1-in-1,000

1in1000.2About a month or so back, my stepmom gave me a call while I was at work. Apparently, my dad was in the hospital and hooked up to a bunch of machines testing for what she thought was a heart attack.  Needless to say, her telling me that “he is fine” wasn’t really doing the trick with me.

As it turns out, my dad was “just” suffering from a blocked artery. His attempt to walk down the street was putting a ton of pressure on his artery, and thus his heart…hence his chest pain and trip to the ER.

We had to wait a few weeks before they could administer the “dye test”, which would be the way to find out just how bad the damage was. My dad and stepmom traveled up to the “big city” and invited Sunshine, my daughter, and I out to dinner the night before the test.

During this conversation, I was told that if he needed a stent put in, there was a 1-in-1,000 chance that he might not survive the procedure. I don’t know about you, but if I’m playing the lottery I’m considering those GOOD odds…so that was really unsettling to me.

Also unsettling was the fact that his doctor told him that once the dye test was done, if he needed surgery (i.e. a stent in his artery or, as a worst-case scenario, open-heart surgery), he was going to be moved directly into another room to get it done ASAP…which is something that doesn’t normally happen unless it’s a serious situation.

I put on a brave face and so did my dad, but you could tell how scared he was about it all.

I got a call the next morning at 11:30. It was dad telling me that the dye test finished and he ended up getting a stent put into an artery. In fact, he was all done (except for the lying still for 3 hours part). He told me to bring the family over to the hotel room that evening.

Once there, it was explained that my dad’s bad artery was 90% blocked.

NINETY PERCENT!!

He was literally hours away from having a heart attack or a stroke when he wound up in the hospital after his walk. It could have been a LOT worse had my stepmother not noticed something was wrong and put her foot down (he didn’t think it was that big of a deal).

What was worse was that they told me about a friend of theirs from Florida who had the same procedure done just a couple of weeks before and didn’t make it. She was in good health except for the blocked artery but didn’t even survive the dye test.

How insane is that??

As it stands now, a few weeks later, my dad is doing much better. He’s walking 4km almost every day and is back to his usual, grumpy self.  He has slightly altered his diet and he feels better than he has in a very long time.

I haven’t written about it until now because it’s been really tough to digest. I lost my mom at a fairly young age and that really affected me. I couldn’t imagine losing my dad just a few years later. I’m turning 42 this weekend. I feel like I’m too young to lose both of my parents. My children are certainly too young to lose their grandfather.

Right now, all is good again. But it’s a situation that really makes you look at yourself and the life choices that you make. One of the reasons that I’ve been on a health-kick lately is because I don’t want the same thing to happen to me in 10-20 years. I want to do whatever I can now to undo the damage I’ve done to myself over the years.

A 1-in-1,000 chance. Those are odds I don’t want to have to face any time soon.

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