So, after going to doctors since September 3, 2014, the vascular surgeon we saw at the end of March performed an endarterectomy . Endarterectomy is is the general term for the surgical removal of plaque from an artery that has become narrowed or blocked. Normally, they don’t do surgery until the artery is blocked 90%.
Fabgrandpa’s artery was only about 65% blocked, but it had ulcerated. This means that part of the plaque had broken loose, and left a hole where it had been. Blood could pool in the hole, and form a clot. If that happened, and the clot then broke loose from the hole, it could cause a massive stroke. Dr. Whitney said that the risks of NOT having the surgery were greater than the risk of having the surgery.
April 2 was surgery day. We arrived at the hospital around 12:30 and checked in. They took Fabgrandpa back to prep him for surgery, and then Becky and I were allowed to sit with him until they took him back to the operating room.
They took him back to begin surgery around 2:00 p.m. They kept Becky and me informed about the progress of the surgery every hour or so. The surgery took about four hours to complete. When it was over, Dr. Whitney talked to us and explained what he did. He had to cut out a section of the artery, and replace it with a synthetic artery made of bovine pericardium tissue. The incision in Fabgrandpa’s neck was about 8″ to 10″ long.
That hole in the lining of the carotid artery was the culprit. If it had not been removed, Fabgrandpa would still be at risk of a massive stroke. He spent one night in the hospital, then was released to come home. The discharge instructions included no lifting over five pounds for two weeks; wear the support hose until the follow up with Dr. Whitney; and no driving until after the follow up.
Fabgrandpa has recuperated very well, and is doing fine. We went to a concert in Atlanta over the past weekend. While he was tired out after more than he normally would be, he was a happy man to still be here to see his favorite band perform.
Today, we had the three week follow up with the doctor. Dr. Whitney said he is doing excellent, and said that Fabgrandpa should be the “Poster Boy” for this type of surgery. We go back in six weeks for the last follow up.
We still haven’t found the reason for Fabgrandpa being off balance, but we are thankful that we kept looking for a reason, and that the doctors found this problem and were able to correct it. I hope that it means a healthier husband for me, and many more years for him to be around.
I will repeat what I have been saying for the last few posts about this: Don’t Ignore The Symptoms When You Are Just A Little “Off”. Your doctor may not find the cause for your symptom immediately, but they may just accidently find something that will save your life.