7am Monday morning & Mum & I were at Dads side to go down to the theatre with him. After a six hour operation we were told Dad had had a 5 bypass which was quite a shock to both of us & the Aneurysm removed. We had to wait around another hour or so while he was hooked up to all the machines in the ICU before we were finally allowed in to see him. I knew what to expect as a brother in law of mine had had a triple bypass 10 or so years ago but I was real worried how my Mum was going to handle seeing the love of her life hooked up to a life support machine with a large tube down his throat along with all the other tubes going in & out of him. Although I could see she was upset by how my Dad looked her inner strength came through as always in order for her to handle what lay ahead. That first visit on Monday was short & sweet we had been told before hand all the things that could go wrong & also what to expect over the next 5 days, one day in ICU, 2 days in ICU step down then back to the ward where he would be discharged 5 to 6 days after the operation. Yeah Right! The day after the op what they class as *Day 1* the patient is awake & off Life Support, sitting in a chair, eating etc. In my Dads case he had not woken & was still hooked up to the Life Support machine, obviously not sitting in a chair or eating. Day 2 (Wednesday) he was awake with very slurred speech, very restless, in pain, couldn't coordinate his hands but off Life Support. It had never entered my head that he would not pull through this operation until that day. I had promised myself that I would not cry in front of either of my parents, they needed my support not to see me breaking down but when I looked at the state of this beautiful man that I love so so much I had this over whelming feeling that he was going to die & as I stood there the tears just flowed down my face. Well he did make it through that day & on into Day 3 (Thursday) where he looked even worse! The Doctor arrived to tell us that if there was no improvement in 2 days they would be doing tests for the possibility of Dad having suffered a stroke or fluid on the brain neither of which we needed to hear! For me there was no chance of him having suffered either, having pulled through the day before I just knew he was going to be fine just needed a bit longer than others to get over the op. This was the day however that my Mum cried to see that broke my heart as she felt that day she was going to loose Dad, he lay there in bed telling her not to cry & she made the excuse that she had hay fever! They had to take Dad off the Morphine this day as he was having very bad hallucinations one which we had a laugh about - he informed us he had a Mouse in his mouth another when he was telling the Nurse how sore his foot was he told Mum that *Louie Armstrong* hurt his foot! He also had a lot of bad side effects the worst was when he was given 2 drugs that reacted against each other which led to quite a nasty scene from my Dad, that is when they decided to take him off the Morphine! Day 4 (Friday) he was finally transferred to ICU step down where he was to stay for a day. This also turned out to be a longer stay than expected but at least to us he was improving but we knew that the discharge on the 5th day was not going to happen. Day 6 (Sunday) finally saw him back in the ward & on Day 9 (Wednesday) we all flew back in the Air Ambulance to Nelson Hospital. Once there he was put into isolation in case he had any bugs from Wellington Hospital & whereas at first he seemed fine had days where his breathing was difficult so was back on oxygen. it was discovered while in Wellington that he had fluid on his lungs & they tried to remove it by inserting a large needle via his back into the lungs to draw the fluid out. After the third go (should say VERY painful third go) they realised the fluid had moved so decided to leave it & rely on the tablets he was on to remove it. Because of this whenever he laid down the fluid would move back into his lungs therefore making it difficult for him to breath. Day 10 (Friday) Dad was discharged in the late afternoon much to his pleasure in all he been in hospital for 29 days! That night he spent sleeping in his chair after going to bed & waking to find once again he couldn't breath. Saturday my brother & sister in law arrived up surprising us all (great surprise) but also that night my Dad was rushed back into hospital with breathing problems again. All through this my Dad had been working out the days leading up to his birthday, he really wanted to be at home for it but Sunday 23rd August (his birthday) found him in hospital once again. Tuesday & he was home again, Friday was another trip back in. Saturday my sister surprised him by coming up & Saturday night we celebrated his birthday with party hats, blowers & a special *Fart* blower I bought for Dad that didn't work!!
My Dad's late 76th birthday Dinner with my sister Sue really getting into the *party* theme!
Sunday for me was a very sad day, I drove down to Christchurch with my brother Deane & sister in law Shirlene. I had been dreading this day (as I do whenever I go home to visit) but more so because I knew it meant my Mum & Dad were left by themselves & if anything happens to Dad Mum doesn't have any family support to help her out. Monday I was up at 3.45am (1.45am Aussie time) to get to the Airport to fly back arriving at Coffs Harbour at 10.15pm. I thought once back I would finally be able to let all the emotions I have kept inside for the past month to come out but apart from feeling very drained today (after spending yesterday cleaning flat out & looking after my poor Dylan who is off school with a very nasty bug) it hasn't happened yet!
I have to admit that my Mum & I did have times where we busted our guts laughing, like the time we went into Wellington & my Mum walked into a shop & missed the step & went crashing into the counter sending everything flying, then after looking at a new Mobile phone didn't put it back on the holder properly only to see it drop to the floor in front of every one she said *shit where the hell did that go* not something my Mum would normally say & something I missed as I was in the shop next door at the time. Also the time we were in ER with Dad when he was bought back into the hospital & we would only have to look at each other & crack up laughing, I suppose it was our way of letting the tension go.
I consider myself so VERY lucky to be married to Mr MP&CC, not once did he ask when I was coming home he knows how much I needed to be there for my Mum & Dad, he went to work every day, did all the washing & ironing & cooking & kept our family together, he to me is one in a million.
I also cannot thank the Nurses in Wellington Hospital enough they are the most amazing people I think I have ever met, their dedication is just incredible.
So now my Dad is on the long road to recovery, we have been told it will take up to 12 months before he is back to normal & although I have found quite a change in his attitude which at times was very hard to take I realise it is normal for Bypass patients to act this way, the main & most IMPORTANT thing being is he is still here & for that I am forever grateful......