We got to the hospital at 6:45 this morning and they checked him in. He got a call last night with some last minute instructions and they told him I'd have to leave when he went back to pre-op. Still, I was prepared to stay the whole day (books, snacks, etc.) when we left the house this morning.
As they were checking him in, the triage nurse looked at me and asked, "And you're staying?" Chuck and I looked at each other and smiled under our masks, "Yes!" Surgery would start around 9am and would take about 3 hours. They took him back at about 7:15 and I headed to the surgical waiting room.
I don't know if this is normal operating procedure but they now call you when they begin the surgery. They call again in the middle to update you, then again if there are situations that come up and even again when the surgery is over. It was amazing! There were 5 of us in this waiting room (keeping our distance) and they were getting calls left and right. You could hear parts of the conversations, some happy, others were scary as you heard, "You found more?!"
For me 9:00 came and went. No call. 9:30 came and went. Then 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, I was trying not to panic. How come I wasn't getting any updates?! Not sure what to do I went back down to the check-in area (one floor below) and by then I couldn't hold back the tears. I felt foolish but I was so nervous! The charge nurse came out and said the mapping had taken longer then expected and he was now headed into surgery. She wrote down my name and number and assured me I would get some updates.
At 12:20 my phone rang and a nurse told me they had started the surgery and she would let me know when it was over. I was so thankful!
At 2:43 I got another call from the nurse telling me he was ready to go home and she wanted to go over all the discharge papers.
Wait, what?! The surgery is over?? And he's going home? For days they've been telling us he'll be spending the night, that after a surgery like this they want to observe them for 24 hours so come prepared to spend the night... and we did. And now he's going home? And the surgery is over?? I had so many questions for the surgeon so the discharge nurse had the surgeon call me. (No face-to-face due to Covid-19.) I grabbed my journal and started writing answers...
The mapping procedure took so long because they couldn't find any cancer in his lymph nodes! The surgeon had told us last week, "The cancer always drains to the lymph nodes. We do the mapping to find out which one." Thank you Lord for answered prayer! No cancer in those lymph nodes! They spent 90 minutes looking for some but didn't find any!
We won't know until next week if they got all the cancer. They'll have to do some scans to find out. But we're very hopeful they did!
So I gathered all my stuff from the waiting room and headed to the pharmacy. An orderly (do they still call the person who wheels you out of the hospital an Orderly?) brought Chuck to the pharmacy and the 3 of us headed down to the car.
So tonight he's home, a little groggy and in a lot of pain (some of the meds are making him nauseous) but he's home. I want to thank you all for your prayers and concern. He's not out of the woods yet but tonight I'm so thankful he's home.