Saturday, October 10, 2009

Feeling lucky?

Yesterday and the day before was a series of, "Man! Am I lucky or what?"

I made my first solo trip to Palo Alto. I felt like I was losing my mind without my co-pilot with me. Chemo brain only added to mild levels of panic at each interchange. "Oh my god, I'm gonna get lost for sure!" ran frequently in my mind. I only missed one turn, and that was in Redwood City. Quick U-Turn and I was back on track. (I missed that turn every time, even with a co-pilot). That was a long 4 hour drive, and I feel lucky that I made it.

My room was ready for me. It was a terrific room in a great spot on the strip. I felt lucky to have it knowing the horrible motel about 2 miles up that I've stayed in before.

I got to my CT scan location a little early. I felt lucky I didn't get lost.

The CT folks called me in about 5 minutes late. I felt lucky. Sometimes Stanford runs a little behind schedule.

Later, while waiting to meet my surgeon, one of the staff members came by to offer water or coffee to "guests" who were waiting. When asked when her appointment was, one guest replied with a time that was over an hour ago. "Sheesh! Gonna be a long day.", I thought to myself. I actually got called in only 40 minutes late. This is by far the fastest I've ever been called in. Lucky again!

The surgeon tells me that I need to lay off the Big Macs (my liver has some fatty spots building up in it). Other than that, I'm in terrific shape. That's great news! Lucky again.

Ok... now the real kicker. I should have bought a lotto ticket on June 4th.

My local family physician and my oncologists have been waiting for the Op Report that never seemed to arrive. While meeting with my surgeon, I asked for a copy that I could hand carry to my practitioners here. Never EVER read your op report. You find out that your surgeon is a lot like an Army recruiter. They don't lie, but you don't always get the whole story.

For example:

I was told following my surgery that I was given 2 units of blood because I bled a little more than they anticipated. The entire story comes from the op report...

Much to my shock, the left hepatic vein slipped out of the vascular clamp. It turned out that this was not a vascular clamp but a vascular instrument which was used as a passer; therefore, there were no teeth inside, but it is looking exactly like a normal vascular clamp. Therefore, I was left with a large hole in the left suprahepatic vena cava. I was able to close this with a 4-0 Prolene but not before I had lost more than a liter of blood in just a few minutes.

... however, it was a frightening few minutes of the case.

Holy crap! I'll bet that surgeons butt puckered up BIG time when my veins were doing a water-wiggle impression. Imagine the student's learning opportunity while I laid there squirting all over the place.

Lucky? You're damned right! Reading the report REALLY makes me look at things even more differently than I had only a week ago.

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