Cancer Diary – Fifth Entry

Posted in Health - aging, mostly by EloiSVM42 on August 5, 2011

My surgery was early Monday morning, December 7. Cynthia and I drove to Phoenix
on Sunday and stayed overnight at the hotel on the Mayo campus to be fresh and
ready the next morning.

Before we left Prescott, I filled the bird feeders. As I was doing this, a Bewick’s wren landed on the ground within three feet of me and began to peck at seeds. He wandered up to my
foot, and then onto my shoe! Often in my life, interesting birds have appeared unexpectedly
and brightened my day.

As for the surgery, there’s not a lot I can tell. I slept through it. We did learn that it was “major.” I was on the operating table for six and a half hours, longer than expected. I awoke heavily drugged, very weak and with numerous tubes sticking into and out from me in various places.

Over the next three days, the tubes were removed sequentially, save one – a feeding tube, stitched into my nose, running down to my stomach and hanging out from my nose about 18 inches. I fed exclusively on liquid nutrition through this tube for two weeks.

I was discharged from the hospital, though I was still drugged. So we immediately checked back into the hotel for a week, which Mayo applauded, as they could monitor me. This was a good decision. The drugs wore off, though not the weakness. We got to practice using the feeding tube unsupervised, but with help nearby if we needed it. And, Cynthia met with the
doctors and they changed two of my medications. At the end of the week Mayo pronounced me doing well and ready to return toPrescott.

It was good to be home, but I was still very weak and we were still using the feeding tube. In another week, we returned to Mayo for a check-up. The surgeon said I was doing very well and he was ready to remove the feeding tube. He snipped the suture holding the tube in my nose and pulled. I was sure I would gag and/or vomit when the tube came up, but it came up quickly and easily. The surgeon sent us back home for another month.

The tube was an ordeal. How much of an ordeal we didn’t realize until it was out. When we got out into the parking lot, both of us started crying spontaneously with relief. We were like the French when the Allies liberated Paris.

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