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Post Surgery Day 2

 Day 2 was GREAT! I came in and Paul was pretty bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He was VERY happy I brought his laptop so he could do a little Facebooking and surfing. They had already moved him to a chair by the time I got there.

Dr. Halff came in with his trail of ducklings (residents!) and announced that Paul has the best lungs the ICU had ever seen! He checked him out and said his recovery is remarkable and to keep up the good work!

So we sat around and dozed and surfed and listened to some tunes today. Not much more than that though. Paul is still pretty tired and couldn’t concentrate very well. Paul insisted we did do a little work though with me returning some phone calls and taking dictation for some e-mails for Little Dog Entertainment…..can you believe?? It may have only been for 30 minutes but he WORKED the day after this surgery! lol! That’s my man!

He finally got moved into a private room out of ICU around 5pm. We shared our Skyline Chili recipe with our favorite ICU Nurse Juliana and we loaded Paul up for a chair ride to the other side of the 12th floor! See Ya! It’s much quieter so I am certain he will get a restful sleep tonight. I was there when they got him into bed and he is doing unbelievably well. The hardest thing about moving is all those tubes! But we got him in without incident and it felt great for him to stretch out again after a big day sitting up! So I tucked him all in, gave him lots of smooches and headed back to my temp homestead for some leftover Chinese food.

I know there have been some questions about all his tubes and wires and why can’t he have ice chips and things like that. Here is what he has:

tube down into his nose into his stomach– a surgery like this is pretty traumatic on the system and it essentially shuts down for a few days. unfortunately the body continues to produce acid so they use the tube to drain it out. This prevents ulcers, irritation of incision sites, etc.  Once there is evidence his system is up and running again (he passes gas) they will remove the tube and he may start with ice chips. Until then NO FLUIDS at all. He is burping and that is a sign things are starting to work again but we still need a good fart! Paul is pretty much a pro at farting so this shouldn’t take long! ha ha ha!

epidural-still has the epidural for pain control and will have that in until his system is up and running and he can take pain medication orally.

catheter-this will stay in as long as the epidural is in. We don’t need Paul peeing all over himself since he is pretty much numb from chest to knees.

Central Line-Paul has a central line in his neck with 3 ports on it. It’s temporarily stitched in and dressed with a bandage. The 3 ports hang out and they hook up his fluids, antibiotics or any other fun things they need to pour into him. Today he got a cocktail for protecting the lining of his stomach and small intestine!

Drain Lines- Paul has three drain tubes. One on either side of the incision and one towards the middle. This drains any blood and excess fluid from the incision area. They drain into bulbs (like a turkey baster! lol!). 

He also has one more small IV in his hand and is taking oxygen. That’s a lot of tubes! They are constantly monitoring these fluids and have reported everything looks exactly like it’s supposed to!

The plan for tomorrow is to get him up and walking some. Paul did mention when he got out of bed and into the chair this morning he could feel things moving around in there. Getting him up and moving around will help get his system started again.  Once we do that they will take out the tube in his nose and he can start on some clear liquids. And that’s all this poor man wants is some water! Those that know Paul well rarely see him without a big tumbler of water with lots of ice and lemon! That’s been the hardest part according to him! So hopefully he will get that reward after a good show tomorrow!

thank you again for all the prayers and well wishes!

Paul’s Surgery 4/12/11

First off, I can’t start this blog post without give a HUGE shout out to my best pal….GOD…..for getting me through this ordeal!! Yes, we all received the results we had hoped and prayed for…..but the most IMPORTANT thing I received was the STRENGTH to make it through this so far. I was able to kiss Paul goodbye and KNOW that he was safe in God’s hands….no matter what the outcome. So I got a big “Thank you Jesus!” on my lips because I was sure I would sob all morning and I was as cool as a cucumber.

So we got up at 4 and had a 5:30 check in. Paul was in the surgery ward by 7:30, processed and prepped and wheeled back by 8:30. My wonderful friend and pastor’s wife Margot drove up to sit with me and it made such a difference! I was really prepared to go it alone….I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone….and I just thought I could handle it….but I was so glad I listened to my husband, my mother, my mother-in-law and some friends…when they all said I should have someone there with me because it made a HUGE difference. So I am forever grateful for my blessings of wonderful, caring friends!

The wait really wasn’t too bad….we both started getting a little antsy at the end but that was after 4 hours. Fortunately, there was a phone in the waiting room so the O R nurses would call periodically to inform the families on how their loved one was doing.  We spent time with a woman whose husband was having some metal put in his shoulder and a pair of sisters who were there with their brother who was having a bottom lobe of his lung removed. All the phone calls we received were very positive. (Praise God!) I was notified when the surgery began, when they removed the head of the pancreas and when they were sewing him up. It was so fantastic and I wished ever hospital in the world did that. But this is part of the reason UTSA was named the Best Hospital in San Antonio.

I also need to mention how revered Dr. Glen Halff is. First off, I got a personal recommendation from a friend of mine who has known him for many years and says he is a wonderful person and very dedicated to his craft. All the staff and doctors we spoke with kept saying how lucky we were to get Dr. Halff. One resident said he did Whipples textbook and the other said “BETTER than textbook!”. Those are the kinds of thing you want to hear about the surgeon who is going to have his knife in the love of your life!

So after he was done they took him up a floor to ICU. Nurses came and escorted us to the ICU Waiting Room and we waited less than 30 minutes before I got to see him. Margot and I had the pleasure of talking with a large family  from the Valley whose father was receiving a liver transplant. They had gone to another hospital first (In Seattle) and said they were treated horribly. They said UTSA has been a MIRACLE for their family!

Then I finally got called back to see him, Paul was still pretty groggy but I was shocked to see how GOOD he looked! I mean, he had a nice color and didn’t look like he just had major surgery. His anesthesiologist tells me he was “better than perfect!”  Dr. Halff tells me everything went just like we had discussed. They did take a little of his stomach only because he had some scar tissue from a surgery he had as an infant. Other than that, removal of the gall bladder, the bile duct, some of the small intestine and the head of the pancreas (40%). fortunately, the 60% that is left is the part that produces insulin. There is some risk of developing diabetes with this operation but Lord willing, we will dodge that bullet.  He also said he saw NO EVIDENCE that it had spread to outlying tissue and that the definitive pathology report would be back in about a week.

So he is resting comfortably in ICU with an epidural for pain and several drain tubes and other gross things we won’t talk about here. They did already remove one of the IV’s and the chief resident remarked that Paul is already progressing much faster than the typical patient. I told him my husband is an overachiever! Ha ha ha!

I have been asked to bring the score to The Producers and his laptop tomorrow……can you believe? And of course I will…..I wouldn’t dream of denying him…….but I will make sure he doesn’t over do…….his nurse, a lover of theatre and Skyline Chili (!), is excited as well!

So I thank you all….your feverent prayers and good thoughts were felt and helped carry us through! But we aren’t done yet! So keep ’em coming and keep checking with us for updates here or on our Facebo0ok pages! Peace!

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