Me, definitely, for the Big Op next Thursday, which I am classifying in the same category as the original surgery on my mouth and neck. I was waffling a bit between slightly ahead of that one versus slightly below it, but I do have to take into consideration the fact that I will have a functional esophagus at the end of this, versus going from surgery to chemo and radiation as I did back in 2005, and not being able to eat normally. I think that evens them out, really.
Tuesday I did the pre-admission stuff and collected my bag of papers, chlorhexadine wipe cloths, and this:
Apparently, we have evolved to trying to get people nutritionally ready for surgeries these days. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, because it makes sense, doesn’t it? We all know the routine: no eating or drinking regular meals after midnight, only enough liquid in the morning to take your meds, etc. Then, after surgery, you are in pain AND hungry. But now, there’s a pre-op drink to take. Who knew carb loading before surgery was a thing? If it helps me escape the hospital earlier, though, I’m down for it.
On Thursday I met with my gut guy and told him I think the balloon for my PEG has deflated, as it’s acting the same way it did before this one, with fluids escaping when I remove the feed tube that connects to the button, and it’s quite loose. The issue, of course, is that I don’t think the doctors who have blocked out seven hours of OR time for next week would be terribly thrilled with a procedure to replace it, even if we managed to squeeze it in next week before the Big Op.
Solution: replace it, sans sedation. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do next Tuesday. He’ll pull this one out, insert a new, inflate the balloon, and send me on my way. Excellent! I hope not to continue to need the tube as we move forward, and if I can keep my nutrition up, there’s no need to keep the tube.
I also met with the speech therapist and the dietitian after that, hustling from the Southside to San Marco – only to get stuck by two trains two blocks from the cancer center. Thursday was not a good day to be on the road, since Friday was a holiday heading into easter weekend.
But I did make it, and the SLP (that’s speech therapy) showed me the trach tube and the button that snaps into it. She told me that life as a laryngectomee means a lot of supplies. I told her I’m used to that, with the feeding tube situation. I’ll be awash in trach/stoma supplies. Between this and the feeding tube supplies, I guess I’ll be amply prepared for the zombie apocalypse in that arena.
The dietitian recommended another thing to drink in the five days leading to the surgery. It is again by Ensure, and is called an “immunonutrition shake”.
It says 18g protein there on the front, but on the nutrition label, it says it has a whopping 45g carbs. Three of these for five days before surgery, which mean I’ll start working through these today. A carton has 330 calories, too, so I’ll probably be cutting back on my meal replacement shakes with these in the mix of things.
I still have things to do to prepare my world outside the hospital so I can deal with life inside the hospital for however long I’m kept captive. I know it’s unrealistic to think all the things I’d like to get done will be done. I’m trying not to stress over it, as I think building up stress is not ideal, and probably will detract from being as strong/fit as possible going into surgery.
That’s it for now. Last night (technically, the wee hours of this morning) I fell asleep at my desk. This morning (currently: 2:20 AM), I’d rather get that nap in my bed, so I am out. Until next time, peeps: be well.