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Friday, March 21, 2014

A Different Kind of March Madness

The US college basketball national tournament is unfolding and it is affectionately known as March Madness among those of us who are fans. Unfortunately for me, the basketball tournament isn't on the top of my list right now...my father's health is. Last week he experienced severe back pain like he's never had before. He went to the Dr. who treated it with pain medicine and took an x-ray but that was it.  He languished in severe pain over the weekend and was unable to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. He thought it was side effects of the pain medicine. Fortunately, he had a routine CT Scan scheduled as follow up to the aneurysm procedure he had in Dec. of 2012.  During this scan, it was discovered that he had a flipped colon.  Turns out this is excruciatingly painful and can actually cause death if not treated in a timely manner. They rushed him straight over the hospital and began monitoring the problem. Because of his cardiac history, he takes Coumadin, a blood thinner that makes emergency surgery difficult.  After measuring his INR( a value that gives a read on clotting ability), it was discovered that he was way out of whack. So the first thing they had to do was to work at bringing that into range. He was given platelets and Vitamin K which work against the drug so the blood will thicken and finally, Thursday evening the surgeon felt confident that he could move forward.  I got a text from my dad's pastor at 1.15 a.m. my time stating that dad had gone into surgery.  At 4.00 a.m. my time, 8.00 p.m. in CA, I spoke with the pastor who informed me that dad was still in surgery and would be for another 2-3 hours. He said I could call the nurses station in about 3 hours and likely get good information.  I tried to go back to sleep.  At 6.30 a.m. Stockholm time I got a text from my cousin stating that Ted was OK.  So I got up and called the hospital and was able to speak with my dad's nurse as well as my dad.  The nurse was happy to report that all had gone well.  They did have to do a colon resection as the part that had knotted was necrotic. (The tissue had died).  But thanks be to God that he did not need a colostomy.  She was impressed with his overall health and strength and felt that he do well in the post-op.  They did have to make an abdominal incision so his recovery will be quite extensive.  He will remain in the hospital for at least 5 days.  Later today, when it is day time in CA I will get more information on the road ahead. For now, I am so thankful that he finally got relief from the terrible pain and that all signs are pointing to a healthful recovery.
Easily, the issues with family members health is the hardest challenge that we face living in Europe. My next decision will be how to manage Dad's post-op care and right now I just don't have enough information to determine a course of action. I am grateful for all the prayers that are being said on behalf of my father and for me as well. I will update regarding his situation here on the blog.