Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I Hope You Never Understand How Lucky We Are To Have Husbands Who Are Doctors

So, here's the deal. I knew my Doc H was awesome, but not THAT awesome!

Like I've told my kids, "I hope I never have to give you advice on how to be a step-parent", I'm telling you, "I hope you never REALLY get to understand how incredibly lucky we are to have a doctor for a husband".

Confused? Let me explain.

I am absolutely, two hundred percent certain that my father would not be alive today if I was married to, let's say, an attorney or any other professional.

WE ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE A DOCTOR IN THE FAMILY WHO CAN UNDERSTAND AND ADVOCATE FOR US WHEN LIFE TEETERS. If you do understand this like I understand this you've been through a terrible medical ordeal with a loved one, and my heart breaks for you.

My friends, I don't swear much, but when I do, it is because I cannot emphasize it any stronger. So, I tell you, this summer the shit hit the fan, and my family experienced a fucking nightmare when my father went into surgery. Not once, but twice, I knew my father was dying when Doc H CANCELED his OR cases to spend the day with us at the hospital. He never cancels. He operates with a fever. When he told me he was canceling his day, well- that was when I began to panic.

My mother, siblings, and I took turns sleeping bedside in the hospital. Even Doc H, despite his hellacious schedule, slept in a chair in ICU several nights as my father laid alive in his hospital bed thanks only to full life support. Besides the vent, we had 24 hour dialysis, no kidney function, albumin levels through the roof (liver failure), low blood pressure, tachycardia, high triponin numbers, yada, yada, yada. You get the idea. Things were bleak. It was quite evident my father was suffering. He had to be restrained; he was removing tubes. He tried to chew through the vent tube. I screamed, and with tears running down my face, I begged him, "Please, Daddy, don't chew!" {I haven't called my father "Daddy" in over 35 years. Yet, somehow, in that moment, I felt so helpless, I resorted to being his child.} His eyes and veins in his temple were popping out of his head. The doctors couldn't come up with the right "cocktail" for sedation without his BP bottoming out and his heartbeat flying too high.

Finally, through a cascade of tears and snot, I asked DocH, "How do you know when it's time to give up and stop? He's suffering!!" I'm pretty sure I would have began the campaign to disconnect my father's support if Doc H hadn't replied to me, "We owe it to your father to give him the time he needs to get through this. Things can still turn around."

We were a mess. Yet, doctors, specialists, were constantly coming by to update with new labs, questions, and changes to the plan. We were in a fog. If Doc H wasn't there, we needed two of us to fully recall the conversation and be able to regurgitate it to Doc H on the phone for advice.

I cannot understand how non-medical families make such life changing decisions without fully understanding medicine. 

Let's back up a bit...

My father's initial surgery went okay. But, without going into a longer story, he had complications on top of complications after surgery. One early morning, we found ourselves talking face to face with his surgeon, who wasn't sure if taking my father back in the OR was the right thing to do. We were faced with two options: 1- surgery, but it would be high risk thanks to new heart issues- he most likely would not survive, or 2- wait and see, but he (most likely) would go septic. Gee, let me do some risk assessment and analysis here... on one hand we have death, and on the other, -oh-look!- again, we have death. {Excuse me? Last month my father was cycling 10-20 miles a day.} 

And, here is the point where DocH swung in like THE FUCKING SUPERHERO HE IS. He made phone calls, went over labs, and convinced my father's surgeon and the other supporting surgeons there was a third option.



That is the option we took, and through happy tears, I tell you it all worked. Today (almost six months later), my father is alive and well, almost back to his pre-surgery baseline. He still has some strength to gain back and some weight to put on, but he is back to living life. And, it is in large part due to Doc H. My father knows it, I know it, we all know it. So, later, when we all thanked him, Doc H was true to his humble self, and just said, "No, it was my pleasure."

My family and I are so, so, SOOOOO LUCKY to have Doc H in our lives!! If you have a husband who is a doctor in your life, I pray you never realize how truly lucky you are, because this is a chapter of life we can all do without.

And, to Doc H... I know you'll get around to reading this someday.. no words, just tears (you know the ones) of sheer happiness, gratitude, and love. YOU are my Superhero.






2 comments:

  1. Yes, having a medical professionals in the family makes it so much easier; having someone who can actually explain what is going on in terms normal people can understand, and who have a chance of being able to advocate successfully for the patient and family since the those taking care of the patient might actually listen to them. (Sorry, that's a pet peeve of mine, being treated as if I can't understand anything, even when I've read more of the recent literature on a particular obscure medical issue than the doctor has.)

    I'm so glad to hear that your father is doing well.

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  2. This is one of the best blog entries I have ever read! I am so glad you have started writing again. I checked in a few times over the past two years and was thrilled to see some new entries. You have a gift for writing and I am glad you share your heart in this way. You have helped me and I look forward to reading more about your experiences. I understand when life intervenes and I am just glad you have chosen to share your thoughts with your devoted readers. Praying that easier days are ahead for you and your family.

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