Easy Fix

Jeff was back in his hospital room after his surgery.  It was a biggie.  They had removed that “third spot”.  It turned out to be a lymph node that had grown into the portal vein.  There were already collateral veins around the mass since it had been slowly stopping the flow of blood for at least several months.  The surgeon had to graft a section of the portal vein and there had been a “leak” during surgery.  Jeff had required 2 units of blood intra-operatively.  That caused a knot in the pit of my stomach.  I knew from reading studies that if blood was required intra-operatively the chance for further metastasis was significantly higher.  But, there were no options.  Try to overlook that blip and deal with what we had.  His pain was high.  His enzymes were still sky-high. 

Over the course of the next several days his enzymes and pain improved to the point of hearing the most anticipated words, “You can go home tomorrow.”  Yeah!!  Next morning came and I looked at his labs- because – well, because I was obnoxious and always required them to show me his labs.  His enzymes had jumped dramatically over night.  The P.A. came in signing the papers for him to leave and, due to our language barrier- my speaking only English and all- doing charades to explain how we needed to take care of everything.  “But, his enzymes….”  “Oh, don’t worry about those.  They will go up and down.”  “Yes, but they were going DOWN steadily and now they’ve gone UP.  That is not up and down.  That is slowly down, and then suddenly UP.”  “No worries.”

We went home.  There was no follow-up scheduled for a couple of weeks.  Over the course of the week Jeff seemed to get more lethargic.  “I think you need to go in.”  “It was a big surgery.  I just didn’t have the reserves before I went into this one.  I’m just healing.”  “Hmmm… I don’t think so.  I think you’re getting worse.”  Why I didn’t notice he was looking like a carrot, I’m not sure.  But, I knew he didn’t seem to feel well.  Texted the doc and requested that we get his labs drawn. 

It was Saturday morning.  I’d gone to church.  The call came- take him to the hospital now.  Doc had gotten the results.  They were bad.  Bad enough that we needed to go back to Omaha.  Left the kids with in-laws and headed on my journey.

After a couple of days of fasting, testing, and prayer, they decided the “main drain” for bile from the liver had scarred shut.  The surgeon came in to explain it.  “Easy fix,” he said.  “We just put a stent across that spot and all is well.”

“Easy fix.”  I’d heard that before.  Never believe it.

(I’m writing these out of order since “backwards” is how they are coming to mind.  The story that should follow this is the one already posted entitled “Nooo!!!”.  The one I plan to write next is actually the one that happened before this.  It will be called “The Third Spot”.  Just keeping you all on your toes.)

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