Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Milestone

Yesterday, Friday, was a bit of a milestone in my recovery. It had been a tough week, battling digestive issues, no appetite, etc. Then on Thursday morning, at the end of my tube feeding, Amy and I had the idea of opening up a pro-biotic capsule into the water that fills the syringe that flushes the tube. In other words, we were introducing the beneficial flora right into my small intestine. This, I might add, is definitely not standard medical practice so we were taking a bit of a chance and venturing into unsanctioned waters, so to speak. But lo and behold, within a few hours I started feeling better. Markedly better. It was apparently a gamble that paid off.

Back to Friday, and my doctor’s appointment. I have been waiting anxiously for this day to arrive, since it held the promise of the removal of my surgical drains. What a pain those drains had been to my life, getting in the way of just about everything. We arrive at Dr. Bhoyrul’s office a little early, and the waiting room was filled. Fridays are “clinic” days at Dr. B’s, and a steady stream of patients were called back to the exam rooms, and then leaving one by one, until it was just me and Amy left. We were called back to the exam room, where we sat in the same place we had sat almost exactly one month ago. I recalled being sickly and scared when I first met the good doctor, and he sketched out the intricacies of the Whipple procedure on the white board that hung on the wall. What a month it had been. The roller coaster of the last 6-7 weeks played in my head. Here I sat, after major surgery, weak, but minus one tumor and plus one functioning bile duct. But I digress…

As we waited in the small exam room, Amy sensed my anxiety, and asked me what I was worried about. I told her that I didn’t know what was involved with the drain removal or if I could handle the disappointment if for some reason the drains needed to stay in longer. She laughed at my concerns, told me not to worry. A moment later, Dr. Bhoyrul swooped in with apologies for making us wait (unnecessary) and we exchanged hugs and formalities and then got down to the business at hand. A review of the last week, discussion of calories and protein requirements, a vitamin protocol, etc. Then he looked at my drains and agreed it was time for them to come out. He extended the foot of the exam table so I could lay flat, and proceeded to glove up and get some scissors to snip the sutures that held in the drains, all the while keeping up a banter about something that totally eludes me know. Then, without one bit of warning, he proceeds to pull on the lower drain. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!! The pain was shockingly intense! I let out a blood curdling scream. What I thought would be 3-4 inches of tubing turned out to be about 18 inches, and I could feel it snaking its way out from deep around my intestines. Every inch that came out was excruciating. I lifted my head to see what the heck was happening and the first thing I saw was Amy’s face, with her blue eyes big and round and her mouth in a silent “OHHH”! Before I could regroup, the dear doctor set upon the second drain and the whole process repeated itself, scream and all! I had no idea that there was that much tubing inside me, and Amy told me later that the last 6 inches were “flat, like fettuccini”. You can imagine how good that felt coming out. Dr. Bhoyrul just smiled and said, “Now you know why I scheduled you to be the last patient at clinic today”, meaning he didn’t want my screams to scare his other patients. Glad to help, doc. I was a little shaky for the rest of the day, but woke up today with a fine appetite and feeling quite a bit better.

I will feel much more mobile without those damn drains, and hope to start some forays out into the world in the next few days. Hope to see you around town. Thanks for listening.

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