Jan 1, 2008

Mending a broken heart

On xmas morning, my mother had a heart attack and was rushed by ambulance to West Penn Hospital/Forbes in Monroeville (pronounced an inferior hospital by just about everyone I spoke to about it.) After stabilizing her there, she was transferred on Thursday to UPMC/Shadyside Hospital, an esteemed hospital known for its superior cardiac unit.

On Sunday morning, she suddenly went into cardiac arrest and was moved to the ICU. Her heart rate had dropped to 17 bpm and her blood pressure had plummeted to 60 over something.

Finally, today she underwent heart catheterization and had three stents inserted in the arteries around her heart. Her cardiologist said that the procedure went "superbly" and "beautifully," and said that he expected her to see "a life extension benefit." That's doctor lingo for "she'll probably live longer."

My mother has advanced diabetes and consequently her kidneys are taking a hit. Also the heart attack and cardiac arrest both weakened the kidneys, along with today's procedure due to the dye she had to have injected to facilitate the imaging necessary to perform the catheterization. There is a likelihood that she will need dialysis for the rest of her life but her cardiologist said, after today's surprisingly successful procedure, "maybe another miracle."

My brother, my sister and I finally could walk out of the hospital with a sense of relief after seven long days of uncertainty. She still has several days of recovery to get through, but she has managed to dodge the most fearsome bullet.