Dad gets a cardiac stent

…and I feel completely helpless….

I was getting ready for bed last night, and as is my wont I checked the email:

This afternoon, at 3:15, Dad said “Take me to the emergency room”. He’d had two attacks (one Tuesday night at a quarter to 11, one at 12:30 just before lunch time today) that we thought were abdominal.

Well, after hours and hours in an e.r. room, we found out he had 100% blockage in a major artery! [Cardiologist] started the angiogram at 10 p.m., a nurse came out at 10:35 and told us ([friends] were with me) about the blockage, and they started inserting a stent.

At 11:05, the doctor showed me “before and after” photos. The artery basically didn’t show up on photo 1, looks fine on photo 2. He has some OTHER blockage, but the doctor said we’ll just watch him and see when (if?) another stent is needed.

Anyway — 24 hours after the first pain (quarter to 11 last night), the surgery was almost over! Today’s medical technology truly IS wondrous.
He’s overnighting in CCU. Visiting hours begin at 9 in the morning, and I’m hoping he can come home shortly after that.


So, it’s about 2 AM and I find this out. By email. I admit to a moment of panic, then realized that if they weren’t excited about it I shouldn’t be, either.

When asked why they didn’t call during the event, they said ‘we thought you might be at work and didn’t want you worrying about him’, which is nice but wrong. Dad’s doing fine, has no idea which artery was stented, how the ischemia diagnosis was made, if there was any damage, etc. It’s truly a situation where if you don’t know the questions to ask you can’t ask them.

It’s very hard for me to not ‘take over’, then I remember all the family members who do that in my ED, and decide it’s not really necessary, or helpful. There will be plenty of time for that, later.

Oh, and thank God for stents.

Cardiac Stent: original from

Update 7-14: Home, safe.


  1. emt2doc says:

    Here’s to a good recovery!

  2. Aerospace Genius says:

    I got the news the same way and had the same sequence of reactions.

    We mostly talked about mechanical stuff since that’s what he likes to talk about. Since the nurses asked him if this was the first time this has happened, the presumption is that this isn’t a one-time event. What are the chances of more trouble along the same lines?

  3. I’m glad your dad is doing so well – and yes, thank goodness for stents.

  4. AG, the description I got from mom was ‘and some other lesions that we may need to stent later’. So, yes, it’s possible there will be a need for more.

    As a nice side-effect of having had my dad’s PCP baby-sit me way back in the olden days, she called me this evening and caught me up on the details. He went to the cath lab because his CP went away with 3 nitro sprays, and his troponins were 0.12 and 0.17, about 4 hours apart. 99% LAD lesion; 70% ejection fraction, and no wall motion abnormalities. (All that last stuff is good news).

    Thank y’all for the good wishes, He’s out of the CCU, and is recovering nicely.

    Whew, what a relief.

  5. Beary Potter says:

    I found the e-mail this morning. (Friday) So glad he’s doing well. I’ll “play like” I understand the PCP’s info … that’s a vocab I don’t usually come across in teaching elementary school! I appreciated the “All that last stuff is good news” addition to your memo.

  6. Dr. Dagny T. says:

    Whew! Glad your dad’s doing OK. One morning while rounding as an intern, I got an overhead page from the hospital operator. Get on a telephone and my dad’s on the line telling me that they found an apple-core lesion on my mother’s barium enema and that she’s going into surgery tomorrow. Told me that they didn’t want to trouble me with the news. Funny how parents don’t want to trouble their kids with such info.

  7. Grunt Doc, I’m very happy your dad is doing good now.

  8. “…and I feel completely helpless….”

    My folks live in Seattle, and I got a call several years ago from my Dad telling me my Mother just had an Ex Lap and was in ICU. He had no idea why they had to do it or what they found (turns out ischemic bowel and colon resection.) I remember thinking, that is at least a 3-4 hour procedure at a minimum, why a phone call just now? I am always the last to know anything medical that is going on with my parents. I don’t know if that is a good thing of a bad thing. Mom’s well now, I still get phone calls after they get home from the ER, and I doubt it ever changes. Hope your Pop is doing well!

  9. A few months ago my mom had a hemmorhagic stroke. She is in her sixties and was completely healthy except Hypertension. It’s tough as a physician knowing how much to get involved and how much to let the other doctors do their work. Hope your dad gets better!

  10. Glad to hear your dads doin ok!

  11. I don’t know how common it is in everyone’s family, but for us, we don’t tell my brother, who is a physician, anything until it can no longer be avoided. One thing I am in Ohio, he is in NJ. He only worries and tries to do things long distance that really can’t be done. Local Drs. sometimes don’t like it when you say “Well wait a minute, my brother is a doctor I want to call him about all this.”
    Also he deals with sick and complaining people all day so why should we put all our health problems on him and make him feel guilty for being so far away?

    He does keep up on chronic illnesses and test results relating to them. I have barrett’s esophagus with LGD. He is always researching new trements and procedures and having all my biopsy slides rechecked by a pathologist there.

    Its not we don’t want you to know or we don’t want you there it’s more that we respect how busy you are and we don’t always want you to worry. Does that make sense?

  12. Aerospace Genius says:

    I presume GruntDoc’s primary objection to not being informed is not having the opportunity to provide basic direction such as “Call 911 now!” during or immediately after the first, second, or third episode of chest pain. That is literally a life-or-death decision that he very obviously has the qualifications and motivation to assist with. In such a situation, no one would rank being busy, at work, or asleep higher on the scale of priorities than helping to save his own father’s life.

  13. I doubt anyone would think for an instance that gruntDoc would see his own well being as a priority. Did I somehow portray that? I was simply saying those are the reasons WE don’t often call my brother. Not because he would prefer we didn’t, it’s just that we don’t.

    When our dad was having a massive heart attack. Mother called me, only because I’m the one that lived in the same city. I called 911 immediately. Once he was at the ER receiving emergency interventions I then called my brother. He talked to the ER doc. and was on a plane home almost immediately. Unfortunately we lost our Day during that MI…. Having my brother tell me to call 911 wouldn’t have changed that, in fact, it would have taken up more time.

    Just because you have a physician in the family doesn’t qualify the rest of the bunch illerate. Grunt Doc says his family believed this was from GI problems, when it got to the point they no longer felt it was GI related then they went to the ER. What in the world is the matter with that? BTW, My dad had been sent home from the ER twice for going in for chest pains. They ruled it GI related and his PCP put him on mediction for a hiatal hernia. During that time the doctors talked to my brother assuring him that it wasn’t coronary related. His EKGs were good and so were his coronary enzymes. Then he has a massive MI and dies. Just so you know my brother did try to get Dad to go out of town for a heart cath. he refused and always said..”Hell it’s just that damn hernia.” Not having that heart cath cost him his life. But, in honesty, it was only my brother who thought he needed one. Sure as hell the local ER docs didn’t.

  14. then again it might, when you make a typo spelling the word…”illiterate”…Sorry :)

  15. I’m a bit late getting caught up on my blogs but I wanted to let you know that I’m glad your dad is okay now.

    Stents are amazing little pieces of life-saving material….