakfast (can you tell I'm with child and can't avoid telling you about the food?) we went back to the hospital, where Kelly and I got a deck of cards and played Rummy for 3 hours while the doctors observed Tom exerting himself. He was able to be discharged at 5pm that evening.

We drove mom and Tom back to Coulee City, ate a couple sandwiches, gave out sister Alice (age 13) a hug - she had been staying at the Pastor's house while this whole thing was happening, as she refused to visit the hospital because it freaked her out - and we hit the road at 9 pm.

Flannery and her Auntie Alice March 2007

I had zero internet access there, or I would have bloged or written sooner. Anyway, I'm going to sleep for a few hours...I got up to see Flannery off to school. I missed her and Chris so much.

It's so good to be home.

No comments: