Thursday 1:15 a.m.
Awake. Dreaming. Crying. Trying to stiffle the tears that refuse to stop.
Later today they will poke two holes in my husband and the thought of it hurts me more than I ever dreamed of.
The first one will go right in his upper chest. You know the place... The place that when your man holds you close in the twilight. The place where you lay your head. That little curved out space that you fit into so perfectly and feel so protected and loved when his arms go around you. Right there is where the first hole goes. It's called a Smart Port and he will have to carry a card to get thru security as it has a metal lead that goes under the collar bone and ends at his heart. It is there to be ready to have a place to put the Chemo and IV's when that begins next week.
I'm not sure why but I thought it would have a hole to the outside but it doesn't. It's covered by skin which they will numb each time they shoot the chemo-juice to him. The doctor tells me that the skin covering the portal will get very tough from all the needles and injections.
The second hole. It goes directly into his stomach and has two valves. Two valves.
One is for the liquified food and I'll be darned if I know what the other one is for.
No one taught me a thing. Yet. That comes next week.
Just to show you my stupidity, I truly thought I could grind up a small pizza and stick it in that tube. Ha! Not even close. Everything must be the consistency of water. What was I thinking? Sadly, I thought he would finally get a meal today. No. Not for a week or until they can teach me how and what to do.
Me. Teach me. I know about mascara and foundation. Blush and eyeshadow. I am clueless about healthcare. Clueless.
My husband is shrinking.
30 pounds of weight loss in less than 2 weeks isn't good.
I'm telling you.. Any one of us that thinks we are 10, 15 or even twenty pounds overweight. Good. It's insurance. Embrace those pounds! I used to worry and try to lose a few pounds. Not now. Let it be! I'll enjoy each chubby pound to use as a reserve.
You never know.
My husband looks the color of fresh poured concrete. Go check out the worst looking driveway in your neighborhood and that is his color this morning. Surgery is at 10:00.
He is clammy. Dripping wet and panting. Can't breathe. Looks like he died. HOW can they cut into him when he feels this bad?
He can't eat. He can't drink. Surgery is in one hour.
I get him to the car. He looks even worse as time and miles pass by. I feel such panic.
I get him to the hospital and checked in. They begin an IV and his color comes back.
The doctor comes in to explain the procedure.
PEG Tube. Tube down the throat with a camera attached. Poke a hole in the stomach and the two meet up and connect. The outer tube has the two valves for the food. I failed to catch what the other valve is for. sigh
The Chemo port goes in right under the shoulder and a wire lead is fed under the collar bone, under the muscle and to the heart. It is completely closed. No outer opening.
This mystifies me.
They attach leg things to massage his calves during the surgery to keep him from throwing a blood clot. (Much like the reason a passenger is encouraged to walk about the cabin on a long distance flight)
They wheel him away. My heart breaks and then sinks. I want to call him back and just go home. Forget the holes. Forget cancer. Forget this day and hide under the bed. Make this ride of horror stop and get OFF!
I am told to wait in the waiting room until the doctor will inform me how the surgery has gone.
I walk away from the surgery center with tears blurring my vision and I walk into a part of the surgical wing I'm not allowed in to. The nurse gently calls me back. I'm lost. So lost.
One foot. Breathe. Another foot. Breathe. I used to love to hear the sound of my heels clink on the marble of the courthouse as I walked the halls. Click. Click. Click.
Today my heels sound like they are taunting me as I walk. Holes. Holes Holes.
They echo and repeat. Holes. Holes. Holes.
I somehow get to the surgical waiting room. So many others are there... waiting.
I see a young girl in a tank top with her entire arm missing all the way up to the shoulder. Scars so mean-looking and red. I Do NOT want to see these things! I do NOT want to feel the pain of others. Patients with bandages on their eyes. Splints. Hurt.
I find a recliner chair far away from everyone. I want to wrap myself in a cocoon and be lost. My phone has been on silent but ringing. I begin to call all of those that love us back and it helps. Words. Comfort.
The doctor finds me there. All went well. I can go back to be with him in 10 minutes. He shakes my hand and tells me Henry's throat is as raw and red as hamburger but everything is fine. He now has TWO holes.
I am brought back to his suite. He is asleep and looks horrible. Dark brown Io-Prep all over him to sanitize the areas. Blood.
He wakes up as I lean in to him. He croaks out one word... "Sorry."
Sorry? For what? I never find out what he is "sorry" for.
An hour passes. He can get dressed and I can take him home. Instructions, prescriptions, pain killers.
The ugly tan curtain is pulled closed for privacy and I kneel down to help him put on his socks.
He bends forward and his eyes instantly see the feeding tube that is now a semi-permanant part of his anatomy taped to his stomach. He jerks up back into a sitting position and in the saddest voice I have ever heard he looks at me asks,
"Lana! What the Hell is THAT?"
"It's why we came here today. It's your tube." I tell him.
"Good God! That thing looks like AWFUL! Did we pay for that? What have they done?" as he winces in pain.
He hasn't yet seen the Smart Port. It's bloody and looks painful. A huge bump under the skin. I'll save that for tomorrow to remind him about.
I help him get dressed and as two crippled people, wounded, we leave and I drive him home. Sleep.
I want to take his pain and tubes and holes away and let him forget and sleep. Sleep. Escape into Sleep.
Tomorrow, he has his usual radiation treatment at 10:00 a.m.
To all of YOU. You mean so much to me. Your notes, phone calls and words of encouragement mean the world to us both. I would be even more lost without you. You own my troubled heart.