Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wait For It...The Rest of the Story

Right after I finished yesterday's blog post about Mark's surgery, I looked up to see a dear friend of mine walking in.  Holly and I taught together MANY years ago in Little Rock.  She had been watching my posts on Facebook and came to sit with me.  There is a lot more to the story about why it was so special for her to come but I won't share that for now.  I will just say that her being there was a huge blessing; we were able to talk on and off for the next couple of hours. It was a good distraction for me.

I can't say that I was overly nervous or worrying the whole time. I honestly was so tired I didn't have much energy to be anything.

However, one thing kept me a little on edge.

Since we sat in the waiting room for so long (we were the last family to leave), I started to figure out how the whole thing worked. The phone at the front desk would ring, the receptionist/hostess would answer, then she would call out information to the waiting families.

After we had been waiting for about 40 minutes, we had our first call.  Surgery had started.

Then an hour and a half or so later, we had another call.  "Cloud?  They are working on him; he is doing fine."

A while later the phone rang again. I found myself holding my breath every time it did (though at that point there were still other waiting families).  "Cloud?  They are still working on him; he is doing fine."

I learned from watching the others that after the appropriate time, the doctor would walk in. Some doctors took family to the family room (which I was sitting next to) to share surgery news.  Others would just meet with the family in the waiting room.

So after the 2 1/2 hours I had been told the surgery would take, I expected the doctor to walk through the door.

But he didn't.

And more time passed.

I still wasn't really nervous (again, thankful for Holly and small talk).  But I was ready to see that doctor.

Then the phone rang again.  Except this time,  the hostess said, "Cloud?  Phone." 

I will not lie. My heart stopped for a minute. Or two. Or three. 

I had not seen one other family go to the phone.

It took all I had to say, "Hello?"

"Just wanted to let you know that we are closing him up.  It was a hemangioma like we thought. He is doing fine."

Big deep breaths.

I know I was shaking. And starting to cry. (You know, happy tears.)

So then I waited for the doctor to walk through the door again. They were closing him up which is when the other doctors usually walked in.  So I waited.

And waited. And waited.

Then the phone rang again.

And again, I was called over to the phone.

I was pretty much on edge by that point.

I even asked the hostess if this was normal.  She only smiled.


"Hi, just wanted you to know that he is fine and the doctor will be out to talk to you."

I turned around to tell my in-laws, but they were gone.

While I had been on the phone, they were ushered into the family room. Then I was too.

I was feeling pretty good since I had just had the phone call, but then we waited some more.

And waited.  And waited.

Finally my father-in-law went to the front desk to make sure we were really supposed to be waiting in there.  The hostess said she would find out.

Shortly afterwards, the doctor and his team (he had two students with him) walked in.  He assured me it had gone well, that he was 99.9% it was a hemangioma (I don't think he is allowed to say 100% until there is a pathology report), and that the bone had fit nicely back in place (now held with titanium plates).  He told me what to expect for a while and then answered a whole lot of questions.  Then he was gone.

I walked back into the waiting room and said good-bye to Holly (who spent more than enough time in a waiting room with me!). 

Finally a nurse walked in and told me I could come back.  I took Mark's clothes with me and walked into the post-op area. 

When I walked in, Mark was sitting up but his eyes were closed (and of course, one was bandaged up). 

I walked over and touched him.  I got a half-smile. 

When he talked, he pretty much kept his eyes shut.

And he talked really lightly.

And when he talked, it didn't always make sense.

In fact, today we have relived some of the same conversations because he doesn't remember a word of what we talked about yesterday.

I did not get any fun videos that will go viral on youtube. In fact, I didn't get any fun videos at all. There were times he made funny comments but overall, he was just so groggy and a bit grouchy.

(One little funny though was when I told him that my friend Holly had come to the hospital.  He quickly told me that he didn't remember her being there at all.  I had to tell him that was because he was in surgery.  :)

I helped Mark get dressed (which was an experience) then listened to all of the instructions from the nurse.  The doctor stopped by to check Mark's eye movement (which was really good) and his vision (still fuzzy).  He reminded me of some of the instructions, then we were told we could get the car while they got the wheelchair.

Thankfully my father-in-law got my car for me so I could wait with Mark.  Except I had to wait for him first. 

And I waited.  And waited. 

Finally a hospital attendant asked me if I was the family of .....  I am still not sure what name she said. When I said Mark's name correctly, she nodded and told me that he was sick.  I rushed back in only to find that he needed to use the restroom before we left.  (He had been sick though earlier)  I escorted him into the bathroom because he was a bit unsteady.  While in there, his head started bleeding.  It was like a comedy of errors, me holding all of our stuff, his belt which he insisted he did NOT want to wear then, and his "barfbag" for the ride back to the hotel, while trying to clean up blood in a men's bathroom. I went back out to tell the attendant who just stared at me. I suggested they might want to get someone to clean up the bathroom.  She disappeared.  Then we waited again.

Finally my mother-in-law went to look for her (I really wanted to push the wheelchair out at that point but figured it was against policy plus I had full hands).  The attendant returned. I told her we were the gray/silver van.  When we got outside, she turned the opposite direction, looking for a red vehicle.

Finally we got Mark into the van. My in-laws had driven separately which turned out to be a good thing. They went to pick up prescriptions while I drove back to the hotel.

The drive back was an experience.

I should know how to drive in Little Rock but it has been 18 years since I lived there. 

And as luck would have it, there was construction.  Like come to a screeching halt construction.

Meanwhile, Mark (who usually drives) is trying to get me back to the hotel. But he was pretty out of it. He was also a bit whiny (which I understand). I couldn't get the temperature right. We kept hitting potholes which hurt.  He just wanted to be at the hotel.  (So did I!)

Finally we got there, somehow managed to get him up to our room, and I began the process of caring for the wound, doling out medicine, helping with clean up, fetching ice, etc.

In all, we had been gone for over 8 hours. 

It felt like 3 days to me.  To him, it felt like 2 hours.

Oh, by the way, I didn't sleep any better that night.  The hotel bed was not comfortable for me.  And my poor husband slept sitting up.  

Fast forward, we are home now.

Mark's appetite is back.

He can walk around fairly well (as long as he doesn't look down).

We kept his eye patched all day.

He is in minimal pain.

However, his eyelid is three times its normal size. And it is quite colorful.  He looks like he was in a brawl.

I am pretty sure he is counting down the hours until tomorrow when he can take a shower.

We still don't know about vision (his eye is too swollen right now). We know he can see (sometimes double) but will have to wait a few more days to find out for sure where he stands.

Now we will finish up spring break in "recovery" mode.

Then I may need a spring break to recover from this week. :)

Mark goes back next week for a follow up. I may or may not need to take him depending on his vision.  So I guess it isn't really the rest of the story. Just more of it...

More later,

1 comment:

  1. How is Mark doing? I ve been thinking about all of you?


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