I hope my experience proves helpful. My 86 years old dad was fairly healthy until he started bleeding heavily from his nose--soon to be followed by a
complete collapse. His doctor told him that he needed open heart surgery and that if he didn't get it that he could not expect to live more than
another year. Until his collapse, he had been fairly active for his age, gardening, going for long walks, working on the computer, etc.
My father did not want the operation and was afraid that he might die on the operating table. My mother pushed him into it. Well, he survived the
operation but he had a minor stroke during it. That was just the start. He was a horrible patient and rushed out of the hospital after a few days.
Once he was home, the nightmare began. You have to have a lot of support to help a patient recover and all of the support came from my 80 year old
mother. He could not shower or do the smallest tasks alone. At one point, his body filled with fluid and he had to go back to the hospital to be
drained. His recovery was long and painful and there were times when I felt he was gong backwards instead of forward in his recovery.
During the two year period after the operation he had to return to the hospital twice-- for a week or longer. He could never sleep at night and he
never got off of the walker. I thought it was strange that he was able to walk to the hospital for the operation but came out using a walker that he
never got off of. He basically gave up on life and became a sluggish version of his former self.
My father passed on two years after the operation--which means he lived one year longer than he would have lived without the operation. His quality of
life was horrible during that time, so much so that his death at 88 was almost a blessing. The best part of his passing was that he never had to go
into a nursing home. That truly would have killed him.
The only positive that came out of the operation was that he had received a warning that life was fragile and short and was able to get his affairs in
order. From a selfish perspective I can attest that I got to have my father in my life for a little longer and I got to show him how much I
appreciated him. I also got to see a brave man handle a painful situation with grace and style and class. He tried not to complain and his last week
was a study in grace and acceptance that I will never forget.
Every individual is unique so I don't know what to say except that everyone has to make the decision on their own. Don't let a family member or doctor
pressure you or a lover one to have a risky heart operation at an elderly age. It's your life and you are the one who must take that
journey--bearing in mind that it could be a very painful one.
PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE RISKS AND REALIZE THAT YOU MUST HAVE A STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM IN PLACE SHOULD ANYTHING GO WRONG DURING THE OPERATION.
DON'T TAKE THE DOCTOR'S WORD ABOUT ANYTHING. ASK QUESTIONS AND DO YOUR RESEARCH.
My father had a GREAT GP but he passed on before my father did. He also had some doctors whom I feel were not very good. There were times when they
simply did not properly address problems he was experiencing--causing unneeded suffering.
As for me, when I reach 86, I would say "no" to heart surgery or any major surgery. I consider every year after 75 as a gift and after seeing what my
father went through, I know that I don't want to experience the pain that he endured just for an extra year. I will live my years fully while I am in
good health and accept death when it comes rather than allowing doctors to play with my life for the sake of money.
edit on 2-9-2015 by
writergeek because: clarification
edit on 2-9-2015 by writergeek because: (no reason given)
edit on 2-9-2015 by
writergeek because: (no reason given)