Daily Archives: February 24, 2010

Abruptly in Omaha

My mom called me Saturday morning to tell me that Oma was in the hospital. Congestive heart failure with renal complications. She had been having trouble breathing during the last couple of days, especially when sleeping, and actually asked to be taken to the doctor on Friday. (Our family is notoriously doctor adverse. Grandpa was liters down from a bleeding ulcer before going to the doctor. The doc was amazed that he was not unconscious. Asking to be taken to the doctor means something is *wrong*.) Tests found that Oma has a leaky heart valve and hefty blockages in three arteries. Cardiologist #1 said that stents wouldn’t be viable and bipasses would have to be done. Heart surgeon #1 said that due to age, diabetes, and other factors that open heart surgery really wasn’t an option. Cardiologist #2 said open heart surgery or stents *were* an option. (Note: neither of the cardiologists do surgery.) Which brought us to yesterday and heart surgeon #2. He came in, asked my grandma how she was feeling (okay, aside from being in the hospital — she had gotten up the night before and rearranged the furniture in her room) and how she was feeling before she had started having breathing problems (same as usual, fairly active for a 79 year old). And then heart surgeon #2 suggested trying to manage the situation with meds because, well, once you start down the path of surgeries, recovery will become another obstacle and maybe one worse than the occasional congestion. Which makes a certain kind of sense. So, we went from expecting Oma to have a procedure of some sort today to her probably coming home by the end of the week. This isn’t a cure; it’s a management situation.

Anyway, fearing really bad things, I flew to Omaha yesterday. I should have decided to do so over the weekend because booking Monday night and flying Tues was not ideal. From 7:30 (mountain time) until 17:00 (central time) I was in an air -plane or -port, making a stop over in Chicago. It is cold here in ways I had forgotten. Nonetheless, I’m glad I’m here.