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Morphine Dreams

June 7th, 2012

I’ve been meaning to update this blog every single evening for the last two weeks, but those of you who have been following the continuing saga of my husband’s intestines know that we’ve been involved in some hospital time lately. By the time I got home every evening, the best I could manage was to look at the computer from across the room for a few minutes before going to bed.

Don is put back together at last. It took a long time – he went in at 7:30 in the morning on May 29 and the surgeon came out to talk to me at about noon.  He said that Don did very well, but the doctor kept sending little bits of tissue to the lab for testing during the operation, which made the procedure last a while.  Everything looked okay except for the small part of intestine that lit up during the last PET scan (see previous entry.) That did turn out to be cancerous, but the doc thinks he got everything.  Don didn’t get out of recovery until 3:00 p.m.  He didn’t have to go to intensive care, they sent him straight up to a room on a regular floor.  I stayed with him until 6:30 p.m. or so, but he was so out of it that I didn’t think I was being any help, so I went home, fairly out of it myself.  Don was pretty sore, but the pain was tolerable.  They gave him a morphine pump so he could medicate himself, which he did as needed and had a couple of very happy nights. He was alert when anyone talked to him, but after a few moments of silence, he’d drift off to sleep.  He was in the hospital from May 29 until June 6, eight and a half days.

For the first few days he was dopey (literally) from the morphine pump, and though he was able to carry on a perfectly lucid conversation, he did tend to fall asleep in the middle of a sentence. The doc took him off morphine on the fifth day, but it was early evening before there was a noticeable change in his dropping-off-to-sleepness.  By the time I left at 7 that evening he was able to figure out how to use the remote control for the first time since he had been in the hospital.  Progress indeed.  He didn’t feel good at all that morning, his belly felt hard and distended, so the staff doctor sent him down for yet another CAT scan. (It’s a wonder he isn’t as radioactive as Fukishima)  However nothing showed up that wasn’t consistent with just having had your intestines sewed back together.  

Don was better on the sixth day, but really felt like slooow going.  He was off the morphine and getting something non-narcotic for pain but for a couple of days there was some residual narcotic weirdness. One afternoon, after a nurse had come in to draw blood, he asked me if there was a child under the bed.  I thought I had misunderstood and asked him to repeat, and he said, “Is there a child under the bed? Did she bring a child in with her?”  That gave me a start.  I said, “are you hallucinating?” He looked abashed and said, “I guess I am.  Too many narcotics, I guess.”  I told him maybe he had gained some sort of psychic vision, but that one little incident did disturb me a bit. There were no more apparitions on the next day, but he told me that in the middle of the night he suddenly decided to pull out his i.v.  He did that back in ’09 when he was in the hospital with kidney failure craziness – he looked at the i.v. and thought, “what the hell is that doing there?” Fortunately, as soon as he did it this time he realized what he was doing and called the nurse.  No harm done, but he did bleed all over everything for a few minutes.  

We were sprung on the morning of June 6. D-Day.  I made him some Malt-o-Meal when we got home, and he ate six or seven bites, then we both lay down for a nap and slept for nearly three hours. I am oddly tired beyond human understanding.  I expect the next couple of days, at least will be very quiet and immobile.  He has no appetite, and when he does eat, he eats very little.  But for a while, that’s okay.  His gut could probably use the rest.  As long as he keeps hydrated.  We’ll see the surgeon next week.  Then he has to make an appointment with the oncologist. Ugh.

In book news, I found the ARC (galley proof) for my next book waiting for me on the first evening after I got home from the hospital.  I spent much of my bedside sitting time working on corrections while Don napped. I’m fairly pleased with the way it turned out. The press sent me a copy of the final cover last week.  This is the artist’s third try for a cover that pleases everyone. It’s very good but just between you and me, I liked the second version the best.  But what do I know?  I’m only the author.

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