Quintuple Bypass

There are not enough good uses for the word quintuple. Quintuplets are good, I suppose. But are there others? All I know is, quintuple bypass surgery is bad.

I’ve been in Wisconsin for the last week while my dad recovers from quintuple bypass surgery. That means that they took veins from his chest and leg and rerouted the blood through his heart in five different places. The surgery was unexpected. Sort of.

My dad hadn’t really told anyone until a couple weeks ago, but he had been having chest/arm pains for about a year. Last Friday the pain was keeping him from working, and his assistant at work looked up a doctor and forced him to call. He reluctantly did so – he hates doctors – and was prescribed some meds until they could do further tests on Tuesday, after the three-day weekend. Things got worse all weekend. By Sunday he was in constant pain. Early Monday morning he woke up in a sweat with severe pain. After two hours of constant pain, my mom took him to the emergency room.

They did some procedures to determine the extent of the blockages in his heart. First and primary artery (dubbed ‘the widowmaker’): 100% blocked. Second artery: 100% blocked. Third: 95%. Fourth and fifth: 70-80%. By now, surgery was inevitable. They say that once you reach 100% blockage in the main artery, many people simply collapse and their heart stops beating. He was basically operating without the left side of his heart. Amazingly, my dad’s heart had built new capillaries to distribute blood, which had kept some of his heart from shrivelling up and becoming useless.

So immediate qunituple bypass open heart surgery on Monday. He had been having an acute heart attack for six hours at this point. My dad, at 57, had already outlived his dad, who died of a heart attack, by a few years. With the surgery, he’ll outlive him a few more.

His recovery has been swift. He came home today, Saturday, which is sooner that expected. Full recuperation will take another 6-8 weeks. Nicole and I have been here all week, along with Tom and Katy (who went home yesterday and return Monday). Nicole and I will be returning to Minnesota either tomorrow or Monday, having missed a week of our regular routine. I’m looking forward to relying on that routine a bit for a few weeks, even as we shuttle back and forth to Wisconsin.

So that was my week.

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10 responses to “Quintuple Bypass

  1. Wow. I’m glad your Dad has such a strong heart and that it found new ways to get by. It’s good to hear that he recovered so quickly, as well. Stay strong Tim, we’re praying for you and your Dad, and I hope the routine isn’t too hard to get into.

  2. Good to hear the tiny aorta fairies were able to get Mr. Leg Vein married Ms. Left Ventricle.

    Thanks for not sugar coating it.

    That’s amazing your dad’s been putting off chest/arm pain for so long, and even more amazing that he’s come through so well.

    What an age we live in.

    OK, enough with the Simpsons’ quotes. But still, wow. Hope he keeps getting better, and hope you guys get back home and settled in. There’s always hyper fairy dogs at our house.

  3. Your father and you all have been in my prayers.

  4. Oh my goodness! We’ll be praying, Tim. And most of all we’re giving praise that your dad’s still around!

    How are you holding up?

  5. Holding up well. It was a lot to process at first, but the time at home helped, and now being back into a routine. And my dad has been doing well.

  6. trying to get a hold of you, i’m also home. but the number i have for you is disconnected.

  7. I’m very glad to hear that your dad’s doing well, gives me a little more hope, my dad’s supposed to go in for quintuple bypass surgery in two days, he’s also in his late fifties. We’re hanging in, my mum and and my little sister are taking it the hardest on the outside, my little brother seems to have blocked out the world, mesmerized by his gamecube. I can’t wait for this to be over, to get back to normal, for my dad to be ok. Last year we lost my grandmother, and the year before that my little sister was close, in the hospital for six months, three months in intensive care, now my grandfather’s in the hospital and my dad’s going in for surgery, and all we can do is hope and pray. It sucks feeling helpless.

  8. I just found out today November 20, 2006 that my dad has to have the same surgery. They even told him that he has had a heart attack in the past. He never experienced any symptoms. The success rate, we were told is 95%, which I consider great. He is retirement age, so I consider that still young. I was told by the doctor that I should get the test myself because this is heriditary. I am 41 and feel I am in pretty good shape, watch what I eat and try to run 10-15 miles per week, but it is scary to know that this is probablly how I will possibly die. Please keep us in your prayers.

  9. My brother just had the same surgery. Quintuple bypass surgery. I never even heard of quintuple bypass before. His surgery took 4 hours. The doctor said that his heart is doing much much better. My brother was dead for 20 minutes. He was brought in by his friend who was giving him cpr. The emergency room had worked on him for 2o minutes and shocked his heart 13 times. The doctor said that my brother life is remarkable. I am so happy that his surgery was sucessful. He will be fine. I am on medication for cholesterol and high blood pressure. My brother never went to the doctor until this. People out there…take care of your bodies. You only get one. My brother just turned 47. God Bless.

  10. I had a quintuple bypass four months ago and have now gone back to the gym fulltime. At the age of 44, I was shocked to have had the surgery, after having 3 sick days in 20 years. It may sound like a terrible predicament but the other option of death was less than attractive. It’s not the end of the world – in fact it’s just the beginning.
    I thought they only did quadruples, until I had my quintuple.

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