Tag Archives: hospital

Returning to the Scene of the “Crime”

I returned to Miami Valley Hospital this morning to get my port installed.

Waiting for my port of call.

Waiting for my port of call. Yes, I wore the hat for the procedure.

This was done as an out-patient procedure under “twilight” sleep — so it wasn’t so bad.

From the brochure they gave me (heavy on market-speak):

“Your Bard PowerPort device is a small device (about the size of a quarter) used to carry medicine into the bloodstream. It has one or two small basins that are sealed with a soft silicone top, called a septum. The port is placed under the skin on your chest or arm. The port connects to a small, soft tube called a catheter. The catheter is placed inside one of the large central veins that take blood to your heart. When a special needle is put into the septum, it creates “access” to your bloodstream. Medicine and fluids can be given through the needle and blood samples can be withdrawn.”

From the brochure.

From the brochure.

“Because the port places medicines into a large central vein, the medicines mix better in the blood. The medicines are also diluted so they are less harmful to your veins.”

(Sometimes I have to remind my self that chemo is my alley, not my enemy.)

“The port has a special triangle shape and three bumps on top of the septum. The bumps are called palpation bumps. Your doctor or nurse can feel these bumps and the triangle port shape to know that you have a Bard PowerPort device”

Feeling the port: Why does this photo make me squirm a little?

Feeling the port: Why does this photo make me squirm a little?

I’m guessing that finding those bumps also helps them to aim the needle.

“Your doctor or nurse will use the port when they need to give medicine or fluids or withdraw blood samples. To do this, they will access the port by placing a special needle, called a Huber needle, into the port. You may feel a mile pricking when they put the needle into the port. This sensation often gets milder over time.”

Yeah. This one is also squirm-worthy.

Yeah. This one is also squirm-worthy.

Ugh! That’s one big-ass needle!

“After your port is placed, your doctor will place a small bandage over the wound. For the first few days, you should avoid heavy exertion and follow any special guidance from your doctor or nurse to care for the small wound. Once the wound has healed, it will not take any special care and you can resume normal activities.”

So now I look a little bit like a vampire snacked on me. This photo looks much worse then the reality — the steri-strip looks like jagged edges when it’s really simply getting wrinkly as the swelling goes down.

Not as scary as it looks.

Not as scary as it looks.

I want to give a shout-out to the folks at Miami Valley, and to my surgeon and her team. They’re all top-notch professionals. So nice. So willing to spend time and answer my questions. They really made me feel safe as I went through this procedure.

And when they wheeled me into the operating room, they turned up the music so we could all dance to Bruno Mars. Of course, I had to dance in a supine position from the gurney.

Going home to lunch.

Waiting for Cousin Joe to bring the car around. Yes, I wore the hat.

Waiting for Cousin Joe to bring the car around. Yes, I wore the hat.

NOTE: Portions of this post originally appeared elsewhere. Also, I have backdated this post to preserve chronological order.

The Joy of Farting

I do some of my best walking at 3 AM.

I do some of my best walking at 3 AM.

At 3:40 this morning, I farted. You probably don’t understand the significance–and that’s okay. You may be grossed out by the news–but I refuse to be held back by your puritanical viewpoint. I farted. And nurse Cathy was there to witness and document the glory which was the sweet little giggle that was all sound and no aroma. It was a beautiful thing which I hope to repeat very soon.

And now I find that I’m a bit tired and a little groggy. But I had to share this news because it’s so momentously important: I farted and will live on to take a dump like the regular people do.

Someone please cue the doves and the angelic host. I’m going back to bed

Party Update!

PARTY UPDATE: I heard from The Surgeon this morning — the cardiologist and his specialist (the electrophisiologist) have cleared me for surgery, so the party stats on February 13th!

I’m considering holding a Valentine’s Dance in my hotel (oops!) hospital room on the evening of the 14th, and am also considering turning my bed into a float to travel the hallways of the hospital for Mardi Gras on Feb 17 — if I can scrounge up some beads to throw, and if I can get a team of hunky orderlies to push me around. I think I can order a King Cake from Dorothy Lane Market….
Ten days and counting!

Stress Tested

Leaving the hospitalAfter 36 hours in the hospital, I’m home. My Whipple Procedure surgery has been rescheduled for February 13–unless someone cancels a booking of the laparoscopy operating room, in which case the surgery could be sooner.

Had a stress test and a couple of heart ultrasounds this morning. I don’t have a lot of information on my heart, partly because I’m still trying to understand it myself. The cardiologist says my EKG under stress is not normal for the average person, but that it’s normal for me, so he doesn’t see it as an issue for my surgery. However, he has put me on a beta blocker and I will probably need to start seeing a cardiologist on a regular basis to monitor the condition. In 10 or 20 years I may need a pace-maker — or I might not. In the next few days he’s going to discuss my EKG with an Electro Physiologist, just to make sure he didn’t miss anything, but he doesn’t anticipate any problems with my surgery.

So I’m definitely tagging yesterday and today as a successful dress rehearsal for the main event which is now scheduled for Friday the 13th of February–which my excellent Cousin Joe assures me is a very auspicious day and I believe him because he’s very smart about stuff like that.

Party in my hospital room on February 14!

Thank you so much for all your support the past few days. I hope you’ll continue to keep me in your prayers over the next few weeks while I work with the doctors to successfully eradicate this stupid stinking cancer from my body. Crappy stuff! It’s so effing inconvenient and annoying!!!

Surgery #Fail

From my private Facebook group, a post made by my Cousin Jen:

“Ok family and friends… We have hit a snag. From what I understand they found an issue with Bev’s heart this morning and she will not be having surgery today. I don’t know any details, but I know that she is just fine and are having a cardiologist consult. I will post more when I know more. Again, she is fine (-: keep sending love”

In the bathroomHere’s what happened this morning: the anesthesiologist and his team were setting me up for the surgery. Once I was under–before anything else got started–there was a change in my EKG. This brought the work of the day to an end. So now I’m sitting in the cardio ward where I will spend the night and have further testing tomorrow. I’m hooked up to a heart monitor and a saline drip, so it takes another person to untether me if I need to pee. I’m so grateful to my dearest Cousin Joe who had the brilliant fore thought to bring me my cellphone when he came to visit this afternoon.

Joe and Marilyn came by at lunch time.

Joe and Marilyn came by at lunch time.

The room I’m in is nicer than some hotels I’ve stayed in.

Cardiac Hospital RoomGuess this morning was the dress rehearsal for the surgery! And a bad dress rehearsal means a fabulous opening night!

Olive and Oscar -- from my friend Pam.

Olive and Oscar — from my friend Pam.


I just finished speaking with Dr. T. He says that Bailey is “acting brighter” and “vocalizing more” and that she’s reacting well to treatment. This is good news! She hasn’t eaten anything yet–but I’m not surprised. She has always been reluctant to take biscuits at the vet. Dr. T will turn her care over to her usual dogtor, Dr. B, tomorrow and hopefully Bailey will come home. But she needs to start eating again. I’ll check in again with them this evening.

I counted it up: This will be only the 7th night that Bailey and I will have spent apart in nearly 14 years. I’m not sure if that’s a sad commentary on my personal life or acclaim to the human-animal bond.