Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

Hi there. How's it goin'? How've you been?

To the folks who read this, allow me to say thanks for reading, and for putting up with my radio silence the past few weeks. So what happened, Stu?


'Round about the end of January, I found out that my mom was going to need open-heart surgery. Heavy-duty news for her, but the prognosis was good, and my ma is a strong soul. So I was nervous, but not *too* nervous. (and she's fine, as of this writing, February 27th, 2009, so everything's cool, didn't want you to be tense while you read the rest of this)

Ok, so there I am, in Los Angeles, my folks in New Jersey, and I have to start getting my head in the game. Also, I'm a believer in jinxes, so I didn't blog about it, or really tell anybody, until she was back home, so I stopped blogging and started focusing, and some deep prayin'.

My siblings and I discussed it and decided that I would take the first shift. We'd all meet in NJ a few days before the surgery, then they'd go back to their kids and I'd stay with Mom at the hospital until she was well enough to go home.

So I flew out, saw Mom, she looked ok. Not awesome, but not like a woman who needed a bypass or two. For 70-something, she's in pretty good shape. But still, they were all certain that she needed a bypass - the docs were pretty sure they'd need to do four, but wouldn't be certain until they got in there.

So now it's operation day and we get there, and we wait for a super-long time (hours) before they tell us that there's been some more emergent heart cases and that they'll have to get to her the next morning. That was pretty stressful, and as I was to find out, the waiting is indeed the most stressful part (Tom Petty is right, the waiting is the hardest part)...

So now it's Day Two and this time they are ready and she goes in to surgery. My pop, my bro, my sis, and me sit around and wait. Every few hours they come in and give us an update. Finally it's over, they tell us it went smoothly, she only needed three bypasses (grafts) and we can see her. So we walk to her post-op room and she's sleeping, but sure as G-d made little green apples, she looks better. I mean, to me, it's significant. She had more color or whatever, but she looked better than she had when she was wheeled in hours earlier.

After a few hours they wheel her to her ICU room and we wait for her to come out of the anaesthetic. She does, we say hi and I love you and whatnot, and all heave a sigh of relief.

Eventually, a day or so later, my sister and brother head home and it's just me and Pop watchin' over Ma. And I'll tell you, it was the most amazing thing I'd ever witnessed: my mother got steadily, noticeably better every four hours, almost like clock-work. The staff at the hospital was fantastic - upbeat, professional, competent, empathetic, and never showed a trace of the weariness that must come with the job.

A few days later Ma was well enough to go to a step-down unit, and almost exactly a week after they cracked her sternum to start the surgery, they wheeled her out the front door to head back to her own bed.

So here I sit, at my parent's dining room table, writing this all down, for you and for me.

It's been a pretty heavy few weeks - fair amount of stress, lots to do, a mild amount of hurry-up-and-wait, and way less boredom than I expected. I learned a whole lot of medical stuff in a short period of time, and I learned about the pliability of the human soul. No knock on anyone who has to have open-heart surgery, but for the folks who care and have to bear witness to the healing process, it's a lot of spirit-stretching.

So I'm pretty tired. Fortunately my sister is coming Friday (along with her beloved), and as Mom is clearly on the mend, I'll be heading home on my flight booked for Sunday.

Feel free to ask questions, I'll answer what I can without divulging too much about Mom's medical stuff (she's cool with me telling folks about the general stuff, but there's also a fair amount of stuff that anyone would want kept private) - anyway, ask away, and to the folks who are my friends in one form or another, thank you so very much for your presence - whether you knew it or not, you kept me sane throughout this period and I am ever grateful.

Now it's time to pick up a recliner for my Ma, and to deal with whatever else this day will bring. G-d willing, I'll pick up my regular blog posting some time next week. Prepare for both the boring and the mundane, as it will be my therapy as I sink back into normalcy.

Peace be unto y'all,



Lori said...

To all out there I want you to know what an angel Stu is. His voice and spirit I am sure are what guided mom's healing along with her inner strength. I am blessed to call Stu bro!!!! xoxo

Melissa said...

Lori, you are a lucky soul indeed. Stu is aces in my book.

I am so happy that Mom Mark is on the mend and that you all are/were there to lend her your strength and love.

I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Helene said...

Good to hear that your Mom is doing well. It will take some time before she's feeling all herself. It is amazing how quickly the doctors get patients out of the hospital and back to their own environment. My Dad had quadruple bypass surgery in June 2007. We did like your family... everyone rallied around and took turns being there for both parents. It took some time for him to get back up to speed. She's got to remember to rest and not get frustrated.

Your sister is right, you are an angel watching out for your family. There are a lot of people who care around. Take strength in that.

AmyL said...

Oh wow! I'm so glad things went well and that you'll be getting back to the normal routines soon. I bet your wife and the kiddos will be happy to have you back as well.

I was hoping your absence didn't signify a major crisis of any kind...and thankful that everything worked out.

Suldog said...

First, glad to hear everything is OK. Thanks for giving the good news up front and not leaving me hanging on that.

I went through the operation with my Dad, some 21 years ago now. To be truthful, Stu, I think he was better before it. He never fully got back to the vibrant self he was before it. Of course, my Dad was a heavy smoker before, and overweight, and (after the initial month or following the operation)he only gave lip service to exercise and eating right, so it was mostly his own fault.

Anyway, I was the only one taking care of him, as he and my Mom had divorced years before and I'm an only child. I know only too well what a strain it can be, and how much work can be involved in the care. You're a good man, Stu (you already heard that from me at other times, I'm sure, but it doesn't hurt to say it again.)

By the way, when you have a moment, I'd really appreciate your opinion concerning my blog today. Take your time, though. Here's the permanent link, for when you can.

Anonymous said...


Glad to hear that your mom is home and on the mend. An answer to prayer.


Sharfa said...

I was wondering what the hell was going on. Now I feel very selfish for missing my "Stu Fix".

I am very happy your Mom is doing so well. You are a very special man Stu, and I agree with Lori: You, being you, has helped speed her recovery!