Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Moved to Room 8042

Patsy has been moved to a private room, 8042. Here, Katie, an RN, helps move Patsy, who carries a balloon and a gift bag from Ann, who has headed back to Hutchinson.

Room 8058

Patsy is intermittently awake in room 8058, a shared room, though she is on the list for a private a room.

She has been fairly lucid - even showing a bit of her sense of humor at times - though the morphine tends to put her to sleep.

After a day of being a supportive trooper, Sharon has left to sleep at a motel for awhile and will relieve me at about 9 PM so I can sleep and be up at 6 AM when the surgeon comes by. Hopefully, by 9 tonight Patsy will have a private room and I'll be able to sleep on a cot. They won't let me stay in the shared room past visiting hours because I'm a male and the other occupant is female.

I am told that Patsy may or may not remember anything that happens today, so I'm trying to leave her a record of the better things about this day, and to think like Patsy while doing so (i.e. photographing people instead of buildings.)

So, I shot pictures of Ann, who visited her from Hutchinson today. Ann is a nurse at Promise Regional Medical Center, which will probably always be called by its former name of Hutchinson Hospital by locals.

Ann was quite a help in that she brought useful stuff like lip balm and made suggestions the nurses followed like putting a bubble thingie for comforting humidity on the oxygen line they are using on Patsy to help work the anesthetic out of her system, and adjusting the bed so Patsy's tummy muscles felt better.

As much as a "document everything" nut as I am, I haven't taken any pictures of Patsy after surgery because...

A. It would not be her at her sparkling best.

B. I don't doubt that even though has more tubes and wires hooked to her than a Star Trek Borg, she could reach out and strangle me with said tubage.

So far, I am impressed with Via Christi. The staff have been polite and personable while staying focused on their tasks. It feels very professional here - like the people actually enjoy their jobs. Nobody has been dismissive of Patsy's post-operative pain.

We chatted awhile with Alyce (right), a Nurse Care Manager and Dorcas, a nursing student.

Also, the place doesn't smell like a hospital. It's a teaching hospital and students are everywhere. As I write this, a student nurse is conversing with the other patient about looking forward to her career. So far, so good.

Much to my surprise, Patsy asked to have her picture taken with Ace. She's getting perkier when she's awake. She says it's because she's watching the clock and knows to hit the morphine button every 15 minutes (its minimum allowed interval).

Thank you for all your comments so far, I read some to Patsy and will respond to a couple questions from comments in the previous post as I am able.

Not Cancer - Tumor of Low Malignant Potential

Patsy's surgery is finished. Her surgeon, Dr Douglas Horbelt, just spoke with me. He says that Patsy's tumor is not cancer but neither is it definitely benign.

He called it a "tumor of low malignant potential" and described this as being in a gray area between benign and malignant. He did say it was entirely removed, along with the hysterectomy. They also took her appendix and some of her omentum.

As to the whether the fact of this tumor having been in her has any negative implications for her future, he said he could not answer until the pathology report on the tumor comes back on Thursday or Friday. He said it would be sectioned like a loaf of bread and studied.

I wish I had a more definite answer for all of us, but that's all we know for now except that she is expected to be in recovery for about three hours and should be released Friday or Saturday.

A quick google reveals articles from The National Cancer Institute and The Library of Cancer as well as a smattering of other information. Despite the sources of the articles I cite, I should stress again that he said it was not cancer.

Clearly, we'll have many questions later in the week when the pathology report comes back. I hope for a more black and white answer then.

9:30 Report

The waiting room attendent took a call from the surgery area which reported that Patsy is doing fine - no other information, though. Her surgery continues.

Surgery has Begun

Patsy's surgery began at 7:52, according to the Via Christi surgery waiting room employee.

Getting There and Waiting

Hi there, this is Greg.

After paperwork and a few tests, Patsy was taken to be prepped for surgery at 6:45. She was in good spirits, as she almost always is.

I'll update all of you as new information is available. It'll be awhile, though. The operation probably won't start until about 8AM and in a best case scenario she'll be out in about 3 1/2 hours - that'll be 11:30. If there are updates before then, I'll jump online and tell you.

In the meantime, have some pictures from Patsy's night and morning.

As Patsy noted, it took us one hour and forty-five minutes to drive the usual hour-long trip to Wichita; this is the view just outside the city. We had snow and freezing drizzle at just the right temperature to freeze on the windshield wipers, which we had to stop so I could de-ice. This wasn't a bad thing, as the attention-intensive drive helped keep our minds off the reason for the trip.

Sharon followed us down. It was reassuring to see her headlights following in the distance. When Patsy saw Sharon's truck drive up as we prepared to leave this morning at 3:45, she said she'd never forget her for that.

A pleasant phlebotomist gave Patsy a green band to match a red one she'd been given earlier - very fitting for a Christmas maven.

The hospital bed was delivered and set up yesterday in Patsy's dining room. Last night she practiced ringing her thrift store bell for attention. I noted its fragility; she noted that she has two metal back-ups.

Again, I'll update this when there is any news at all. Thank you so much for your prayers and positive energy.

I'm in

I'm checked in and in radiology waiting for a chest xray. It took about one hour and forty five minutes to get here in the snow and ice. That's about twice the normal time. But we arrived safely. Sharon followed us over. That woman is a jewel. She will wait with Greg today.

(sent from mobile device so please forgive brevity and typos)