Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Year Anniversary – Part II

I later learned that the drugs were so strong that I was put on a ventilator for the operation because I wouldn’t have been able to breathe by myself. I’m glad I didn’t know about that before the surgery.

I wasn’t much help during the operation. I wasn’t awake and being asked to move my arms or feet like some brain surgery patients.  (Suzy Parker in her book, I had brain surgery what’s your excuse?) talks eloquently about being awake during her brain operation and I shiver every time I think about it.)

Speaking of not being a much help, my sister told me a story about one of the top Doctors of Oriental medicine she’s met.  He apparently told a patient that the upcoming procedures were going to be very difficult.  The patient choked out something like “Difficult? What do you mean?” The doctor answered “Not for you, for me!  You just lie there.”

I lied on the operating table for six and a half hours. I’m not sure what the original estimate was for, but I think that was about twice as long as we thought it would be. Why that long? As The-Good-Doctor said afterwards, “I have plenty of respect for that tumor – it was a big nasty one.”

Hmmmm, that didn’t sound so good.

I later learned that she decided not to cut out the entire tumor because she was afraid that if she cut through any more blood vessels, I would have a stroke.

 Hmmmm, that didn’t sound so good, either.

She then told us that she took out about 70% of the tumor.

Yikes! What about the other 30%?

In nearly the same breadth, The-Good-Doctor mentioned that she’d get the rest of the tumor with radiation in three months or so.


That sounded dangerous, desperate and difficult.

But, The-Good-Doctor’s confident smile and disarming tone of voice put me at ease.  She didn’t seem alarmed.  If she was fine, I guess I would be fine.

I also learned that I had two blood transfusions during the operation.  I didn’t tell my Dad because he’s always worried that you might catch some horrible disease from a blood transfusion. I just kept wondering if that meant that I’d end up with thoughts from somebody else like they do in the CSI TV show (but it never happened).

Soon after I awoke, my family swarmed into my room in the intensive care unit, congratulated me and wished me all the best. I showed them my railroad-tie-sized stitches, and they made appropriate “Ooooh-ing” noises.

 At the time, I felt pretty darn good – little did I understand that I was so full of really powerful drugs that I wouldn’t know if I were punched or stamped.

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