note: the following post refers to the events of friday, december 7. i wrote it late that night but haven’t gotten around to posting it until today!
today was a heart-wrenching and emotionally draining day. at 7:30 a.m., i headed over to USC University Hospital for my father’s second neurosurgery of the year. it was only a few months ago that he had his first experimental procedure, so it was déjà-vu all over again.
i sat with dad in the pre-op area, where words were few, for nearly four hours. i wanted so badly to voice my concern and encouragement, but i couldn’t seem to come up with the right things to say. everything i ran through my mind seemed trite, empty and completely insufficient in expressing how i was feeling. before the anesthesiologist wheeled dad away, erik offered a prayer at dad’s bedside. i somehow managed not to cry.
the procedure’s purpose was to divert additional blood flow to his brain. after years of dealing with numerous health ailments, dad’s carotid arteries had become completely occluded (blocked) and he was experiencing some worrisome fainting spells. each time he would temporarilly lose consciousness and black out. they called these mini strokes, and they posed risks of brain damage as they increased in frequency and length. after seeing some specialists, dad was fortunate enough to be sent to this fabulous medical facility and was assigned to the head of neurosurgery, who also happens to be one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the world. the doctor was inventive, optimistic, and bold. he was willing to try something new to lend hope in what looked like a pretty grim situation.
the first procedure was performed in september on the left side of his head and involved a hook-like incision (approx. 8″ long) that crept from his ear to the top of his head, a craniotomy (opening up the scull 2″), and a bypass of the superficial temporal artery to the middle cerebral artery. it was such a relief when the surgery was completed and the doctor ensured us of a speedy recovery. less than a week later, he was walking himself out the door! it was incredible. they thought he would need lots of therapy to cope with brain damage, but he suffered none!
today he had the same procedure performed on the right side of his head, but with a more invasive incision (to procure a more viable vessel for blood flow).
i tried to keep busy for the next five (yes, FIVE!) hours that he was in the operating room. i was encouraged by the outcome the last time around, but knew that the same risks were being raised again today. my dad is already in precarious health, having experienced multiple heart attacks in his lifetime, one of which nearly took his life. he was “zapped” back on a 3rd attempt after flatlining… major risks of today’s surgery included coma, stroke, paralysis, nerve damage, memory loss and brain damage, internal bleeding and hemorrhaging, and of course, death.
well at 6pm I received THE call. after five torturous hours of question marks and thoughts running wild, the surgeon came out to tell us that the procedure was successful! i was overcome with relief and thanksgiving, and filled with praises to the Lord for sustaining my father yet again. we just got home from visiting him in the ICU. it was amazing to hear him speak (coherently, without any slurring) and see him doing so well so soon! of course it was also difficult to see him hooked up to various beeping machines and an oxygen tank, bleeding from a fresh head wound all over his pillow through his bandages, but my joy overcame all of my fear. he made it. again. God is soooooo gracious.
i have truly apreciated your calls, texts, and emails of concern in recent days. i would ask for your continued prayers as he enters the delicate post-op period. he will remain in the ICU for a few days and we hope that his recovery will rival his last one! 😉
p.s. tonight is mom’s fabulous engagement party! hopefully i have will have some great pics (including some of my new ‘do!) to share this week. 😉