UPDATE: I missed a few things – often midsentence, sometimes entire points – on first posting so I have updated this on Tuesday morning.
I might be home on Thursday afternoon. Home. It’s such an incredible thought.
But first, Darren, Alannah and Ma (my mum) visited this afternoon. Mum had just got there when we could hear Alannah shouting in the corridor.
I had expected the reaction to be worse, in all honesty. Cuddles were absolutely out of the question. I don’t look like her mum, don’t smell like her mum, don’t sound like her mum. She spent a long time – perhaps only a few minutes – attempting to get inside Darren’s hoodie and away from me.
Then she agreed to sit next to me while I drank the rest of my liquid lunch (nutricia lemon drink before you ask or imply) and she ate her cheese sandwiches and spat out her avocado sandwiches. She even kindly let me feed her some cheese sandwiches and touch her hair.
Darren got some food while I had to have more drugs and my dressings changed and Ma took Alannah out to meet the nurses. My in-hospital speech pathologist also came for a visit. She seemed pretty stunned to watch me swallow fluidly through a straw when yesterday I had only just learn to squirt liquid into my mouth with a 1mm syringe and on Sunday I was exhausted and phasing in and out. It all helped: the removal of the tracheostomy tube, eating for myself, then pulling the nasogastric tube out in the middle of the night when I started suffocating from the icepacks wrapped around my head and the tube, and the two blood transfusions. So much happened on Sunday.
Later we all sat out in the patient chill-out zone, complete with kiddy chairs and table. She ran around mad as a hatter flapping her arms and shouting, stopping only to get more pear to stuff into her mouth or spit out well chewed pear.
I had my longest sleep in hospital after they’d left. Maybe two hours. I woke and was eating afternoon tea an hour or so later. It was apple puree mixed with a little water to get the best consistency to suck through my straw and, more critically, wired shut teeth.
And my reconstructive surgeons, Dr A and his sidekick Dr W, walked in. Dr A, in his amiable way, was delighted with his handiwork. They took off my cast and the leg airs as I write and the nurse chases up new dressings. He wants the physios to do some gentle reactive and even active manipulation of the donor leg ankle, as well as making a new cast that is 90 degrees (my foot currently points down rather than straight out). It is also of great practical help that I can now unwrap and wet the donor leg when showering (or bathing as I will have to on return home). He thinks I might be home on Thursday but it is Dr P’s call. He assures me the elephant man swelling will go down. I need to make an appointment to see him on Monday.
They had no sooner left when Dr P waltzed in. He is also happy with his handiwork. We still await the bone pathology, but he anticipates the only issue might be they say the tumour was right at the margin on a particular section of the jaw called the dead zone. However, they took frozen sections of the soft tissue removed beyond this margin and it was all clear. He is operating all over the place this week, so he will leave the decisions on going home to my consultant physician Dr L. I need to make an appointment to see him on Saturday and be vigilant about keeping my wired teeth and mouth very clean, just brushing the teeth I still do have and using the mouth wash the speech pathologist provided.
And yes, you guessed it, she then waltzed in. Dr L was very happy with the progress of my recovery as well. She has taken me off all IV pain killers so just liquid panadol, with endone on request. Much better for someone who clearly does not tolerate opiates too well. The crazy dreams were just too much. But don’t worry, I’ll get the endone in case I need it. I am off antibiotics too and will move to a liquid bowel prescription (too much sharing I know, but it’s another special effect of the optiate range of drugs – the prescription not the sharing).
I will see the physiotherapist, the speech pathologist and the dietitian over the next two to three days.
Home by the end of the week, maybe Thursday. And this is only day seven recovery. I had just come out of my operation this time last Monday and Darren had seen me. Just seven days.
This rate of recovery is unfathomable in a person even ten years older. Looked at another way, I am so terribly lucky.
More later. Too much overachieving today!