Open Heart Surgery for My Dad…

My dad, Russ Perlman, age 60, just eleven days after open heart surgery and five bypasses. I’d say he’s looking pretty good!

Well, I haven’t posted for a while as I’ve been super busy but I am excited to catch up on a few subjects this Thanksgiving holiday weekend…

Just two weeks ago, my dad Russ Perlman had open heart surgery and five bypasses. The urgent surgery came out of no where for all of us – my dad included. He’s 60 years old, not overweight, in overall good health and very active (plays softball up to 5 times a week).

Apparently, over the past couple of months my dad has been feeling a little out of breath while playing softball. He even vomited after running the bases one day and nearly passed out another. He ignored the signs until feeling that his jaw was going numb one afternoon while standing in the outfield. At that point, he told his girlfriend Patty and they made an appointment with his internist. He was immediately sent to a cardiologist for a stress test, which led to a surgical appointment for angioplasty and to have stents put in. Unfortunately, the doctor realized my dad’s arteries were 100%, 99%, and 75% blocked. There was no way a stent could be inserted and at that point a heart surgeon was called for open heart surgery.

Considering that my siblings and I just lost my mom to breast cancer in 2008, the idea of my dad going under for serious open heart surgery was scary. As I told him before he went it, he would need to fight as hard as he could. He couldn’t leave us now. We were so lucky that he was getting this second chance – as the doctor said my dad already had two silent heart attacks – either of which could have killed him.

My dad’s surgery was scheduled at Palm Beach Gardens hospital with Dr. Heitman last Thursday, November 8th. He was on the bypass for more than 8 hours. But he came out, five bypasses later and did great! It has been two weeks since his surgery and my dad has been home for over a week, is walking and doing everything else on his own. He was recently okayed to drive on his own. And the only thing he’s not permitted to do…play softball for the next two months! He’s a little upset with that but he’ll make it ­čÖé

So why I am writing about my dad’s open heart surgery here? Because this is a warning to all my readers to have the people in your life get checked, have their stress tests done annually, and listen to the signs. My dad was and is healthy. It was hereditary reasons that led to his blockage more than anything. So, take this is as a sign, a warning, a push to get your loved ones check out…before the New Year.

And, my dad is not along. Coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease, or simply, heart disease, is the No. 1 killer in America, affecting more than 13 million Americans. Heart disease is a result of plaque buildup in your arteries, which blocks blood flow and heightens the risk for heart attack and stroke. Learn more here.

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