The second half of the first day, and the beginning of his new life :
After he arrived at the second hospital around 1:30 and was taken by the paramedics directly to the operating room, the family and I had a brief moment with him in the hallway as he was wheeled past us. Once in the operating room, an angioplasty was performed to clear 100% blockage of his front artery and 4 stents were installed. A balloon was inserted through his femoral artery to help his weak heart to keep pumping. He was strapped down to the bed, intubated and was sedated until around 6:30pm.
Just before he arrived at the hospital, the cardiologist met with me and told me what procedures they were going to do. I was also advised to prepare for other possibilities since he had technically died and they weren’t sure if there had been damage to his organs or heart. I was warned that he could come out of the surgery with liver damage or even brain damage. Twenty minutes of CPR was a long time to have your oxygen flow interrupted.
As he began to wake up, he seemed to be recovering well. Including a moment when someone said something that caused him to make a hand gesture typical for him. His hands were the only things that weren’t strapped down. I know this moment is another point where we are very lucky. I know that some people do not get to experience this happy moment and I do understand how difficult that would be for you.
He stayed in this ward until the next morning when they slowly started removing tubes and lines from him. The biggest relieve was the intubation tubing because he was so thirsty. He had been asking for water ever since he woke up from the surgery. The next was the femoral tubing and the balloon which had been helping his weakened and stressed heart during the last 12 + hours. He was then transferred to the Cardiac Ward for recovery. It was here that we started meeting specialists and hearing instructions for the changes that needed to be made. It’s here where this blog really starts.
Everyone’s story of the first 48 hours is going to be very different but I suspect once you’re “out of the woods” you may see some similarities on navigating the recovery.
What helped me, was to realize that both the patient and family are really just passengers at this time – you’re waiting for the body to begin healing and recovery, you’re waiting for the medicines to start working or keep working and you’re waiting for the brilliant medical team to do what they need to do. And we all sit either on the recovery conveyor belt, or watching our family member on it, going through all the processes that need to happen in hopes that he/she will one day be able to walk out of the hospital and try to live again, albeit with many changes. There wasn’t a need to be emotional, I just had to take each moment as it came.