This afternoon we spoke with a doctor from the surgical team and a cardiology resident who is consulting on Dad’s care. Both said reasonably hopeful things, to the point where we’re willing to consider this another “good” day. (Yesterday was a “good” day simply because the surgery went better than expected.) If Dad can string enough good days together, our hope of recovery can rationally increase.

Dad’s vital signs and other measurements of health are worse than yesterday, but following last night’s surgery this was not unexpected. Indeed, we’d been told this would be the case. Still, Dad’s ICU nurse, Kit, said that the numbers “weren’t that horrible” and that he’d seen much worse, so we’re taking what consolation we can from that. They’ve also backed off and removed some of the medications Dad was on previously, so if things aren’t going quite the way they want, they can start those up again.

The aforementioned cardiology resident, while offering no promises, felt good about how Dad’s heart was doing. In fact, he even went so far as to tell us to worry about other things (like kidneys, infection, etc.). It’s small thing, but presently small things count for a lot.

The surgeon was clear: Dad’s next few days will be critical. If Dad stays stable and his numbers improve, it bodes well. If the numbers decline, it bodes ill. If he suffers any significant negative event such as heart attack or stroke, the show is probably over as the mortality rates for someone in his critically ill condition skyrocket.

My mom and I are back in Salem this evening. I will be speaking with the surgeon again tomorrow morning, and Mom and I will then decide what to do in terms of traveling again up to Portland. In a great many ways there is very little we can do. Our presence at OHSU makes no difference to Dad at present—though this will change if/when he comes to—so we may opt to receive phone updates for a while. If all goes well Dad faces at least four to six weeks in the hospital, so Mom and I need to not exhaust ourselves (which unfortunately we’ve both done in the last week).

At the risk of tedium for readers, allow me to say again how much we appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and support. I will, of course, continue my updates here as I learn more. For now, we wait.