Thursday, August 22, 2013

Heart Trouble, Redux

This time last year, I had a little heart trouble. (Short version: I was in the midst of having two of my children evaluated for heart issues. They're fine.)

This week, I had a different sort of heart trouble. My dad went in for valve repair surgery on Monday. I went up to Boston to keep my mom company while she waited through the procedure. While it appears to have been successful, the surgery was complicated and the immediate post-op hours were hairy. My dad is making good progress, though, and showing his feisty Boston spirit already.

Open heart surgery is a big frickin' deal, so you look like absolute hell when you come out of it. There are tubes and wires, drains and vents, and all sorts of things stuck to you all over. You have no living color. As I sat in the ICU with my mom, looking at my dad all hooked up and sedated, one thought popped in my head: Thank goodness for engineers.

Engineers. Seriously. The work of engineers has allowed the work of doctors and nurses and medical professionals of all kinds to progress to the point where we can have machines do so much for our bodies as they heal. The pumps to control the IV meds - engineers. The ventilator to breathe for you - engineers. The compression boot for your leg to prevent blood clots - NASA engineers.

The whole medical team deserves credit for fixing my dad's heart. We often give thanks to doctors and nurses for caring for ourselves and our loved ones through illness and injury. I know for sure that my dad's team kept him alive that first night, and I am so grateful. But the engineers gave them incredible tools for tending him and supporting his healing. Their work is simply incredible, and I just want to say thanks.

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