Crisis Averted

AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION (at Dad’s hospital bedside while fixin’ to write a progress email to loved ones.) My father: “That won't go out as you're actually typing it, will it? Don't you have to hit ‘send?’” Mike: “That's right, Pop.” My father: “Okay, good. If you need me to explain anything along the way, I can.” 

I knew the moment my father sought to micro-manage his hospital experience news that today’s earlier medical emergency is now just a fading bad memory. 

Crisis averted.

It started after he tried to get up to do physical therapy. A killer headache hit and he commenced “upchucking” (James E.'s word.) Then Pop experienced severe, debilitating pain all throughout his body. I got all this second hand over the phone from his charming bride before I got in the car and drove from MHK to Wichita.

Word is all this was simply his body exhibiting stress as a result of the surgery. Three things at play here: 

1. Turns out spinal surgery's pretty invasive.
2. Pop’s closing in on 82.
3. He suffers from some pre-existing conditions (Sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes.)


The Wednesday afternoon surgery replaced an existing steel rod in his backbone with a longer steel rod. The operation was prescribed after a round of cortisone shots over the last few months proved increasingly ineffective to combat constant pain he was experiencing in his right thigh. 

Today, an early fear of infection or spinal fluid leakage was ruled out when the headache abated after Pop lied back down (laid back down?) Clearly, any physical therapy will be postponed until the medical pros are certain all these post-op woes are stabilized.

All things considered, Pop says he's felt pretty good since awakening at 3:00 p.m. He had a coupla cups o’ banana pudding since and the pudding remains thankfully un-upchucked.

Shortly after I arrived at the hospital this evening, Pop’s charming bride departed to fetch him some chow (he’s not too keen on the hospital food.) He requested a chocolate milkshake and chicken strips from one of his fave restaurants here in Doodah.

His charming bride said, noop, chicken noodle soup and a milkshake from DQ for you, Ace.

So there.

Tallying them up the other day while awaiting this one, we landed on about a dozen operations in the last 20 years or so. Both knees replaced, a hip replacement, a heart bypass and assorted other invasive bodily adjustments.

One of the clear, overwhelming challenges of approaching the precipice of middle age is coming to grips with the mortality of one’s parents. Pop and I have had the conversation about the end many times. He’s so much closer to it than the beginning. Or even the middle.

I think he’s as prepared as one can be. I do worry about his charming bride, though. Them finding each other after each suffered a failed marriage was God’s work. She’s still at the hospital where she’ll likely spend the night at his side for the second consecutive night.

We should all be so fortunate.