Reading is hard


So, I spent most of yesterday in the hospital. Dad was experiencing heart pains and my Stepmom made him go to the hospital. Stubborn as he is, he demanded to drive himself. More on that later. Bottom line, though, what later ensued proves that reading is hard.

As is often the case with my Dad, I was notified after he was in the hospital for half a day. And, as is also often the case, he has apparently been having chest pains, on and off, for some time. Sigh. I point you to my blog post last Friday about stubborn Dad.

But, those concerns are for another conversation (sooner than Dad will prefer, mind you). For now, my only interest is Dad’s health.

According to the scan, his major heart artery is apparently showing a blockage of 70% . They set him up for an immediate catheterization and probable stent. And so it begins.

I spend most of my day trying to keep everyone’s spirits up. First, I always look at these things as ultimately turning out well. Rose-colored or not, I fail to see any benefit from assuming bad news.

Second, I need to keep my Stepmom’s attitude from sinking into despair. They are as close a couple as you can imagine and 53 years together has actually strengthened their dependence on each other. So, any danger to one, especially Dad, causes a significant down spiral in the other.

After an hour and a half or so, we go downstairs to meet the doctor performing the procedure. He is a relatively young guy and he is pleasantly forthright.

He says, basically, that the radiology technician read the scan wrong. There is only, maybe, 20-25% buildup in the artery and no procedure was warranted. I foresee much volume from my Dad once he discovers these facts, so I ask for my clarity on how this can happen.

The doctor patiently goes through expected things like “erring on side of caution” and “would rather have false positive than false negative” (sending someone home who actually needs a procedure).

But, he also mentions there has been at least one bad read of this sort before and it’s obvious he is not happy about it. Well, at least we’re all in the same boat, there. See? Reading is hard.

We tell Dad the good news. Predictably he reacts with (anesthesia-muted) outrage and questions. I shush him by saying I’ve got the answers from the doctor and we head up to recovery.

I will be picking him and my Stepmom up at the hospital. Typically, he is demanding to drive himself home (less than 24 hours from near full anesthesia). I have arranged with a friend to drive me back to the hospital to pick up their car and return with it.

And, of course, he is still stewing over the unnecessary procedure and expense. I bet the latter bothers him more, but I’m sure it’s doing his heart good to be so animated.

All of this because, apparently, reading is hard.

One Response to “Reading is hard”

  1. Steve

    I am glad your Dad is OK. I get why he remains upset but a reprieve is good.


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