The Day of Surgery

Ten years and five months to the day before the accident…

9:35 a.m.

I’m writing everyone from Lutheran General Hospital. Rachel was wheeled into surgery just over an hour ago (at 8:30 a.m. – about an hour later than originally scheduled). As most of you know, they’re going to be removing a tumor that’s wedged behind her eyes, and resting against her pituitary gland, her carotid artery, and her optic nerve. The neurosurgeon states that there’s a 99% chance that the tumor is benign, but it has been affecting her vision for some time, and given the number of important things it’s pressing against (Dr. Bovis referred to it as the ‘high-rent’ district), it needs to come out.

The surgery is expected to take about five hours or so, and they’ve given me a pager in case they need to inform me of what’s going on. As it is, there isn’t much else to report at the moment; it’s just myself, my dad and John Tyler in the surgery lounge, waiting to hear of any further details. Once we get any, I will do what I can to let everyone know.

9:59 a.m.

Just got the word five minutes ago that they’ve just started the incision on her scalp. Apparently it takes about an hour and a half of prep time.

11:35 a.m.

Dr. Bovis has just come into the surgery lounge. It appears the operation has been performed exactly as planned. The tumor has essentially been entirely excised, and they have sent in to pathology for a definitive diagnosis, but at the moment, it appears the original verdict was correct: the doctor was fairly certain from the outset that it was benign, but until it’s actually taken out and inspected, he couldn’t give a 100% guarantee. It’s still going to be a couple days before we know for certain. The tumor was pinching the optic nerve severely, and I’ve been warned that her left eye is going to be quite swollen for a couple of days, but she is already awake and alert, and being moved to ICU as I write this. I should be allowed to see her in about an hour or so (they may call it ICU, but I guess I can’t see her just yet).

Further updates as events warrant. Thank you all once again for your prayers; now we have to ensure that there are no post-surgical complications, such as stroke, seizures or blindness (yes, they’ve all been mentioned as possibilities. Remote possibilities, to be sure, but nevertheless…)

12:59 p.m.

I’m up in ICU with Rachel now. She’s drifting in and out of consciousness, as she’s still dealing with the effects of anesthesia, but she is pleased to have the surgery over and done with. Her head is pretty well bandaged, and her left eye is almost swollen shut, but that was what I was told to expect by Dr. Bovis.

Anything you’d like to add, honey?

(her jaw hurts a bit, too, so she’s not much for talking, as it so happens)

“No, I can’t think of anything more to say… Hi, everyone… and thanks.”

Guess that’s it for now. More information as the situation warrants.

6:24 p.m.

Last update for the day:

Rachel is eating right now, albeit nothing more solid than lime jello (she describes the sensation as “like a toothache, only higher up”). We’d brought some stuff to entertain her once I go home – visiting hours in the ICU cut off at 7, although they resume at 8:30 – but she’s still pretty sleepy.

Hopefully, she can get plenty of rest, especially after having to get up so early this morning (and not having gotten much sleep last night). Now, I need to see to Daniel… I do so hope he’s eaten SOMEthing in our absence.

Once again, our thanks for your prayers and remembrance.

August 27, 8:29 a.m.

Well, everyone…

Rachel came home from the hospital yesterday; thank you so much, Dana for helping her with that. I have taken today off, originally to help her move out of the hospital, but the schedule got moved up on me.

So now I’m just here watching over her in case she needs help with anything, and to be honest, it’s not much of a job. Rachel has reminded me several times already that, despite the staples in her head that look like half of a silver headband, she is not made of spun glass, and should not be treated as if she were. It’s a bit difficult to decide whether to overrule her or accede to her wishes; however, she does appreciate my being here should something happen (say, for instance, she should fall down or whatever), so maybe I can still serve a purpose. In any event, it gets me away from a job that has grown steadily more frustrating this week (for everything that gets accomplished, two things show up while I work on the first to take its place – makes one not want to tackle even the first job, and now, I’m not!)

But enough about my own complaints. Rachel has been fairly ambulatory since Wednesday (one reason why she chafes at being escorted to the bathroom at this point – nothing personal, she had the same reaction to the hospital staff already), and once out of her hospital gown and into street clothes, looks fairly normal, apart from greasy hair (can’t scrub too thoroughly near the staples, after all), and what is still a fairly badly bruised left eye that, if someone didn’t know us well enough, might reflect poorly on how I treat her. It’s a good thing she likes the color purple, because it looks like it’s going to be that color for a while yet.

She’s also having troubles with eating, as it is painful to open her jaw more than halfway – probably as a result of the work done to her skull. She is eating solid food after a fashion – mostly soft stuff like ramen noodles and cottage cheese – but is definitely following the old adage about never eating anything bigger than your head a lot more closely than usual.

For those of you in our church family, I believe you will be seeing her on Sunday, but given the descriptions you’ve already read here, don’t be surprised if she’s wearing a hat. Until then, we want to thank all of you who have been following this story for your thoughts and prayers, and we will be seeing most of you quite soon.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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