Aug 6, 2007

Dad's Doctor's Appointment

Last Monday I took my dad to a doctor's appointment he has about every two or three weeks for his coumadin levels with his primary care doctor. I found out his name is Dr. James Bonds. Not James Bond, James Bonds. Interesting fellow. He told us some war stories from working at Darnall Army Hospital at Fort Hood. I have so much more respect for him now.

My dad and I compiled a list of questions to ask Dr. Bonds and he graciously answered all of them. I can tell you I feel a lot more comfortable with my dad's health care now. And I'm not as concerned about him leaving this earth anytime soon.

So although my dad has heart damage due to damaged veins from years of smoking and the resulting heart attacks, he does not have heart failure. Which is a good thing. The problem is the damaged veins can not bring fluid back up to his heart. As I posted before, an angiogram showed my dad's heart is only working at 15-20%. So my dad is going to experience the fluid retention and swelling probably for the rest of his life. It has been getting better since he went home on July 19th. The decision to implant the defibrillator was made by my dad's cardiologist as a precaution. Dr. Bonds believes the only thing my dad might experience and it was a big might would be heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). So he will most likely have the defibrillator for a long time. So far it has not gone off, but he will feel it if it does. And it will give him a good startle because it feels like you stuck your hand in an electrical socket except the charge comes from the chest. The batteries usually last around 10 years unless it's used more often. My dad and I both wondered if he needed to keep his nitroglycerin pills on him now that he has the defibrillator. Dr. Bonds said he should because they would help with chest pain during an attack.

Regarding the blood clot in his right leg, he will stay on coumadin probably until October then a sonogram will be performed to check on any reduction. My dad feels like it must have reduced in size at least a little because his leg doesn't swell as it did previously. Now all my dad needs to do is rest so he can recover and gain weight. With the two polyps removed he has a better chance of not experiencing digestive issues which would prevent him from gaining weight. Dr. Bonds told him he could eat anything he wanted and as often as he wanted. He prescribed two supplements such as Ensure every day plus getting lots of protein. He ate well before but now he's eating even more especially sliced brisket sandwiches from C&J BBQ in Bryan. He's consuming at least 2-4 pounds of sliced brisket a week. He's going to turn into a sliced brisket sandwich. He will gain weight, but it will be slow.

He's doing a lot better, getting around a little better and feeling better. He still gets tired and he's still weak. I kept telling him he needs to take it easy and rest. He pushed it too hard at first, but now he's learned what his limitations are right now. He has been on the tractor to shred the front pasture but I don't know if he's driven a truck yet. He's anxious to go fishing at Sam Rayburn Lake on my sister's family's new pontoon boat. It is a lot of fun. But he's not going to push it too hard, too fast.

So please keep praying for my dad. Dr. Bonds said he most likely will not improve past his current condition which means he will not be able to do the physically demanding work he has done all his life. My dad will have to find a different means of making ends meet other than welding, blacksmithing, masonry, carpentry, etc. And I'm sure not being able to get around easily will affect him emotionally also. Thank you for all your prayers and concern. My family greatly appreciates it.

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