Archive for the ‘Surgical Oncology’ Category

At our second day at the hospital comes to a close I think back over the last two days and realize that it feels like 2 weeks instead of 2 days.  I hate this time warp that seems to keep finding us, I guess I’m going to have to learn to just deal with it.

Surgery Day

We had to check in at the hospital at 5:15 am.  As in morning, except it’s really still night time–cold and dark outside.  I’d forgotten my ibuprofen at home and didn’t realize it until bedtime on Sunday so I didn’t fall asleep until about 1 am.  I was crazy tired and very jealous of Neil’s hospital gurney and warm blankets.  After getting labs drawn, him all hooked up, gowned up with the cutest little pair of disposable shorts, belly clipped he was finally taken upstairs to OR waiting around 7:20.  I went out to the car (which was parked very close to the front doors) for my hoodie and a few things and got breakfast.  They’d planned the surgery for about 3 hours so I’d planned on waiting until I talked to the surgeon to get lunch.  I was getting updates from the OR every 1-2 hours, no details just “he’s still doing fine” I was surprised to get a visit from Amber who I went to nursing school with, and in hindsight she showed up just as I was starting to get anxious about what is taking so long.

I had found ibuprofen but didn’t want to leave the hospital to find a real soda1 so I was also caffeine less at this point.  I did have a soda coming in, so there was hope in sight and chex mix and fruit snacks seemed like a relatively balanced meal.  I wasn’t hungry, I just wanted to see Neil and talk to the surgeon.  Around 2 pm I saw the surgeon.  They didn’t initially get clean margins on the pancreas so they took another slice and had to re-sew it up.  The old tumor around the celiac access was tedious to take away from the vessels as well.  We are hoping for clean margins there as well, but he took as much tissue and he could.  We wait and see for pathology reports at this point.  He did put in clips so it will be easier for the radiologist to mark.

Once back to his room he really wanted some water.  Not water on a pink swab intended to just moisten his mouth but that he sucked dry trying to get a drink of anything.  After sleeping a bit more he woke up hurting (he learned that post-op crunches are a bad idea) but each time he woke up, he was more awake.


Neil in I differ in a few different ways.  Perhaps most strongly in our morning habits.  I enjoy my snooze alarm and/or laying in bed watching the sunrise, listening to the birds chirp or whatever means that I don’t have to be up. Neil gets up before his alarm is even turned off.  This was obvious with him trying to get out of bed and resulted in him sore and/or dizzy.  He’s spent today learning the value of getting up slowly (or waiting while I unplug the SCD’s, lower the side of the bed, arrange his tubes and lines) and then sitting at the edge of the bed for a while his body adjusts to being upright instead of vertical.  He’s enjoyed apple juice, jello, ice water.  The surgeon does some cool things to avoid overuse of narcotics and they’ve helped control his pain, just wearing off a few hours before his next scheduled dose of tylenol and toradol.  He’s not enjoying the incentive spirometer, the pain that comes between getting up and getting down, or the random pains that come with a long open abdomen surgery.

The LifeFlight helipad is just across the unit from where Neil’s room is, it’s been fun to peek at them, I’ve been able to catch them taking off a few times.

Tomorrow will bring longer walks (full unit laps instead of half laps) and sitting up in the chair pretty close to every other hour, a shower for me and tracking my car down from the valet (yet another long story)

1 This spring Intermountain Healthcare made the decision to get rid of pretty much everything with high sugar content.  Contraband sodas are now referred to as real.  Yes, I know that artifical sugars aren’t healthy, besides not enjoying them they trigger seizures for me.  I can’t change the rule and I most certainly didn’t make it or have the ability to explain why.


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