I’m laying on a hospital bed on the fourth floor of the Weinberg Center under several blankets. My left hand is a mass of tubes and tape (the arterial line in my right hand came out last night) and I’ve got more tubes in other places plus an epidural, which was the first line they used to get the ball rolling, and the last thing I remember before waking up in the ICU.
I made it through with fewer complications than they were expecting. The mass wasn’t sticking to or growing from any major organs. It was self-contained and freely floating about my abdomen which meant that it was a lot easier to remove. They did radiation treatment while I was open, and removed my gall bladder for good measure. I’m thanking my lucky stars because all of that meant they didn’t need to set up an ostomy of any kind.
Now there’s a large scar running up my stomach, sealed with what looks like black indoor-outdoor carpeting. At first I didn’t notice it all that much, because I was still coming off anesthesia. Later in the day I went from the epidural to Tylenol to Dilaudid as the pain got more severe; there was a point when my breathing was so shallow as to be useless. The Dilaudid helped back off that pain and I was able to breathe and speak somewhat normally. I was also able to get up and walk a loop of the ICU, which was one of the boxes I had to check to be admitted to the main floor up here. The other was getting the gastric suction tube removed, and I hope I never have to do that again. Think of the sharp pain you get at the pool when water gets up your nose but this time it doesn’t go away, and then add the sensation of plastic scraping all the way up your windpipe from somewhere down by your legs.
Overall, it could have been much, much worse. Jen has been with me the whole time and told me that everyone has been checking in on the situation and sending love. I like to think that love counted for this outcome.
P.S. I’ve got pictures of the baby. Who wants to see? Use the comment box below with a viable email address.