Tony’s surgery was scheduled at 7:30 a.m yesterday morning., so I told him I would be there at 6:30. I was running a couple minutes late, trying to get the dog outside since we would be gone for several hours. He never did go outside, damn dog.
Hannah and I are half way to the hospital when he called and said that they were taking him to surgery . . . now! My worst fear was realized when I thought I wouldn’t be able to see him before surgery. But luckily, the porter who was taking him down said that we would be able to see him before surgery – whew!
He was so nervous, like he normally is before any surgery. But I knew he was in good hands. All the doctors and nurses were really nice, his anesthesiologist walked in and shook Tony’s hand as a fellow White Sox fan. They ended up giving him transfusions to make sure his blood levels stayed well during surgery.
Then before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye. I gave Tony my positive face, told him he was strong and he could get through the surgery. It wasn’t until he was wheeled away that I let my emotions get to me for a couple minutes. While its a relief to know he is getting taken care of, the waiting gets to you after a while.
I went and got an oatmeal in the cafeteria, with raisins, sliced banana and sugar free syrup – not bad for $1.50!
We were initially told that the surgery would last between 2 and 3 hours. So in my head, I am thinking 10:30 a.m. at the latest. At 11:00 a nurse hands me a phone. It’s the ER nurse. She tells me that the tumor is lower in his colon than they thought, and it will be another one to two hours.
Okay, at least I know that by 1:00 p.m. everything will be done. At 12:30 the surgeon comes out, and he says that they found more cancer, and have to take out more colon than they thought, but Tony was stable, and it will be another couple hours. The thought that they might find more cancer never crossed my mind at all. 🙁
So we decided to go get lunch. We first had Hannah bring up some soup for me and my Mom, but neither one of us was feeling it, so we went and got something else – it was okay – chipotle turkey, zucchini and I threw on the french fries for stress relief! 😀
So now I am thinking around 3:00 the doctor will come out and tell me everything is okay. Although since we were sitting in the surgical waiting room all day we noticed that some doctors would just come right out, say “everything went as planned, your loved one is doing well” while other doctors would escort people into a private room.
We kind of joked and said “I hope we don’t have to go to the private room!” Finally, at 3:30, the doctor came to us, looked at me and said “do you want to see him?” I jumped up, we started to walk to recovery, when he starts describing the extra surgery he needed to do and then says “why don’t we talk in this room” and leads me to the private room
As I was walking I was like “no, don’t take me to the private room – only bad news is given in the private room!” Turns out he just drew me a picture of what he did in the surgery so I could understand it – whew! But can I tell you that the rest of the family in the waiting room had white faces when I got back!
But since the surgery was so long, it took him a couple hours to wake up. And he was supposed to go to a floor after surgery that was somewhere between a regular room and ICU, but no bed was available. So finally, at around 6:00 p.m., a nurse comes over and tells us that we can wait in the ICU waiting room – that of course made us concerned, but once we got there, I was calm.
My maiden name is Hills. This is the name on the ICU waiting room.
We finally got to see Tony at 6:45 – 15 minutes before the nursing shift change. They don’t allow visitors between the hours of 7-8 a.m. and p.m. during shift change. I was just glad Tony was awake, I could kiss his lips and he saw my face so he knew everything was okay.
Hannah and I drove together in her car, so we picked up a pizza on the way home, and I was back at the hospital at 8:00 p.m. after the shift change. When I walked into his room I saw this:
And while this may look scary to you, he was calm and sleeping, which is exactly what he needs. He ended up waking up around 9:00 and then I left around 11:00 p.m. His nurse only has him as a patient last night, so hopefully he was in good hands last night.
A huge thank you to my SIL Jody, my nephew Chris, my Mom and Hannah for being my moral support all day at the hospital, and for my parents in law and step-son Joe’s texts throughout the day. And thank you for all your comments and emails throughout the day – it was like getting a virtual hug from all of you!
Today the plan is to get Tony walking so he doesn’t form blood clots, and to get him back into a regular room. They previously said his hospital stay could be anywhere from 3 – 5 days, but I guess we’ll get a better handle on that today.
Go give your spouse, child, or significant other an extra kiss and hug today. Sometimes our every day lives get lost in the shuffle and you forget to slow down, and appreciate what you have!