RB was bedside the next morning at 6:30 am. Take a little look at that if you will. Surgeries started the morning before at 7am, mine didn't get going til 3-ish, and went late til about 7 or 8 pm. I'm sure he didn't throw off his scrubs and walk out the door either. So after he's finished, he goes to a work related function and is at my bedside the next morning at 6:30. His surgical fellow was there at 5:30. And I'd guarantee he didn't leave before RB left. I talked with the fellow later about his schedule. He works straight through with every other weekend off, is at work by 5am and doesn't leave until 5pm at the earliest. Most of the time, it's like my surgery day and he's not out until later. And this guy's been through med school, did his residency at Mayo Clinic and is now doing a fellowship at MD Anderson. I tell you, you get the best of the best at these top-tier places. But I would say that kind of schedule is insane. He has a wife and kids plus he's caring for a bunch of surgical patients. That doesn't sound like the best plan to me, but that's a whole other discussion.
Making friends with the new guts.
He has a wife you know...
Fortunately, it's not as bad as I might have imagined. I'm already figuring out the little tricks to making peace. The surgical fellow and my friend both said I would always know where the bathrooms are and that there would be times when a body wouldn't want to be very far from one. Then he (the fellow) looked at me and said, "There probably aren't many bathrooms out on the ranch." I smiled knowingly and said something to the effect of when you live in the middle of nowhere, the whole world's your bathroom. He laughed.
The good news is, or was (that's foreshadowing) roughages weren't seeming to give me speed issues. However, my surgery site was apparently narrowing in diameter as it was healing and I started having a little bit of trouble. And then, last Sunday night, all heck broke loose. I found myself in the ER Monday with incredible cramping pains with bouts of heaving my guts up thrown in for variety. Oh goody. They got me some good pain and nausea drugs (wow, sweet relief!), did a CT scan, noted the narrowing but said it was open so I was sent home with the no-salads or fibrous foods admonition. That night, I did feel a bit hungry so I made myself a small bowl of oatmeal. The next morning (Tuesday), I had an instant replay and they decided to admit me. Now it's Thursday night and it looks like they're going to let me out tomorrow. I've been slow to progress and Anna says I look pregnant because there is that much swelling in my belly. They did one final, delightful test today which involved chugging a horrifying solution (I just got the heebie-shakes writing that) which I was determined NOT to throw right back up because there was no way I was drinking it twice. That test demonstrated liquids were indeed moving through at least. It had the added benefit of totally clearing any lingering items from last Sunday. The result is I feel much better tonight (no pain meds and I had some crackers!), although I still look pregnant. We'll see if anyone asks, "Oh, when are you due?" while reaching out to rub my tummy, because I'll punch them in the nose. And I'm ashamed to say a little part of me hopes that happens.
Blood tests in the morning to see if hemoglobin and potassium are back up, then I'm busting out of here. Hopefully, this is the last time you'll tune in to this silly blog and find me in the hospital.
Thus concludes our year-long journey. Oh sure, when I have scans I'll update you. But by-and-large, it's over. I've told you way more about the details of my guts than you ever imagined you'd hear. Or want to hear. It has been cathartic for me and I hope that you have benefited from the journey you so kindly took with me. Every time something would happen, I would think, "Oh, this will make a good blog post!" In other words, you dear readers helped keep my overactive mind busy with something other than my cancer. You were active participants on my medical team, keeping my spirits up, offering knowledge, understanding, advice & prayer, and of course taking up the considerable slack that was left in our home and business lives. I could not have done it without you, and would not have wanted to. In return, I hope you got some laughs as we spit in cancer's eye together. While I hope for your sake not to ever have to return the favor, please know that I will. God bless you all!