I have been updating his CaringBridge site for family and friends – so here is the synopsis of the past few days sitting in a hospital in rural Pennsylvania.
We camped out all day on Thursday in the surgical waiting room at the hospital. I designated myself as chauffeur to the hospital for Mom and Dad. After pretty much shoving Dad out the door at 5:15 AM, I had to zoom up to the hospital (about 45 minutes away from the farm) but managed to get them on time at 6:00 AM.
The surgery took longer than expected (6 1/2 hours) but the surgeon said that it was wasn’t anything indicative of something wrong. Everything went perfect for a standard Whipple procedure. There was no additional cancer spread as far as they can tell. The tumor measure approximately 2.5 cm, or about an inch. Everything was sent to Pathology for analysis; they anticipate results by the middle of next week. That will determine the next steps – chemotherapy, radiation, etc.
He stayed in ICU overnight for observation. It was really hard to see your parent in such a state – tubes, masks, everything taped up to him. I remember my mom’s transplant 9 years ago and applauded myself for not having an anxiety attack this time around. 😉
Mom called bright and early Friday morning to report that he had an overall good night in ICU. While he was clearly not happy about the tubes, IVs, and whatnot, he seemed in better spirits. He was more communicative (granted, with waving hands and gestures) but I knew that was a good sign. 😉
The ICU only allows two visitors at a time to see him, which is why it seems like a merry-go-round.
Mom met with the surgeon today, and he said he was worried about the lung function. Dad’s lung function is still not up to performing without the ventilator. A therapist has been brought in to work with weaning him off the respirator. However, everything else is going fine.
Later Friday night, Dad went off the ventilator. His oxygen levels still are a little low so he has the mask nearby if needed. We got a chance to speak to him and he is able to talk a little. Of course we don’t want him talking too much and get all excited that he may leave soon. 😉
The staff were able to get him up and into a chair to visit for a little bit. He is in a lot of pain but hopefully the pain meds will help that out.
The the Dad that I know appeared overnight. The staff had quite the eventful night last night. My dad is a smoker and has been for about 60 years (he will be 69 this year which should tell you something). Anyone who has quit (or tried to quit) knows that withdrawal, bluntly speaking, a bitch.
So, as you can imagine, between major surgery and being in ICU, without nicotine, will set anyone off. Add onto the fact that Dad loathes hospitals, well, you can imagine what happened. Dad tried to get out of bed multiple times. He got one of his IVs out. The staff had a devil of a time with him keeping him still. The nicotine patch they put on him was nowhere near enough to satiate him.
Finally, he calmed down. Nicotine gum was added to help with his addiction. He did try to get out bed while we were there, prompting a mini crisis, but the nurse cleared him to sit on the side of the bed only if we were on either side of Dad.
While we were in there, the “breathing girl” (his words, not ours) came in for a treatment. Watching him do his exercises and watching all that gook come out of his stomach was a sight to behold. At least something is coming out, I keep telling myself. The therapist said that he is progressing, that his oxygen level was dropped this morning, and that if he continues to do better, it will be decreased again. The treatment does tire him out so we went out to let him rest.
Now we just hoping he behaves his ass so that he can get moved up to a regular room today.