The Big Think

September 20, 2008

Weekend Update

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 4:46 pm

As some of you know, it’s been a busy few days for us. On tuesday we received a call that Erin’s dad had called 911 and the paramedics came and took him away. At first, the neighbor told us that it had been food poisoning as a result of eating tuna that had not been refrigerated in the aftermath of hurricane Ike. After making a few calls to the ER, we learned that he had been admitted and they were doing tests. Since we couldn’t do anything until we knew more, we stayed by the phone and waited.

A few hours later the call came from the hospital that he had been admitted to the MICU (medical ICU). The preliminary tests indicated a heart attack. We immediately jumped in the car and drove to Houston. When we got there, we were greeted by a very grave-looking doctor and some pretty bad news.

I won’t go into all the details here, except to say that her dad had indeed had a massive heart attack and they are still assessing the damage. He also had internal bleeding and very low blood volume/pressure. We came very close to losing him the first night and it took almost 48 hours until he was even remotely communicative. Thankfully, he’s been moved out of the super-intensive ICU into a less intensive level (but still ICU). His bleeding has stopped for the time being but the doctors have adopted a wait and see approach instead of the more aggressive go-and-look. This is partially due to his age (83), but also because the internal bleed and the heart attack are running counter to each other. They can’t explore the damage to his heart since he’s got a mystery bleed, and they can’t go looking for the bleed since his heart is so weak.

We’ve been on and off the phone with many people these past few days but couldn’t get ahold of everyone. So if this all comes as a surprise to you, and you’re a close friend, please be assured that you haven’t been demoted to the “we’ll call them when it’s all over” level of friendship. You’re all important to us but Erin and I have been in a very intense little circle of doctors, specialists, and each other for the past few days.

Your prayers are very much coveted and appreciated.

One more thing: if you have children or people you care about that may, in the event of your incapacitation, have to take on the responsibility of some pretty major decisions (Do Not Resuscitate orders, living wills, power of attorney, etc), then please- please– make those decisions now while you are healthy and not lying in a hospital bed. Make sure your loved ones know how you feel or at least know where to go to see your wishes. Fifteen minutes of uncomfortable thinking and ten minutes spent with a notary could potentially relieve your loved ones of some soul-crushing decisions. If you want, don’t even make it legal and official (except for the power of attorney). Just writing down your wishes somewhere known could immeasurably help. Please consider this. It doesn’t matter what you decide, but it does matter that your loved ones know you’ve made a decision and don’t have to make it for you in a time of extreme stress.


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