Today was misery.
We woke up at 3:30 to be at the hospital at 6:00 a.m.
Answer questions for charts and more records. Allergies, meds etc. Red Tape.
The RN who was so sweet began an IV but blew a vein straight away. 2nd try. She infiltrated the vein this time. I saw the Lactating Ringer solution well up into a huge bolus under the skin on his arm. All the fluids settled there. Call in a back-up 2nd RN since they have a 2 Stick Rule and this one got it. Whew.
Next, the surgeon and the anesthesiologist came in. One detail was discussed that if the tumor was too big for my husband to be intubated (The Dr. breathes for you thru a tube inserted in your airway) so that he would have to have a tracheotomy) A tracheostomy is a hole cut into your throat to be used for an airway, food, water and to talk. That also involves a week-long stay in the hospital and the trach would have to stay in place thru radiation and chemo treatments so that is over 2 months with a hole in your throat. All while getting the crap sizzled out of your neck with radioactive beams. Not Fun.
They take him to surgery at 7:30.
At 9:00 the RN comes to tell me that the surgeon still hasn't performed the surgery biopsy. The tumor is
6 inches across and pressing hard against the windpipe. 3 more weeks and it would have suffocated him. No air and you die.
You can live
3 weeks with no food
3 Days with no water
3 minutes with no air.
These two wonderful Doctors worked for well over an hour but they got that tube down his airway so NO TRACHEOSTOMY!!! Good News and I truly do think all of YOUR prayers helped with that one. Hey, I'll take one miracle at a time.
2 more hours... Both doctors come to find me in the surgery waiting room.
The tumors are growing at lightening speed. Radiation and chemo are imperative now or as in two months ago! His neck has many other tumors, some small and some large. One is 6 times the size the surgeon has ever seen.
They tell me he will have a very rough road ahead. You only get ONE shot at radiation in your lifetime, at least in your neck. Too much and it can kill YOU and not the cancer.
We won't even think about if the Radiation doesn't work....
Two nurses come to get me. He is in recovery but family is not allowed back there. My husband is very agitated and asking for his wife so they let me back there into those secret halls where family never enters.
OMG. When I see my wonderful football/basketball player husband lying there so vulnerable, I just about melt. I want to crawl into the next bed over and cover my head and his too.
His throat is a bloody mess where they took a biopsy from one of the tumors.
They "de-bulked" the largest one so he can breath. (I assume de-bulked means to cut part of it off.) Ouch.
His mouth. His mouth is so full of blood and pieces of tissue. His skin is ice cold as I put my lips on his face. I can see his pain but former athletes never whine. I do! His pain scale was a 10.
I told him he had to get the morphine offered and he finally does. I convince him that it's not being wimpy to take pain meds.
Oh, the rest of the day was more scans and pokes, prods, meds and procedures. So many wonderful nurses and doctors to help us. My husband has never been sick! No surgeries or broken bones, no ailments or treatments since he had his tonsils removed at 6 years old.
What causes this type of aggressive ugly cancer?
Smoking. My husband never smoked a day in his life.
Drinking. My husband has a few beers with the boys once a week, if that.
More men get this type than women.
I do know that I have never felt so helpless and incapable in all my life. We are like two children here and I am more lost than he is! I can evacuate a burning aircraft of 215 passengers in less than 90 seconds but I am a complete dolt when it comes to any of this.
I cried for 20 minutes when I couldn't find the thermometer but finally did when I found it clutched in my own hand. I didn't know I had it.
I need to learn to slow down and be calm. No longer one day at a time but one minute at a time.
He's home now and resting. He describes his throat as a Lawn Mower that had a party in his mouth.
Thank You all for everything from your advice and instructions to Prayers and support but mostly for being here for me. Being here for us both. You are all amazing!
I had my iPad in my bag with me in the Recovery room and the Tweet beeps and incoming email beeps were going off like fireworks. It gave us both so much comfort. You were right there with us!
My husband said that with each beep you let him know that he's still alive.
Right now, I want to go eat a medical dictionary.
WHY didn't I pay more attention to my First Aid courses? Why?