When Blaine drove up to Ft. Gordon on Tuesday for his pre-op appointment, the doctors were pretty clear about the surgery he was having done the next day and what their expectations were. They were also pretty realistic about what *could* go wrong … after all, this is Blaine we’re talking about.
The plan was simple enough. His upper gums, removed in the initial surgery to get the tumor, were rebuilt two years ago with bone from his lower leg … later, they put implants in the bone. The surgery yesterday was to have titanium posts anchored into the implants, so that eventually they can attach replacement (fake) teeth to the posts. At least that’s the way it’s been explained to me, although goodness only knows I could be completely wrong.
A few of their concerns yesterday: according to the pre-surgery x-ray, it looks like that bone has been damaged by the radiation he received (a normal problem) but they were worried the implant couldn’t support the posts, and reserved the right to plump up the area with more fake bone if they needed during surgery. They worried the surrounding tissue had been damaged by the radiation (again, normal) and might not heal normally. Of course, the IV issue as always, but, putting him out with gas, then bringing in an ultrasound machine to find his veins is so commonplace with Blaine that the anesthesiologist didn’t even bother to consult with him this time. Been there, done that. And of course, pain management after the surgery, which is always an issue for someone who has been on heavy-duty narcotics for such an extended time. They told Blaine best case scenario, if his pain was managed, he could come home Friday … more likely Saturday, but maybe not until Sunday.
The doctor called me after the surgery yesterday morning (wondering, I’m sure, what kind of neglectful wife can’t be bothered to accompany her husband for his surgery) to tell me pretty much everything that could go right …………did. They were able to get the IV in without needing the ultrasound machine. The bone was not as damaged as they feared and was able to support the post. The tissue, they were correct, was too damaged for a normal suture closure, but they’re hopeful some extra healing time will be all that is needed. Bonus … they were even able to get a quasi-permanent tube in his ear, negating the need for an additional procedure.
Then, surprise of all surprises, Blaine wasn’t in that much pain. Really, nowhere near what anyone expected.
So they let him come home.
A day EARLIER than expected!
And when he got home, he could HEAR! And wasn’t in that much pain! And was one step closer to having TEETH!
And was home EARLY, in case I haven’t made that clear!!!
We are so accustomed to living the Murphy’s Law of Medicine, that we didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves.
His blood pressure hadn’t bottomed out during surgery. His trach tube hadn’t gotten blocked in recovery. He hadn’t had any uncontrollable bleeding, or excessive pain. There weren’t any medical or surgical surprises or complications. As best we can tell, he didn’t contract staph in the hospital. He didn’t hit a deer on the drive home, his engine didn’t blow up, he wasn’t arrested for drunk driving, or abducted by aliens.
By golly, he was home a day early and in pretty good shape, for an old guy with cancer.
For one brief, shining moment, we were so excited, we considered ripping off our clothes and painting our bodies purple and doing a happy dance on the roof of the local Baskin Robbins.
Luckily, good sense (and lack of purple paint) prevailed.
But we were definitely enjoying the euphoric high of a successful, non-complicated surgery.
Ahhhhh. Life is good.
Then the phone rang.
MRI results = inconclusive.