And then this happened, described by Nathan for the time period of December 7-12:
My Dad, Jinks, had a heart attack last Wednesday evening. He went in quickly and was OK afterward. Testing suggested deeper problems and an open-heart bypass surgery was scheduled for Friday morning. I got the news Thursday morning. After flying and then driving the 2 hours from Vegas to St. George, Eve and I got to the hospital 10 minutes before the end of visiting hours and were able to join the rest of my family in seeing my Dad and wishing him luck.
The surgery on Friday went longer than expected, requiring 9 grafts (a nonuple-bypass?) instead of the planned 5-7. Surgery "couldn't have gone better" and we were told to expect him conscious by that evening. There are apparently protocols for post-surgery of this type before someone leaves the ICU, and they need to be conscious and following directions to work through them. He was expected to leave the ICU on Saturday night, and spend 4-5 days in the hospital before going home.
As of now, he hasn't woken up and is still in the ICU. He has what I'm calling "pain episodes" fairly regularly when his pain medication seems to be wearing off. These are calmed when new pain medication is administered. Friday evening the episodes were bad enough that the ICU nurse was worried about him causing further damage to himself and potentially pulling out some of the many tubes still in place. She requested a "sitter" which is basically a CNA who literally sits/stands right next to my Dad's left arm to catch him from hurting himself during an episode, and to request the attention of his ICU nurse when necessary. Friday night, the sitter never seemed to actually sit. She stood next to him constantly until after I left the ICU at 3am. A succession of sitters taking 12 hour shifts was still in progress when I left on Sunday.
Watching the staff try and wake him wasn't fun. Helping them try and wake him wasn't fun. The pain episodes are really difficult to watch because of the pain in his voice when he yells and the nonstop yelling. On Friday evening I would step outside his room when a few of them started, and noticed that other nurses and doctors in the ICU would eventually be drawn in by the noise and offer help. I started rating his episodes by the number of nurses he could draw into his room. His highest score before I left was 5.
We still don't know why he won't wake up. His eyes have finally opened a few times, but only during a pain episode, and only for a bit, and he has never recognized where he was or anyone in the room. During one particular pain episode he was yelling "Goddammit" over and over, and my Mom kept responding with "Just say Gosh Darnit, honey" and after a few rounds of this he switched to "No Goddammit", hinting that on some level he may have heard her. Responses like this were rare and I only witnessed a few on Saturday.
My sisters Sabrina and Liz are local and continuing to coordinate visits along with my Mom. Amanda is visiting soon. There are tests planned to rule out potential reasons he hasn't woken up, and the advice from his doctor is to be patient.
Such a crazy week. So much time at the hospital. A lot of worry but a lot of peace. Christmas had a beautiful spirit and feeling, so much time to reflect at the loving childhood my dad helped provide for me. I worried like crazy, I broke down and sobbed more than once, I stressed about the worst possible outcome, and always came back to the blessing, when Adam said Dad would have more time to enjoy his earthly blessings. It gave life to the feeling of hope that would thankfully creep in whenever I thought of an uncertain future. The feeling of relief at Liz's text that he was awake and responding was incredible, that was a long time for him to be asleep!
The highlight of that pretty dark time was having Eve here - and Nathan too. He took over so much time at the hospital and kept Mom company at home. Also texting is another world entirely when he is in town. I am grateful for my family, we care about and love each other a lot.