Phew! Surgery Is Behind Us

Denise
martini-19324_640First, thank you so much for for your texts, emails and private messages wishing my dad well and expressing your support. I so appreciate them! A very special thank you to @marfromwi, who's been managing the chat room as Lillie's aunt is not doing well. We're thinking of you, @lillie. Please update us when you can.

My dad did well during his surgery on Tuesday and will probably move from ICU to a regular room today.

Monday, the day before his surgery, was a tough one! My dad couldn't eat; when I asked how he was holding up, he waved his hand and said, "Don't even talk about it." He did his best to relax but he paced and roamed about the house.

We started out for the hospital on time on Tuesday and arrived at 5:50 a.m. We barely sat down before they called us up to pre-op. After my dad settled in, I asked for a chaplain, who arrived a few minutes later. He said a beautiful prayer, asking God to keep watch over the care team, my dad and his family.

I think we were so glad to be in Tuesday and in pre-op that we all started to relax. My dad closed his eyes for a few moments and my mom and I sat quietly. The surgeon, his assistant, the ostomy nurse and the anesthesiologists all stopped in. My dad bragged about how well he did on his stress test to the anesthesiologist, who asked him in complete disbelief, "Did you go on the treadmill?" "Oh, yes," my dad said, "for five minutes."

My dad left for surgery at about 7:50 a.m. and surgery began at 8:45 a.m. My mom and I waited (she read, I worked) until my siblings (including a sister-in-law) began to arrive at about Noon. The OR nurse called a few times with updates ("his kidney is out" and "his bladder is out") so we felt encouraged as we waited. The surgery ended at just about 3:45 p.m.; we met with the surgeon shortly after. All went well, he said, although there's concern that the cancer has spread to him lymph nodes. We'll know more next week. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, he may need chemo. But, we're all walking and talking today so that's our focus.

I started cracking at about 5:45 p.m. We expected his recovery to take about two hours after which he would be transferred to ICU and we then could see him. When we hit the two-hour mark, I checked with the receptionist in the waiting room to see if my dad had been transferred to ICU.

"We've been waiting for two years," I said.

Trying to correct myself, I said, "I mean, two months."

I tried one more time, "Two weeks."

I finally just stopped trying to find the correct time span (two hours) and let the receptionist figure out where my dad was. (My siblings didn't let me drive home; my brother drove my mom and I.)

He finally made it to ICU about 6:50 or so and we were able to see him at 7:10 p.m. (I'm not sure why I've got these times so drilled into my head. But they are. I suppose it's a side effect of constant clock watching.) He was doing really well when we saw him; he recognized everyone and chatted a bit. He asked my niece, a college senior, if she brought homework to do. She assured him that she didn't have any homework, to which he replied: "Why kind of an education is your mother (my sister) paying for if you don't have homework?"

We left grateful for a successful surgery.

I had a work commitment all day yesterday (6:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.) so wasn't able to visit. My siblings and I had worked out a visiting schedule based on everyone's commitments so my brother and sister-in-law picked up my mom and spent the day with her at the hospital. My sister and my other brother dropped in throughout the day. My dad was very talkative and in some pain and discomfort but nothing horrible. His favorite priest stopped for a visit and couldn't believe how good my dad looked.

My mom and I are heading to the hospital this afternoon, bringing a gin martini for my dad. His surgeon gave the okay and my dad is in need of one.

Join our mailing list

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter that includes caregiving tips, news, support and more.