To start, a Ken Blanchette update: It has been an eventful couple of weeks for my father. It began back on Tuesday, April 23, when he was admitted to Nashoba Valley Medical Center for a heart problem.
The next day during an EKG, a large amount of fluid was found around his heart and he was transferred to St. Elizabeth’s in Brighton.
A procedure needed to be done to drain the fluid, but due to my father being on blood thinners, they had to wait until Friday, April 26, to do the procedure.
It was a success as they drained over a liter of blood from around his heart.
They eventually found a medication that would keep his heart rate at a normal pace and he was released April 30.
Now, with my father back in good order, it is time to shine the light on the most important person during this ordeal, my mother.
Like a stubborn mule (slight joke about her age, but also a small compliment), my mother refused to leave my father’s side for the eight days he was in the hospital.
Be it having a small room prepared for her, sleeping in a waiting room on a cot or catching a nap in her car, she was there for the duration.
If my father needed a drink, my mother grabbed it. If he needed a nurse’s attention, she would get it.
If he needed to be adjusted in bed, my mother did it. My father pretty much had VIP service for nearly 200 hours while we played the waiting game.As most people are aware of the health issues my father has had, not everyone knows the tough road my mother has had to travel. Back in June 2008, during a surgical procedure, an artery was nicked during the closing procedure. Nobody knew it happened which led to a troublesome 90 minutes as they could not get my mother’s blood pressure to stabilize.
They eventually had to re-open her where they noticed the damage. During the time that had elapsed from the artery being nicked until she was re-opened, she had lost eight pints of blood. She suffered a minor heart attack on the operating table and after a brief time of recovery was put into a medical coma for two months to allow her body to recuperate.
She has recovered to a degree, but still struggles in some facets. Her short-term memory has slips (I rarely take advantage of this), she is unable to taste anything she eats and has the balance of a college student in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day. Despite the issues put in front of her, she has fought her way back to become as normal as possible.
Since my father’s strokes a year ago, she has become the rock by his side — driving him wherever he needs to go, making sure his medications are set up, taking care of all of the tasks that he was unable to do in his diminished physical state. The issues that both have faced have made their marriage stronger and showed why, for reasons sometimes unknown to myself, they decided it was best to spend the rest of their lives with each other.
As someone who has nearly lost both parents, I have become more appreciative of what I have. It used to be that I complained about what I wanted, but as you grow older and life makes the road you travel a little bumpier, you quickly come to realize that you have to celebrate what you have in your life.
What I have learned is that my father has an amazing wife, that Dunkin Donuts has a dedicated customer and I have a great mother in Kathy Blanchette. So, to all the mothers this weekend, thank you for all you do and to all the kids out there, pick up the phone, drive to their house, send a card or do whatever you need to in order to show your mother how much she means to you.