Things are slowly looking better. There is a light shining at the end of the tunnel from somewhere, and we can't quite see the source, but the light itself is enough for now.
Yesterday afternoon, they took my father off the ventilator and ever since he has been awake, coherent, and cracking jokes just like his old self, albeit in a quiet rasp for now. The diprivan they used to sedate him left him a little disoriented and full of a repeating carousel of questions. But when we visited him just a little while ago for breakfast, he was retaining more of what we told him and remembering snippets of what happened yesterday and who visited him, which means his short term memory is (at least as far as I can tell) intact. He is still my dad. This is one of the reliefs I was holding out for.
He ate some eggs and French toast, took his hypertension medicine without incident, and everything seems to be going well, even better than I expected. He still has a balloon pump in his leg that's helping his heart for the time being. Our options are still limited in terms of immediate therapies. The doctors tell us that his kidney wasn't harmed at all by the heart attack, which is amazing. Bypass surgery is still the best way to fix what is wrong, but it isn't possible at this time.
The plan of action for now is to get him strong again, do drug therapy to break up the blockages in his heart as much as they can without operating, firm up the arteries around the heart with stents to make it as strong as possible, and wait until surgery seems more plausible.
I can't say enough about how well-supported I feel. I am probably driving back up to Massachusetts tomorrow now that things have been stabilized, and I cannot wait to return all the hugs I've been sent by way of Amherst and Boston. I told my father last night that every poet I know has sent him the energy and thoughts, to which he responded, "You all just keep writing poems. There is so much joy in what you do."
I couldn't agree with him more.