Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Personal Update

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About a year and a half ago, as I was justing starting my residency, I got a call from my dad. He said that he was on his way to the emergency room because his big toe was cold and blue and his leg hurt. Being in the medical field, I started freaking out, cause I had an idea of what was going on... and I didn't like what has happening at all to my dad -- He had clotted off the artery above his knee and wasn't getting blood flow to his foot. Luckily, the physician taking care of him got him on blood thinners and to an intervention rather quickly. He walked away from the event with all his parts plus a shiny stent in his leg.  However, since that time, he's been hospitalized multiple times and had to have the stent revised more than once.

I was able to get home during the initial event. And although I was grateful that my dad did well and his foot was saved, I really didn't like the care he was getting, or the vascular surgeon taking care of him. I urged my parents to get a second opinion, and after he had been hospitalize two additional times (once cause the stent clotted off, and another time for a hematoma after he was overly anticoagulated), and had another procedure to salvage the stent, they took my advise and transferred his care to the University of Michigan, where he has been taking care of in an exceptional manner.

However, earlier this week I got a call from my dad -- his foot was cold and his leg was tingling and in pain. He emergently went to the ER in our home town and was transferred down to U of M. He had clotted off his stent, again. The surgeons took him to the vascular suite and started him on a clot busting medication, and were able to get blood flow back to his foot over the next couple of hours.

During the conversations I had with my dad, I started prepping him for the fact that he'd likely need a bypass surgery, to bypass the diseased arteries in his leg. On his arrival, the chief resident taking care of him called and voiced the same opinion, and the following day, the attending vascular surgeon said the same thing.

Thankfully, due to the therapy he received, this does not need to be done emergently, but is being planned for the next couple of weeks, on an elective basis. And I will hopefully be able to get home for the couple days surrounding the surgery -- which is a big surgery.

I have to thank the surgeons at University of Michigan, though, for their great care of my father, and for the conversations they were willing to have with me -- and for talking to me as a medical professional who understands what is going on, rather than talking down at me (like dad's previous surgeon, who treated me like someone who didn't understand anything medical, in spite of him knowing I was a surgery resident).

In the meantime, please send up some prayers for my father -- that he does well over the next couple weeks, that he gets through surgery without difficulty, and has a quick recovery -- and for the surgeons taking care of him.

"A cheerful heart is god medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength." - Proverbs 17:22

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