Den's Journal

Stories by a short, fat bastard

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Updatey McUpdateface
So Things have been happening that I can't write about, so I will only say:

This is why I've been quiet for the last month.

But last Wednesday Mum rang to say Dad had chest pains, and she was taking him to the hospital.

"No!" I said. "Ring 000 immediately and get an ambulance. We'll be right over."

Dad was pale and sweaty, and had a crushing pain in his chest, and his left arm felt too heavy to lift. Mum was hovering over him and looking very worried, but Dad kept insisting it was just indigestion. He'd taken some Mylanta but it didn't work, and Pete said "That's not indigestion." He waited with Dad and I went to the front yard to meet the ambulance. It arrived after 5 minutes - it felt like an hour - and I told the paramedics Dad's symptoms as they got out their kit. In less than a minute - it felt like forever - they had unloaded the stretcher and were in the house and assessing Dad. They asked him a lot of questions about how long had he felt the pain and had he felt it before? Yes (!) about 4.30am that morning but it went away so he didn't wake mum. Silly bugger.

The ambos works on him for about 10 minutes taking temperature and blood pressure, and sticking 'dots' on his chest to take a preliminary ecg. They put a vasco-dilator under his tongue, and the pain went away. Then came the complicated getting-Dad-on-his-feet-and-loading-him-onto-the-stretcher and wheeling him out to the ambulance. Concerned neighbours were gathered around the ambulance so I told them what was happening.

(Polly was being weird. She would not move more than 1 meter from Dad at any time, even when the ambos were there, and could not be removed outside. She did not bark or growl at the ambos when they came in but she did look very worried.)

Mum rode in the ambulance to the hospital, and I followed in my car. Pete stayed at the hose to look after the dogs and to lock up afterwards. By going with the ambos, Mum got to enter Dubbo Base Hospital by the emergency entrance and to go into ICU with Dad. I had to park the car and enter by the main entrance then wait until they said I could go in, which took forever (about 15 minutes). Dad was hooked up to the machine that went Ping! and monitored blood pressure, oxygen, and heart beat, and he looked exhausted but at least he wasn't pale any more. Our good friend Arpit arrived and used his influence as a pathologist at the hospital to hurry along the blood tests. He really shouldn't have, but I'm glad he did.

The blood tests confirmed a heart attack. The doc said it was a "non-STEMI infarction" and there was some damage to the heart, but not heart-stopping muscle death damage. Dad would need an angiogram in Orange Base Hospital tomorrow (Thursday) to see what the problem is, and maybe install a stent or two. Orange is a 2 hour drive away which makes visiting a bit of a problem, but it's a brand new hospital and they have All The Things.

The result of the angiogram is that he needs multiple bypasses. A stent would fix the problem for a few months, then he'd still need a bypass operation. The doctor arranged to send Dad to Royal Price Alfred Hospital for the operation. On Friday we found out RPA doesn't have a bed free until Wednesday next week so Dad is in Orange Base until then. The bypass operation is scheduled for Thursday. We will travel to Sydney on Wednesday to be there Thursday.

Dad is in good hands but we're all very worried.

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Ah, yes, "socialized medicine"... I envy my friends who live in civilized countries...

Seriously, too many Americans die because they simply can't afford medical care - I nearly did. (Insert long, US-specific, opinionated political rant here.)

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