Check out VA Chronicles with the Old Man part one for the beginning of the story. I will start exactly where I left off.
We got the call that said The Old Man ( affectionate term for My Father) needed to come in and they may take him in through the emergency room. So we get checked into the clinic area and are waiting for the Dr. to come and look at him. We came with a bag packed to stay and we go into an exam room.
I look at The Old Man as he is limping and in pain, but trying to walk normal. We walk into the exam room and he sits down. I start pacing because I now have realized that this is an actual appointment and not what we have prepared for.
Two doctors walk in the Room, one being a surgeon that The Old Man remembered from when he used to work in medicine. He says, “This guy was a resident back when I was working many years ago”, now he is a top surgeon”. I looked at the gentleman and was like, “It sounds like he is the best, hopefully he will be on our team”. The other doctor remembered The Old Man from the Emergency room visit. She says, ” I saw you a few weeks ago, so lets check you out now”. It turns out that they found that my father had a blockage in his leg, in the thigh area, so blood was not flowing to the rest of his leg. She says, “Well, you didn’t get any worse, than the time I saw you last.” My blood started to boil and I was starting to feel my body temperature rise. She then said “you are probably in quite a bit of pain, however because your blood isn’t flowing pain killers won’t work for you”. At this moment I had to walk out of the room. I am looking at My father in a great deal of pain, which I can tell he is masking and then hearing someone say nonchalantly that there is nothing that can be done to stop the pain temporarily.
As I returned to the room, the surgeon came in and explained that he wanted to do a bypass procedure in The Old Man’s leg to get the blood flowing again. I looked and said “Ok, when”, he then mentioned that they would have to schedule something, but someone would have to go to a computer to schedule it. My temperature rose once again as I am looking at a computer in the room with us and trying to figure out why this isn’t urgent and why that computer wasn’t sufficient to use. I looked at My father and saw his face and realized that I won’t get too upset because he may get upset.
So I didn’t get too upset and decided to wait on this phone call from scheduling. So they called and said that we needed to come in again to speak with some people. For me this was the longest process ever, we went to another appointment and I am like is it time to fix this problem yet? This time there were nurses and all kinds of people present that said who they were and what they did. This meeting was a prep to schedule the actual surgery.
So finally 26 days from the time that he was in Emergency and almost went into Emergency Surgery, we were finally scheduled for surgery. That day was June 28, 2016. I woke up early that morning and prepared to go pick my Dad up to go to surgery. He had his bag packed and still walking with that painful limp, he was ready to go. I let him out at the front of the hospital with the wheelchair people and I parked to enter the hospital. They took him up to the surgery waiting room and I met him there. There were some really nice nurses to do everything to get him ready. He gave me some instructions, he said when I come out of surgery make sure to wash my face and prepare me for visitors. As my anxiety rose, they were going to take him to the operating room. I walked with him down the hall and they said Miss, you can’t go past this point. I looked at them and wrapped my arms around My Father and the entire hallway stopped moving as I began to Pray out loud for a successful surgery.
I was then escorted to a waiting room, they said that he would be going into ICU after he came out of surgery. The good thing was another one of his old friend’s was the head of the ICU at this time so it was great. I literally called in every favor that I could think of and happened to have eyes and ears on him for every moment of the surgery.
I waited and waited and a few hours later I saw a bed wheeling past me. He was still unconcious, but I knew that he was alive. I couldn’t hold it together. Now I am not an overly religious person, but I started “shouting”, in the waiting room and praising God for making sure that my father made it out of that surgery alive. A few minutes later I would go back to see him.
I walked into the ICU and followed the instructions to get him a washcloth for his face. The residents came to check on him and said, “The surgery was a success, his blood is already flowing and he has a pulse in his foot. ” Me: “Thank you for the confirmation”.
(Just so that you know when a bypass like the one The Old Man had is done they cut the inside of the leg from ankle all the way up to the thigh. That is something that I need you to remember.)
After a few days in ICU we moved to a regular room and started the recovery process. A resident came around on July 4th to say that maybe he could be discharged so that he could be home for the holiday. I was very concerned as his wound was very extensive and I was not in agreement with that. A couple of days later he was discharged to go home. I was uneasy about this too, but at this point I had to go with what they said.
Before discharge The Old Man was up walking with a walker and doing pretty good. So we told the nurses goodbye and left the hospital on his trip home.
He was very happy to be home and walking even if it was with a walker. That was to be a temporary thing, but as you know….the story continues…Part III coming up soon.