Heart on Hold

I offer the reflection below so not to be a silent sufferer. It holds no informational or entertainment value. I could write it as a private journal entry, but in writing it online, I feel less alone as I know it echoes the experience of millions of people now on the long-term care journey.

My father, who lives in New York state, has advanced heart disease and diabetes. He requires an aortic heart valve replacement. He’s been working with a surgical team in Boston for over two years to get a minimally invasive surgery scheduled. Being patient with this process has been a challenge for both of us. Several times over he was promised to be scheduled, then something new entered the team’s awareness about either my father’s heart condition or the limitations of the current technologies to meet his needs, so it didn’t get scheduled. Then at last the stars became aligned a couple of months ago and the surgery was scheduled for Feb 12. My father and I looked forward to “moving forward” past this heart surgery to a freer life. We shared the good news with all of our family and friends. But… a few weeks ago, a possible allergy was found in his paperwork and he was asked to be tested. They could not operate without this critical knowledge, so the surgery date had to be postponed to Feb 26 and travel plans re-arranged. He was tested and the test result was negative. The surgeon called him to say that this extra test time bumped him out of the right time window he was originally cleared to have the surgery on Feb 26 and unfortunately we’ll have to return to the medical center to repeat qualification tests so that he (we) can be scheduled for a future date… “Incredible… Absolutely Unbelievable” was my father’s expression. He arrived at our home last night. I had cleared my schedule for these two days anticipating his hospitalization and surgery, so I’m available today to companion him to the medical center to repeat EKG and blood tests. We hope to hear some word about the new surgery date.

Practicing deep breaths and a flexible schedule,
~ Mary

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