Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Journey of 2011.................... The Protocol........

Part 1 of the Baby Boomer Series

Part 1

It didn't seem like it was all that long after the ER doctor had given us the information about the CT scan and his finding when the surgeon stopped in to see me. I really hadn't expected to see him before I was admitted to the hospital and especially since it was so early in the morning, but there he was.

The ER doctor had mentioned something about having a preference for who he wanted to do my surgery so I wasn't all that surprised to see an elderly gentleman enter the room. He told us his name saying he'd spell it for us but it didn't spell anything like it sounded. Then he began talking about the results of my CT scan and what that indicated to him.

Right down the line the surgeon outlined for us exactly what the ER doctor had told us to expect for my course of treatment. As soon as I was admitted to the hospital, they would do another CT scan. This time it would be done with contrast so they could get better detail on the location of the blockage.

Once that was done I would be given a tap water enema to clear out the portion of my colon below the blockage. That way they could scope me to see exactly what the tumor looked like and what the tissue below it looked like as well. In addition there would be blood work to determine blood type in case transfusions were necessary and the usual session with the anesthesiologist.

The surgeon described the surgery and its goals. Of course, removing all of the cancer was foremost but in addition he would be collecting samples from my lymph nodes for biopsies as well. It would be later after the results of all the biopsies that an oncologist would decide what further treatments I would have based on the results of those tests.

He told me he would do everything he could to not leave me with an ostomy. He assured me he had done many, many surguries that way with very successful outcomes. He also claimed even if he did end up having to perform that procedure, it would be fully reversible so he didn't want me to be worrying about that.

He explained the condition of my bowels would determine whether an ostomy was necessary or not. He would only be able to know that once he was actually in there looking at the tissue itself but from what he had seen so far he really thought he would not have to do that procedure.

Before he left, he asked if we had any questions and, of course, neither Dave nor I did. Dave was pretty shell shocked and too over whelmed to be thinking of questions. All the questions racing through my mind had to do with my horses and I knew he couldn't help me with that.

After the surgeon left, a nurse came back in checking me for pain. I remember my frustration at being asked to describe it. Give it a number. Assign it some characteristics like tight, throbbing, sharp etc. To me, it hurt enough I was getting pretty p*ssed off at their silly questions. Wasn't that enough.

Later my perception of my pain would turn out to be a very big issue. One no one saw coming...........and certainly not me. For now, I was administered more pain meds and once again I was a little more comfortable than I had been but I still had plenty of pain.

I tried again to get Dave to go home but he was having none of it. He said he wanted to see me settled into my room before he would leave. Only then would he feel comfortable heading home to help Lindsay with the horses.


It was right around 6 when I heard voices outside in the hall. I recognized the usual mispronunciation of my name and knew there was someone to take me upstairs. My name was mispronounced at least three more times before the process of transferring me to the gurney even started.

Despite the pain meds, I was unable to walk or even stand so getting me onto the gurney was pretty awkward. On the TV you see all kinds of doctors and nurses on each side of a patient making the transfer but that's just television. In real life you're lucky if there are two professionals present, the nurse responsible for you and the professional taking charge of you.

On this day my nurse was probably Lindsay's size so nearly half the size of me and the person to take me to the hospital portion of this building was maybe 2/3 my size. Normally I don't think much about my size but seeing these two smaller women trying to slide me from one gurney to another I felt more than a little aware of my size.

If I hadn't felt so bad, I think I would have laughed. The circumstances should have been one of those impossible feats expected on some weird game or reality show with some awesome reward for getting it done. I thought about my friend, Jean who is a respiratory therapist, and some of the stories she has told about dealing with patients much larger than herself. I didn't want to be the result of either of these women ending up with an aching back.

Fortunately, both women could see there was a problem with this scenario. With only one try at sliding me, they began thinking of other options. I was relieved when they decided I could go on the gurney when one of them came up with the solution for hanging my IV. If I remember correctly that solution was Dave. He became my temporary IV pole and then we were headed down the hall.

To be continued........................

Settling in...........

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  1. Things happened very quickly , it seems , as heartening as the fast response was I supsect it added a sense of urgency too. How frightening for you and Dave

  2. The thing that strikes me most is how quickly things started happening. I keep thinking how you hardly seem to have had time to think about any choices or decisions...things just started happening. I can't decide if that would be good or bad for your state of mind in such a situation. It's just so much at once.

  3. The whole staff at the hospital seems to have been very concerned about your pain. They sure got you started on meds in a hurry. And the doctors seemed like they were very quick in diagnosing and getting you ready for surgery.

  4. Wow when they started treating you it did come fast.
    Sure a lot to take in at once. But better than having to wait forever i spose.