Tag Archives: thoracic surgery

Prayer Begging

As I’ve mentioned before this was going to be a crazy month with me trying to get a book draft done by month end (for my Stanford certificate) and the IRS audit, etc. Well, as one thing after another got stacked up, I didn’t think I would be able to handle the deadlines.

That’s always when things get worse. Last night my father was at the ER with chest pains. It turns out that he had Aortic Dissection.  According to MedlinePlus:

Aortic dissection is a serious condition in which there is a tear in the wall of the major artery carrying blood out of the heart (aorta). As the tear extends along the wall of the aorta, blood can flow in between the layers of the blood vessel wall (dissection). This can lead to aortic rupture or decreased blood flow (ischemia) to organs.

They had to perform emergency surgery all last night, putting in a 1 1/4″ dacron tube in place of part of the aorta. They started at 10:30 PM and ended seven hours later. The thoracic surgeon had been up for 24 hours by the time the surgery was over. Dad is in recovery today, but they are keeping him sedated (all day today) until his vitals stabilize.

This is extremely major open-heart surgery for an 86-year-old (well, he turns 86 in 9 days) who has less than half a functioning kidney.

As the surgeon explained to my mother, two celebrities have had this exact medical condition–and they both passed away from it.

One was John Ritter. Wikipedia describes his death from aortic dissection this way:

On September 11, 2003, Ritter fell ill while rehearsing for 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. He began sweating profusely, vomiting and complained of having chest pains. He was taken across the street to the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. Physicians misdiagnosed Ritter and treated him for a heart attack, however his condition worsened. Physicians then diagnosed Ritter with an aortic dissection. Ritter died during surgery to repair the dissection at 10:48 p.m, six days before his 55th birthday.


The other celebrity was Lucille Ball. There is some misinformation online about her death. She survived the dissection repair, unlike Ritter, but then it later ruptured and she died at age 77.



I probably won’t respond to comments on this post, but I would appreciate your prayers, thoughts, healing energies, and virtual hugs for my dad and my family.


Filed under Essay, Memoir, Nonfiction