THE RETIREMENT THAT ALMOST WASN’T!
FREEDOM 69 TIMELINE:
January 1, 2017 – Husband Officially Retired
January 1- February 1- Husband enjoying Retirement Cruises
March 4th- FREEDOM 69 RETIREMENT PARTY
March 7th- Tour of Memorial Gardens and Meeting with Funeral Planning Consultant (Read March 11th Post: A Retirement Party on the Weekend and a Funeral Consult 2 Days Later)
March 21st-Ambulance called at midnight
March 22nd- Emergency Surgery -Bowel Reconstruction (8.5 hrs. with 2 surgeons working on husband)
April 5th- Husband discharged with Daily Home Care Nurse Visits
Prairie Girl and husband were completely blind-sided by this incredible medical journey that husband landed himself into. They imagined that they’d merrily continue into this new retirement phase with even more adventure and certainly enjoy good health throughout. (After all, these medical emergencies and diagnoses happen to others, not them, right?)
Surprise! They were still in denial after husband had been on a morphine drip for the night in EMERGENCY, waiting for a CT abdominal scan to be done first thing in the morning. It was a pesky Diverticulitis attack, wasn’t it? When the Surgeon immediately came to see them after checking the scan, he suggested that he would go in and fix an obstructed bowel. By this time, husband was feeling no pain (morphine will do that), and they both looked at one another and said, “Does the surgery need to be done today?”
Wrong question! The Surgeon admonished the naive couple, stating the surgery must be done immediately and husband’s surgery would take precedence, as he would have to bump the others on his scheduled roster. So ten minutes later husband was wheeled up to the surgery floor for pre-op. Prairie Girl was sent home to wait for a call from the Surgeon- believing it would take a couple of hours.
Well after waiting for a call from the Surgeon that NEVER came, Prairie Girl started calling the Recovery Room and the 3rd floor to find out if he was there. NOPE! STILL IN SURGERY…. After 3.5 hours, Prairie Girl headed back to the hospital to wait on the Surgical Ward for news of husband. Finally, 6.5 hours into the operation, the Dr. sent a nurse out of the operating room to call her. Not quite a simple bowel obstruction, after all! The Surgeon was shocked at what he had found. After 3 hours of working on husband, he had to enlist another Surgeon to help him with all the slicing and dicing and reconnecting of husband’s bowels. The nurse informed Prairie Girl that they’d be working on him for at least a couple more hours. Husband went into the operation at 1:30 pm and was wheeled into Recovery at 9:15 pm.
Imagine husband’s shock when he awoke and found out that he had undergone such a major surgery! While Prairie Girl and husband’s sister had been waiting for the Surgeon to come out that evening, another Dr. came by and inquired why they were sitting there? Husband’s sister explained that we were waiting for word of how Prairie Girl’s husband’s surgery had gone. The Dr. exclaimed, “Oh you’re talkng about the “BIG BOWEL OPERATION!” When he realized how upset this made them, the Dr. explained that the operation was so much more than expected, but no emergency CODE BLUES had been called, so there was every expectation it would be successful. (Apparently it was the talk of the surgical ward that day!)
The relief one feels after experiencing such a close call was overwhelming for both of them. Once they understood how dangerous a situation it had been, they admitted to one another what fears they had had. Husband shared that as they wheeled him into the operating room, he said to himself, “I sure hope this isn’t the shortest retirement in history!” Prairie Girl admitted that initially her thoughts were, “Man I hope this isn’t going to ruin our sailing season for a second year in a row…” Once, the fear set in as the hours passed, one can only imagine what thoughts were going through her head by then…
Thankfully, the two of them weren’t on their Central American cruise or sailing up in Desolation Sound…. (Very scary thoughts!)
THANKFULNESS and GRATITUDE are their feelings 3 weeks post-surgery. They feel as though they won the LOTTO! How fortunate for them that this happened while at home, and they had excellent surgeons who diagnosed husband’s condition quickly and acted immediately. The Doctors worked long and hard to put him back together… and Prairie Girl and husband are GRATEFUL! The best news of all was that husband’s tissue sample came back from Pathology with no indication of cancer or chrone’s disease. SO LUCKY!
As this medically naive couple work through the “convalescence phase”, there are stories to share. Expect the next installment to focus around “WAITING for the FART!”
Are Prairie Girl and husband unique – or are most people like them….merrily living life and never thinking something could happen to them? What are your thoughts? Thanks for visiting TENDER TUESDAYS- it might not be the most entertaining post you’ve read, but it was certainly therapeutic for Prairie Girl to write.