Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 14, 2017

Wake up on a beautiful Pacific Northwest Summer morning with a mission: Get the warts on Randy's vocal cords removed. We set the alarm for 6 am in order to check in at First Hill Surgery Center at 7:15am. According to Google Maps, the hotel is a four minute walk; it's literally around the corner and less than a block to the Surgery Center (which is not the same place as First Hill Medical Center, where he had his tonsillectomy and neck dissection last summer). We had plenty of time to get dressed, get me a coffee, and get there.

Randy wasn't able to have anything after midnight. No food. No water. No gum or mints. They really don't even like you to brush your teeth, just in case you swallow a little bit of your own saliva and/or toothpaste. They aren't fucking around.

On Thursday afternoon, the day before surgery, we headed over to the Emerald City, after our Kid Sitter, Ms. G., arrived to take care of the two-legged children and the four-legged child. She's awesome and incredibly brave because she agreed to spend the night at our house. She's been with us for a while; she volunteered a lot of her time for us last summer when Randy was going through his cancer treatment. The boys worship her. We are so thankful for her. We can't leave our trolls with just anybody. As a mom of a child who has seizure disorder who is medicated twice daily with three different pharmacological drugs, two of which are given to control seizures, and one of which is given to induce sleep, we're pretty particular about who we let provide care for our boys. And this was the first time we'd left them for an overnight with a sitter in our home. Last summer, when my husband was going through tonsil cancer, and the summer before when I was going through breast cancer, the boys stayed with our close friends, Momma Christine and/or Momma Bonnie and their families. So, leaving the boys at home with a sitter for us to go to the city for an overnight with a surgical procedure the next morning, given Randy's health history and the fear that he was going to seize in the operating room, and if he did that meant he was spending the night in the hospital, so it could be that she was going to be with them for two nights...this was a big fuckin' deal.

The drive east from Port Angeles was perhaps the longest drive I've ever had going towards Seattle, and not simply because it was summer and surgery was looming. Living on the Peninsula means having to drive. But this was different. We caught the Hood Canal Bridge open for marine traffic, and there was an accident at the intersection just before the bridge on the Jefferson County side. Seriously?! So it was a double whammy, at the same spot, before even leaving the Peninsula. Through all of it, Randy did a great job driving.

Ferry ride to downtown Seattle
The ferry ride across the Sound was beautiful, and perhaps even a bit chilly with the wind. After the boat pulled into the dock in downtown Seattle and we disembarked, I drove Randy and me to the hotel fairly quickly, considering city traffic always sucks. After checking in to our room and letting the kids know we had arrived at our destination, (we called them on the phone, no, really) our dear friend Jeff picked us up and we went out for Mexican food. Then we went to Full Tilt for ice cream (I recommend the flavor Ube (proun. ohh-beh). Because if you can't eat anything after midnight, you may as well stuff as much in as you possibly can! Also, you only live once, so you may as well try the freaky ice cream that's made out of a purple yam which is popular in Fillipino dishes. No shit. It was delicious. It was way better than the Vegan Myan Chocolate bullshit that Jeff and Randy each got. Whatthefuckever, you guys. That shit was nasty. Goddamned hippies. Eatin' vegan ice cream.

Almost there....
We left the hotel early Friday morning, well before 7 am, because when you're stopping for a coffee in at Starbuck's, you you know it's gonna take a goddamned year...even at that ungodly hour....and headed up to the Surgery Center to check in.

After checking in, my husband and I walked through the vast waiting area that had semi-comfortable looking couches and chairs. I chose a pair of large, high-backed blue chairs with a narrow, but plain wooden table in between them, set down my 16 ounce white chocolate Americano, sat down, and pulled out the lap top. Because I'm not gonna just sit there for 90 minutes, and it's rude to leave and go shopping or some bullshit when your husband is in surgery. Right? Besides, the only thing open, besides Starbucks, is McDonald's (never!) and Bartell Drugs (later, when he's through surgery and in recovery. Because: chocolate.).

Anyway, so he goes back and they prepped him and then the nurse came to get me in the waiting room so I could keep him company. We met the anesthesiologist who was very kind and very thorough in reviewing Randy's health history. Based upon our conversation with him, he wasn't entirely sure Randy had a seizure last summer...but we all agreed there's no point in speculating about something that happened over a year ago. We both felt comfortable with the anesthesiologist putting Randy to sleep for this surgery.

Then the Lady ENT came in. I've only ever met her via FaceTime when Randy goes over to see her, so this is really the first time we've been in the same room and met formally. And she is lovely. And she's smart. And she's just gonna laser some warts off of my husband's vocal cords. She does this kinda thing a lot.

I head back out to the waiting room. And wait. And write. And dork around with my phone. And get up to pee like 12 times because my anxiety is so high. And they have free Starbucks in the surgery area waiting room, but I'll drink my water thanks.

