Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving & A Heart Attack

The Thanksgiving season whirled its way in and out of my life once again. Although, every day of the year should be full of thankfulness!

I thoroughly enjoyed preparing our Thanksgiving meal. Maybe because the menu requires no fussing and fretting over. Just fix turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravy, cranberries, rolls. My stepdad, who is a wonderful baker, provided the dessert, a rich layered carrot cake.

Three of our four children were here, along with my mom and stepdad, and Husband's father. After the dishes were cleaned up, I sat with Mom on the sofa while she showed me her church's photo directory, pointing out the people she's acquainted with. Somehow, we ended up talking about her uncle who committed suicide many years ago when Mom was about ten years old. She said she clearly remembers the morning......her parents received a phone call and then hurriedly left the house, saying that the uncle was sick. Mom said she went into her room and knelt by her bed and prayed for her uncle, but she had the feeling that her prayers were simply bouncing off the ceiling, not reaching onward to God. We discussed how interesting that was, because the uncle actually was already dead when Mom was saying those prayers for him. Maybe Mom somehow intuited that.

During the Thanksgiving afternoon, Father-in-law complained of a little shortness of breath, but he attributed it to his asthma acting up. By late afternoon he had headed for home. The following morning, on Friday, we received a call saying Father-in-law had been taken to the ER by his brother. The doctors there believed he was in the process of having a heart attack. After doing some barn chores, Husband and I headed to the hospital, about 20 miles away. Father-in-law had been placed in ICU, but was conscious, and we were able to spend time with him. He was stabilizing, as IV tubes containing saline, potassium, heparin, and antibiotic for suspected pneumonia, dripped into his veins. He was talkative, complaining about this and that, which means he was acting normal! That was good.

On Monday, I met with his cardiologist who stated his opinion that Father-in-law should be transferred later in the week to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for more specialized treatment. His heart is weak, the doctor said, and it has several blockages. Bypass surgery is needed, but will be risky. Any option for Father-in-law is risky at this point, with his age and his heart's weakened condition. Oh, my.

Then yesterday, Tuesday, all of a sudden in the afternoon we received word that Father-in-law was being prepared for immediate transfer to Mayo by ambulance. We made and received many phone calls, trying to figure out whether someone needed to make the two hour trip to Rochester tonight already. Husband's brother and wife who live in Wisconsin were able to go, thank goodness. That sister-in-law is an RN, so she would be a good one to be there.

This afternoon, Husband and I attended his great-uncle's funeral in a nearby town. On the way home, we stopped and checked on Father-in-law's house, and got his mail. My brain is slowly realizing all the little things that need to be attended to for him. Sister-in-law phoned from Rochester, saying that they had met with a cardiologist, and were going to meet with a surgeon. Tonight she will call again and let us know if a plan of action has been formulated yet. I told her I'd be glad to drive up and be with Father-in-law tomorrow, but if surgery is planned then some of his sons may want to go up. Its more complicated for all of them, because they have jobs to worry about, so we'll see how it goes.

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