Posted by: wrmcnutt | September 14, 2009

Well, That Sucked, But Not Nearly As Much As It Could Have

Dad’s through the first two hurdles of his lung cancer surgery ok.  In fact, he’s surprised everyone with how well he has done.

The day started off last week, when they told me they’d moved his check-in time up from 8:00 to 7:00.  Which means I had to get up at about 5:30.  Yeah, I know, getting up an insane hour looks pretty petty when stacked up against a life-or-death operation.  But no matter what was going to happen, I was looking at a crappy day.  So did it have to start so early?

But start early it did, and St. Mary’s Surgical Staff leaped right in, by keeping us waiting 40 minutes.  It wasn’t surprising.  It was barely after dawn, and the place was packed. There were barely 3 chairs together in the main waiting area.  Then they called Dad up to the front desk.  He thought he was going to answer more questions, but instead was swept off to the prep area without the chance to say good-bye to his sister (or mine). For a fat man, I’m pretty quick on my feet, and I followed them to the prep area.  Once he had his gown on, I went and snuck my Aunt and my sister in to see him for the requisite hugs, kisses, and good-luck wishes.

But eventually the time came to get down to business, and even my ‘leet ninja skills at hospital-staff dodging were no avail, and we all got booted to the shared ICU, CCU, Surgery waiting area.  They gave me a cell phone, cleverly locked down so that all I could do was answer incoming calls.  It was just as well, after the first ninety minutes, I was ready to be a pain and start calling them.  After all, they were supposed to . . .  Oh.  Right.

So after turning on my cell phone, I discovered that I had not in fact, missed a vital call from the surgery unit, and they had, indeed, kept me waiting for news for 90 minutes.  So I felt a little less foolish.  That said, I heard from them a half hour later, letting me know that they were getting started.  Not with the lobe-resection that he was in for.  Oh no. . . first they were going to do another bronchoscopy to orient the surgeon.  Right.  Ok – sure.  So a half an hour after that, they got started cutting.

Once the train left the station, the staff was very good about calling us at least every hour, but more often every forty minutes to update us on the progress.  I’ll skip the details and just let you know that Dad came through his procedure very well.  Once they got started, it took just over two hours.  He was two hours in recovery, and was in the ICU less than three hours before he was breathing on his own.

The next big challenge for him will be staying off of the artificial lung while he heals.  I am cautioned that they may have to re-intubate him, and we should not be  unduly concerned about that.   If he succeeds in breathing on his own in bed, the next step will be getting out of bed.  But for now, he’s made great progress.

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  1. Sounds like a good start…..Glad to hear that things went well today.

  2. Thank you for the good news! You and he have been in my thoughts lately, and I’m glad to hear the outcome is positive.

  3. There’s a big part of me going “whew!” from the good news – I’m so glad things went as well as they did for your Dad. Please keep us all up to date. Hugs.

  4. thank you for the update. I’m glad things are looking up. Your father made a very courageous choice.

  5. And he’s breathing on his own! Yah! Wazoo!

  6. Good to hear – I finally got internet access so I could get the update!

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