Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mang Boy and our hopeful hearts

Two weeks. This is how long we have been in two hospitals. Not counting the previous hospital stays these past few months. But no, it's not about me... it's my father-in-law, Mang Boy. The most awesome father-in-law one could ever have and I consider myself so much luckier than most for having him as my in-law.

He had heart attacks, three times this year. Once last year. He was advised by our cardiologist to undergo angiogram since two years back, but he opted not to. He felt that his illness was not very concerning and the mindset of "if-it's-my-time-then-so-be-it", he would simply shrug off all of our suggestions. He would continue smoking. Three packs a day that is for the past 53 years. For that long, he considered smoking as his ultimate happiness.

Last June, he had his first COPD induced heart attack. We thought that was it but the man is a fighter and he survived after three days intubated in the ICU. Last October, he was rushed again for another round of COPD induced heart attack, twice in the span of five days. The second attack was quite fortunate because it happened a day after he went out of the ICU. These events prompted him to take his illness seriously. He agreed for an angiogram and a possible angioplasty.

We took him to Manila Doctors Hospital last week for the operation. The result was not really favorable that he is suggested to have a heart bypass (or CABG) instead as soon as possible. His Left Anterior Descending (LAD) is totally occluded and the others are blocked by more that 50%, the reason why his heart fails when his lungs are weak. As he was prepared for the heart bypass, my wife suddenly had a hunch about the hospital. Of course, MaDocs as it is, we cannot say that the hospital is not capable of taking care of Mang Boy and considering the credentials of the cardiologist and the thoracic surgeon, he must be in good hands. But then, her instincts led us to talk to some friends, to our doctor friends and finally we took the matter to our family cardiologist, Dr. JD Foronda. He then referred us to Dr. Pio Purino at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC).

We took him there last Monday, 25 November. Man, the hospital is impressive! The buildings maybe old but the system here and the facility are all high tech. Anyway, he had to be rechecked all over again superceding some tests done on him at MaDocs, including X-ray and 2D Echo and voila!!! His surgeons decided to defer the bypass until they can confirm what the radiologist interpreted on X-ray... aneurysm at the aorta. He had to undergo CT Aortigram last night and yes it is confirmed. This left us wondering how come the aneurysm was not detected in his previous x-rays in three different hospitals the past two years! His 2D Echo result here also canceled out MaDocs interpretation of 55% EF. PHC interprets it as 38%! 

The surgical team talked to us this morning. They were frank and straightforward. They explained to us the extent of the aneurysm and the risks of the surgery and all. At the end of it all, we still have to go on with the bypass, triple bypass that is, and the intervention of the aorta as soon as he is fit enough... and it should be done within seven to ten days after the bypass surgery. The consolation for us right now is that Mang Boy has a good chance of going through. The intervention of the aorta is not going to be surgical but instead the thing they call TEVAR. Less invasive, the better, but still there is a risk of giving so much stress to his kidneys. But that is not the concern right now, at least.

So tomorrow is the big day. Mang Boy will have his heart bypass. Hoping and praying hard for the best. Surely he will get through this. He is more motivated now than before and this is a very good sign. He wants to see his grandkids grow up, he told us.

So why did the other hospitals missed the aneurysm? Well, Dr. Purino told us last monday, "There is only one Philipine Heart Center." Of course, they are no gods but surely they will do whatever is best for their patients.

We would like to thank the family and friends who prayed with us in these trying times. To family and friends who took their time off just to give a part of their own for Mang Boy. You guys are awesome! Surely, your efforts will not go in vain. God bless you guys!

And please guys... SMOKING is really not good for you and for the people around you. It's not too late to STOP yeah!

CABG information here... Viewer discretion is advised.
TEVAR information here...
Philippine Heart Center information here...

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