And about 90 minutes later, the Lady ENT comes out. She's sad. Disappointed. She had to stop the surgery.

Wait. What? You didn't laser any warts off? I mean....

No, I'm sorry I didn't. Your husband has a very narrow passageway, and I need a smaller scope in order to access his vocal cords.  

I thought....

I know, I thought so too. I tried several times, with several different scopes, but was unsuccessful.

I know the real estate in his throat is limited because of the breathing tube the anesthesiologist has to use. Was that a factor?

Partly. However, but most of it is because of you husband's anatomy. It's narrow, and so I need a scope that is basically a smaller gauge so that I can get to the papilloma on his vocal cords.

Ok. So...?

So I had to stop the surgery because had I continued, I would have done harm.

Thank you for following the Hippocratic Oath. Is he ok?

He's ok. He's in recovery and you can see him soon. I'm so sorry. In my twenty years of practicing medicine, this is the second time this has happened. I feel badly that I wasn't able to help him in the way I anticipated.

Wow. So, it's a pretty rare thing?


But of course it happens to my family.

I know you guys have a lot of medical issues. And I'm sorry for everything you have on your plate. Please know I am as disappointed and frustrated as you are.

And as he will be.

I'll need to see him on Wednesday for the post-op.

Why? You didn't really operate.... I mean, not to be disrespectful.

No, you're right.

I mean...for us to get to the city and be here today took a lot of coordination for our kids. I know you know we have a child who has epilepsy and autism, but our 8-year-old has a full arm cast because he fell off the monkey bars and broke both his radius and ulna the week before school was out for the summer.

Oh no!

Yeah. And he's in arts camp next week, and he's really looking forward to going. So for us to be here on Wednesday for a post-op when there was no op.... Do you really need to see him? Or can we take a step back from this and perhaps have a conference call instead?

Yes. There's, you're right, there's no need for you guys to make all of the arrangements you have to and travel when really it's going to be such a quick visit. We can talk on the phone on Tuesday. I'll have my office call you this afternoon to set up a time.

Thank you so much. For everything. Really.

You're welcome. He'll be in recovery for about an hour and then you can go back and see him. I'll stop by and talk with both of you before releasing him, but he probably won't remember a lot of what we discuss, because of the anesthesia.

Ok. Thank you, Doctor. I very much appreciate your compassion and dedication to my husband and my family. Thank you for your support.

It was everything I could do to not hug her.

So instead, I went pee for the 100th time, and then left the Surgery Center. I made a quick stop at Bartell's for some smoked almonds for me to eat on the way home, and some chocolate (for the kids! And me. Because I needed to do something nice for myself, so I chose chocolate. Duh!). I grabbed most of our stuff from the hotel room, walked it down the street to the parking garage and left it in the Highlander, then back to the hotel, grabbed the rest of our shit, checked out, had a wonderful interaction with a blind woman on the street, and went back to the Surgery Center, who was calling me to let me know that Randy was waking up. Dammit, sometimes I have awesome timing!

Anyway, when I went back to see Randy, he was pretty loopy from the you are...and he wasn't particularly happy. Which is totally understandable.

Once he was feeling like he could get going, I asked for a medical pass for the ferry so we could be assured that we would get on the next boat home, we got our shit together, which included lots of packets of saltine crackers and a couple of vomit bags, I got the Highlander, drove back to the Surgery Center and met him and the nurse in front of the building, because they wheeled him out in a chair, which is standard. I asked what they do with people who don't own a car, the nurse said they usually call a taxi or take a bus. Jesus. Can you imagine getting out of surgery and getting on a bus? I'm thankful we have a reliable and comfortable vehicle to drive home in.

We caught the ferry in the nick of time, and were both starving, but ferry food wasn't happening, and so we stopped for something at Central Market in Poulsbo. The soup bar was a welcome sight. So were the fresh flour tortillas for tacos the next night. Nothing like meal planning on the fly. We'd talked, and Randy felt like homemade re-fried beans was something he could swallow without a lot of pain.

The ride home was largely uneventful. It was a beautiful day. Traffic was pretty light, considering it was a Friday afternoon in the middle of summer, and we were heading out to the Peninsula. The boys and the dog were happy to see us, and we were happy to see them! Ms. G. said they did great. The boys and Ms. G. all loved their chocolates!

So we're on for this week. But I'm not telling you when, exactly, because I suffer superstition. And I'm  hoping that since this is the third time we've scheduled this surgery, and they say things come in threes....

Also, I have no details worked out yet. I have things brewing, but nothing is for sure. Child care. Dog care. Overnight in the city. Again. The A Team is on high alert, and for them, I have eternal gratitude.

I'm trying to see the good...but this post has gone on entirely too long. And I'm Jabbed Out!

Bus ad; when's WA DOH & AG going after Big Sugar?

You can always tell the tourists, because they look up.


No idea what these buildings are, just a cool shot.

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