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Monday, June 27, 2011

Rest and Recovery

I am writing this Sunday, June 26, 2011.  Carl was discharged from the hospital just over one week ago on Saturday, June 18, 2011, after a Wednesday June 15, 2011 neck surgery that removed the remaining visible tumor from his neck.  [Actually, before the surgery, no tumor was visible.  (It was on the inside, ha ha)  But once the neck surgeon cut him open...  The surgeon looked around and removed all the tumor in the neck that was visible to the surgeon, and visible to the imaging (CT/MRI/X-ray?) equipment  in the operating room.]  

Froedtert Hospital interventional radiology operating room
Froedtert's Operating Room used for Angiograms
The photo above and below shows the operating room used for Carl's two Angiogram procedures on Monday June 13, 2011 and Tuesday June 14, 2011Above, the large white structure with the large curved arm is an imaging machine that rotates and slides forward and back to takes images before, during and after the procedure.  A second curved arm in the center of the above photo takes images from the top and bottom of the surgery table.  Carl's bald head is visible on the far right.  Carl is still in the transport bed, and will be transferred to the operating table shortly.

The photo below shows the same operating room from a different angle.  This is the view of the operating room from the monitoring station, a room next to the operating room that has glass windows viewing the operating room.  I believe this is where the machine technicians operate the imaging machine from.  Carl is still on the transport bed.  The curved arms of the imaging machine are visible at the far left.
Froedtert Hospital angiogram operating room
Froedtert's Operating Room used for Angiograms

Carl has spent the last week resting and recovering at home.  He did get lots of rest, hours of it a day, but there were still four children running to and fro - so not all of the hours in the day were 'restful'.  I estimating that Carl slept more then 12 hours a day, and Carl didn't move around too much.  He has started being a bit more active this weekend, and was exercising a little bit on a reclining exercise bike I bought at a rummage sale.  He went in to his work only for a short visit to say hi on one day.  Of course he didn't stay at home all of the time, though.  Probably once a day we/he left the house for some reason or other.

Carl came home from the hospital this time with a walker.  So now Carl has had a cane; crutches; a foot orthotic; and now a walker.  Today was one of the first days since the surgery that he has been able to move a bit without using either the walker or the crutches.  We went to church for the first time in weeks (with the walker). 
Carl on June 18, 2011
The photo above is from the day Carl was released from the hospital, Saturday, June 18, 2011.  Miranda came with me to pick Carl up from Froedtert hospital, and since it was a Saturday, we stopped at the Wauwatosa Farmer's Market.  Should we have?  Probably not, but Carl wanted to.  We did buy a couple of plants from local farmers for Carl's "earth box" garden.  One of the things accomplished this week was that Carl and the children planted tomatoes and cilantro and basil in two "earth box" gardens.  I can tell that Carl has lost weight in this photo. 

One of the highlights of this weekend has been a family film-festival viewing of the Lord of the Ring trilogy - tomorrow night we hope to watch third movie in the series, "The Return of the King".  We have decided that Nathan would make a good Frodo, the ring-bearer.

Thank you once again for your prayers.  We continue to welcome them. 

Click on any photo to see it larger. 7955 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Carl is back home!

I am HAPPY to report that Carl was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, June 18, 2011, after 3 long days of procedures and a neck surgery on Wednesday.

Carl is glad to be out of the hospital.  I am looking forward to a good night's sleep, and sleeping late tomorrow morning.  

I am hopeful that Carl's recovery time at home will be quality family time.  This week has been challenging since the children were out of school for the entire week, and I was gone on most mornings before the two middle boys even got out of bed.  Things at home ran a little crazy.  Here is an example.  The lawn needed mowing all week, and yet with three teenage boys in the family, none of whom had pressing or scheduled commitments ALL week, the lawn didn't get started until after Carl got home today.  (Don't worry, Carl didn't mow it...)  Finally, with a parent (or two) actually around to say "no going to the pool before you mow the lawn",  Nathan tackled the overgrown front yard.  Perhaps Monday Carl and I can establish a good start of the summer routine for the children.

Thank you once again for your prayers.  Carl's surgery seems to have gone better then originally thought possible.  And thank you to those who fed and/or watched and/or drove and/or entertained some and/or all of my children at various points through out the week.  We are blessed to have all the prayers and help, we are blessed to have friends like you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

June 15 Surgery update.

Carl's neck surgery at Froedtert on Wednesday June 15, 2011 went well according to the surgeon.  Now Carl has to recover, which is painful, but the hard part is (hopefully) over.  I don't want to jinx anything, but I want to give out an update. 

Monday June 13, 2011 Carl was in SICU (S=Surgical Intensive Care Unit) after a angiogram with embolization procedure, which was done under full anesthetic.  Carl did not eat at all on Monday.  He had to lay on his back from 9:00 AM until midnight.  

Tuesday June 14, 2011 Carl was in NICU (N=Nuerological Intensive Care Unit) after an angiogram procedure was done to balloon and block off his left vertebral artery.  This procedure had to be done with Carl fully awake, not even lightly sedated.  Carl didn't eat at all until past 9:30 PM, when I tempted him with whatever I could find from Froedtert's all night cafe, because he couldn't eat or drink anything after midnight.  He ate a sandwich, applesause, milk, a candy bar, 3/4 of a pear, and a blueberry muffin. 

Wednesday June 15, 2011 Carl was in NICU after the neck his third neck surgery in 2011 - this surgery debulked the tumor in his neck. (Carl got operating room # 13-sigh...).  This surgery was done under full anesthetic.  He didn't eat at all on Wednesday, and had to lay on his back the entire day, except for when he was being operated on, when they rolled him to his stomach and the surgeon worked from the back of his neck.  Really, though, I haven't figured out if Carl even remembers anything after they took him to surgery at 8:30 AM. Carl got heavy duty pain medication - including Morphine.  It seems almost wrong to type 'Morphine' - like it is a bad drug, and he shouldn't have gotten any, but I am glad that he was able to sleep with apparent comfort.

Thursday June 15, 2011 Carl graduated out of NICU to the Spine care 'floor', walked a tiny bit, had soup and a pastrami sandwich (from Benji's - a deli we both love), and ate several times, watched a movie. His pain medications are back to oxicodone and oxicontin. 

I will be happier once he is home.  Then I will be freaked out that he might get a fever, fall, etc.  That's just kind of the way it is.  Stress either way, but at least at home things are calmer.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Neck Surgery No. 3

Today, (Wednesday, June 15, 2011), Carl is having a neck surgery to debulk / (remove?) the tumor there. (The neck tumor had grown back over the past 4 months without chemotherapy.)  Long procedures done on Monday and Tuesday have allowed us to get to this surgery today. Again, I would appreciate your prayers for a great outcome. Carl is a trooper.
Carl was wheeled in to surgery at 8:30 AM. at Froedtert Hospital, and there now as I am typing this.

I hope to update my blog with details later this week. 
I really believe the prayers over the last several days have been helpful.  Carl was so calm yesterday; and today, so far. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prayer Request

Carl is having medical procedures done over the next several days at Froedtert Hospital - I would appreciate your prayers for a great outcome.