George O'Brien Surgery Costs

On February 19th of this year, my dad, George O'Brien, had open heart surgery.  He had a triple bypass and a valve repair that went well but, as he recovered in the ICU, things were not going as smoothly.  You see, my dad has been on blood thinners for a while now due to previous blood clots, and they had to take him off these for his surgery.  The drainage tubes in his chest were getting clogged and, despite trying to clear them, he headed back in for a second surgery to open him back up and remove the blood clots that were forming in his chest.  The doctors originally estimated he would gain about 20 pounds of fluids during surgery - my dad put on almost 50.  They also originally estimated he would be home in 5-7 days, so I had purchased plane tickets for a week after his surgery to help him out at home during his recovery.  He ended up spending 5 days in the ICU and two weeks total in the hospital.  He had a breathing tube in for so long that it affected his swallowing and he had to be on a pudding thick liquids diet for a while.  I stayed for a week with him in the hospital and he returned home the same day I flew back home.

Unfortunately, on the second to last night my dad was in the hospital, he had an awful nurse's aide.  Despite my dad having a fall risk bracelet on, the aide took a phone call and left my dad in the shower alone.  My dad was freezing in the shower and had to ask the guy to throw him a towel.  He attempted to lift himself off the seat to dry his backside and ended up slipping and catching himself on the safety railing with his elbows and arms.  This left a bruise on his back and a note was made in his charts, but he was never thoroughly looked over and assessed for damage and, with all the pain meds he was on for the heart operation, he didn't feel all that bad after the fall.  The part that angers me most is that, when a lady came to take his statement, she kept calling it "an unfortunate event."  This isn't Lemony Snicket, lady!  Call it an accident and own up to your employee's mistake!

In the weeks following his return home, my dad was attending three cardio therapies a week to help strengthen his heart.  During this time he noticed that his right arm was not gaining strength and that his right shoulder was slumping down.  His first visit to the doctor led to a terrifying possibility - that his rotator cuff may be torn and he may need surgery to fix it.  Fortunately, a second opinion decided that orthopedic surgery was not needed, but physical therapy was.  As the weeks went by, my dad was getting stronger and stronger.  He was unable to go back to work at the Pretzelmaker store he owns, because he can't lift more than 10 pounds.  He has been working from home, doing food ordering and what he can, but he has had to hire more people to work because he cannot.

Then, on May 1st, I received a call at work.  My dad was headed into surgery and they didn't think he was going to make it.  He had a subdural hematoma - a vessel had burst in his brain and the area between his skull and brain was filling with blood.  They rushed him in for surgery and removed part of his skull to be able to get the blood and hematoma out.  I rushed home, packed a bag, purchased a plane ticket on the way to the airport, and made it to Minneapolis and his side in about six hours.

He has made a miraculous recovery due to his quick thinking and the quick surgery.  Apparently, he had watched a webinar two weeks previously that said, if he had any head pain, call 911 and do not go lay down to sleep it off.  He had a headache and threw up, but was able to call 911 which most certainly saved his life.

After about 24 hours, they were able to remove the breathing tube and the drainage tube from his skull.  Still in the ICU, he slowly came back to us, talking in raspy whispers.  He was moved to the neuro recovery floor on day 3, where he is gradually improving.  He has ups and downs, which they say is normal, so we patiently wait.

While my dad has set up a $200/month payment plan to pay off his bill, it will take him years to pay off (not including amounts still owed for the previous medical issues he had).  I would love to help him pay off as much of that as possible, so he can hopefully ease into retirement when he turns 65 this year.  But most importantly, I don't want him to be stressing about cash flow while he can't work, so he can concentrate on healing.  I can't thank everyone enough for all the love they have shared during these past couple months.  I love you all.  ❤️
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Organizer

Jennifer Dahlenburg 
Organizer
Minneapolis, MN
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