20 hours. 20 hours home before I was right back at the hospital being admitted into the ER. Dinner went fine Friday evening but by 4:00am Saturday morning I could feel the stomach cramps rolling back in again. I toughed it out until 1:00 when I’d had had enough. Thankfully the ER wasn’t too busy and I only had to wait about 30 minutes before being taken to the back. Of course time goes into slow motion in the ER. I did have a great nurse which helped but if I could only have gotten them to listen to me things could have gone a lot smoother. No I’m not medically trained but after two other times going through this I think I’ve got the drill down pat.
Step 1. Get the patient on an IV drip of saline or dextrose to combat dehydration. Step 2. MORPHINE please. Step 3. Insertion of the illustrious nasal gastric tube – always a favorite.
Well we did good on all 3 steps except step 3 also requires the tube to be hooked to a suction canister. Why didn’t we do this? Because they were waiting on the x-ray results to show whether there was proper placement of the tube – even though the nurse had already tested the results with a large syringe. Oh and now they couldn’t find the x-rays let alone get the results. So, a call goes in for another x-ray to be done STAT.
I finally got into a room at 6:55pm which meant the nurse who met me was going off shift in 5 minutes. This was not working well for Mike as I knew a shift change would once more delay getting the x-ray results. By the way WHAT HAPPENED TO GETTING ANOTHER X-RAY?! Uhm yeah, I needed another shot of morphine and my normally generous and forgiving attitude was sliding downhill quickly. Thankfully the DW was with me at that point keeping me in check. Surprise, surprise the x-rays and their results were in the system the whole time – just not where everyone had been looking. Thank God for the charge nurse and all her vast knowledge!
Finally we got the suction turned on but only a very small trickle of gunk began to work it’s way into the collection canister. My guess is after 6 hours what little backed up liquids had been in the old plumbing had finally drained past the constriction in my guts.
Sunday morning saw Dr. Nasrin Ansari once more entering my room. She was none too happy to see me back in again. I asked her if we were going to have a more serious discussion this time. She kind of cocked her head and said, “I need to get in there and see what’s going on. It’s most likely going to require a resection and Dr. Pishvaian thinks it might be a tumor.” I was ready for everything except that last part. Apparently the good doctors had been texting and Dr. P. added that lovely tidbit in one of his last messages. She wanted to do the surgery on Monday but since it wasn’t scheduled they were going to have to squeeze me in. She hoped to have me in no later than 1:00. Anything later than that and she’d put it off till Tuesday. Needless to say Sunday and Sunday evening dragged on for me especially with Dr. P.’s prognosis hanging over my head.
Monday morning actually went by quickly. Seeing as how I didn’t think I’d go down to pre-op until noon, I was more than surprised when they came and got me at 11:00. I knew my wife was still on her way from an early morning meeting at work and I was sure my senior pastor would also want to see me before surgery. I quickly shot out one last text message to my wife before they wheeled me downstairs. I was grateful for the delay once I got to pre-op as it gave my wife and pastor time to see me off. It’s always comforting to hear God’s word before having the lights turned off.
Surgery went well but Dr. P.’s suspicion held true. Dr. Ansari said she found two small masses of lymph nodes that were constricting around a section of my small intestine. She removed everything and feels she had good clean margins. Pain level in PACU was pretty bad and I was kind of out of it as they pumped me with what sounded like the kitchens sink worth of pain relievers. Thank God for helping man create morphine. I don’t get why anyone would use it to get “high” but as a pain killer it’s immediate effect is truly a blessing.
Tuesday afternoon I was up walking around the floor all the while holding a heart shaped pillow to my abdomen to make sure nothing fell out. Joking – it just felt like things were going to fall out. But I was determined to get out of the hospital as quickly as possible and I knew walking would help me achieve that goal. During my second set of laps one of the techs stopped me as I passed the nurses station. “Mr. Kenney you’re leaking.”
“Huh?” Looking down I peeled the now soaked pillow away from my drenched gown. A yup! I’d sprung a leak. Back to the room I went where my nurse and the charge nurse helped clean me up and covered my incision in 3 layers of bandages. Oh and of course this all happening at the same time one of my sisters and her husband stopped by to see me. The nurses got me cleaned up pretty quickly and I did have a wonderful visit with my sister and brother-in-law. Shortly after they left there was another shift change and the nurse for the evening wanted to check the bandages. Dang if they all weren’t completely soaked. This would continue again Wed. morning and afternoon. Apparently when the surgery is finished they rinsed out my gastric cavity with 4 liters of saline. Now they do try too suction most of that out but there’s still a considerable amount left in. I happened to be coughing from a runny nose and that was causing the saline wash to be pushed out of my incision. Wed. I had yet another CT scan (yes I now glow in the dark) to make sure the internal sutures were still in tact. Thankfully all was okay and by Thursday evening it seemed what ever was going to come out had already done so.
Dr. Ansari came by with Dr. Jason Chen, a resident working out of Washington Hospital Center, to check on me. Going over everything and seeing as how I was no longer “leaking” she pronounced they would be getting me out in the morning. Hallelujah! I thought for sure the whole leaking incident was going to push me back to Saturday. But no I got out this afternoon right after lunch.
So endeth yet another milestone in my cancer journey. On Wed. I’ll be meeting with Dr. P. to see what our next course of action will be. Obviously the Folfox I’ve been on isn’t quite cutting the mustard. Hopefully he has something in his kit of goodies that will knock things back a bit more this time.
As always, I thank the Lord for all of you who are constantly praying for me. Knowing the number of you who are with me thru this continues to have an incredible impact on my attitude and spiritual walk. Thank You. And Praise God for his endless mercies. He continues to bless me in countless ways.