Yesterday I had my first follow-up with the surgeon. I’m pleased to report that my staples came out, although I still have one surgical drain – the one that’s near my pancreas. Apparently that takes a long time to heal. (For those keeping score at home, I’m down to one drain from four, and, what with the catheter, central line and NG tube all out, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.)
I also have two open wounds, which is not as bad as it might sound to the uninitiated. That is not to say my insides are at risk for becoming my outsides. All it means is that the skin is taking a bit longer to close up. Not to worry. I’m getting excellent wound care from the local nurses. I’d post pictures, but somehow I have a feeling it’s best not to.
Of course I must report on yesterday’s meeting with Avi Nisan, the surgeon. We waited about an hour to be seen. Again, no problem there. I’d wait longer if necessary. But, when we did get in to see him, he told us that he’d have to leave for a few minutes because he was called to the hospital’s general director’s office.
“Is everything OK, Avi?”
“Yes. I may come back a very happy man.”
“Maybe I’ll get fired.”
Then, as I lay on the exam table while he removed my staples, he went on to express some doubts about the hospital’s administration. Now, none of this takes away from his greatness as a surgeon, but I’d admit, it is a slightly strange bedside manner.
He then left for his meeting and after about 20 minutes came back. Looking happy. But blessedly not fired. Like everywhere, I assume, the hospital is highly political and my assumption is that Avi – as the new chief of surgery – has been ruffling some feathers that had become quite comfortable and complacent.
We then sat at the desk where he went through the pathology results for all the dozen tumor sites he dealt with in the operation. He tells me the “scariest” was the one removed from right near my venae cavae, the main vein that drains into the heart from the abdominal area.
We also discussed prognosis and I learned something very cool. The literature regarding patients who undergo a second HIPEC surgery is only being written now, and it’s very difficult to pinpoint percentages or anything like that. While it is somewhat disconcerting not knowing what the future holds, it is cool to know that I am on the cutting edge of what’s going on.
Then, he closed the meeting with a joke. He said that he took out so much of my insides that, at the end of the surgery, he turned to his resident and said, “The big part goes to pathology and the smaller part to the ICU.”
Oh, surgical humor. Does it know no bounds?