Monday, November 29, 2004


it's strange to see my father this low.
i don't think i ever have. at least not like this.

i went to see him for the first time since the operation today: i stayed away all last week because of that flu i had gotten myself from the 6th graders. i don't think there are many worse moments for getting a viral upper respiratory infection than in the first few days just after bypass surgery.
i'd been talking to him over the phone, usually just for a few words.
seeing him today was different.

it's not that he's looking awful right now. he isn't. but he's sick, or maybe more accurately: in extreme recovery.
he is extremely low on energy, both physical and mental.
physically, he's pale. he has lost weight. he moves extremely carefully. while he says that he is not in pain, he seems worried about hurting himself though. he showed me his scars, and those look wonderful: they are long and straight and totally non-yucky. the scar down his leg runs from his ankle to well above his knee. the scar on his chest runs from his collarbones almost to his bellybutton. the lower part of it is still covered in bandages and there are still wires sticking out of him to which a pacemaker could get connected, and his black and blue from the meds and the needles but it looks great.
when i saw his chest scar, all i could say was "cool!" because it truly is cool in my book that you can do this amazing heart surgery stuff these days, and safe lives. if i could choose between a heart attack and bypass surgery, i'd opt for the latter, thank you very much.
my dad was offended by that "cool!" of mine. he almost started crying. he thought i was ridiculing him, when what i had been wanting to do was ease his worries about his scars and make him feel positive about it.
the truly frightening thing right now is his mental status, his cognitive abilities.
he has trouble following conversation. he keeps repeating the same sentence throughout conversation. "you can't imagine what this is like".
he's low. he's really really low. he keeps wondering about why this had to happen, and while that's a good thing to do, generally, to change behaviour in the future, right now, he shouldn't do this yet but save this for cardiac rehabilitation.
he also sucks as accepting help because he hates being sick and needy so much. he hates being helpless in front of the nurses. he hates asking for help changing his pjs.
and he's a trooper when he really shouldn't be a trooper. right now he shouldn't waste energy on changing his pjs himself. he should save this energy for healing. it's been 5 days. just five days. right now, all he needs rest.
physically, he's right up to par. off the icu in the right time frame. off the lines and tubes and the heart rate monitor in the right time frame. he's supposed to stay at the great cardiac clinic for another 5 days.

i'm worried about him becoming depressed.
he surely looks like it. i know depression from the inside out, and he is not looking too good right now.
i'm trying not to panic right now, trying to stay calm, trying to support him and my mom and being update and constructive and positive. it was different when i didn't see him all week. it was much less real. maybe it was good it wasn't as real last week. i might not have held my shit together as well.
i'll have to stay around up here till next sunday. i can't leave my mom, can't lave my dad, can't leave them alone right now. and i won't.
i'll read up more on the aftermath of bypass surgery. from what i've read so far, this is normal and to be expected. i'm sure there is help out there when it comes to coping with this.

my dad will get better. he'll make progress every day, and if he can't one day, he'll catch up the next, i'm sure.
but this is scary. terribly scary.
lying in his hospital bed today, being shaved by my mom and getting his face washed by her, he looked old. really, really old. his face looked a little like my grandfather, the one who died of a heart attack years before i was born. my dad looked old beyond his years.

i hope this will go away.