Finally was moved to a new room last night. Luckily it’s their largest private, lead-lined room. Believe me that I’m here out of necessity. This room, starting tomorrow, will be my little prison (solitary confinement) for a couple of days. That is what all this pain prep has been about.
Today I was taken to the radiation department and the fellow doctor took out the inner strips from the metal tubes. They then replaced them with samples (with a physicist on site), and then take x-rays with them in my mouth so they know where and what power to make the strips. As I understand it, the strips will be ordered today from a vendor in the mid-west, the strips are overnighted here tomorrow, then they load them tomorrow into the catheters (done in my room) and I sit with them for about 36 hours. After that, everything comes out, slowly I hope.
A shot the day after the operation showing metal tubes coming out of the neck. The white bandage on the right side is the neck dissection. Below, is the trachea hole. Not well seen is the wonderful nose feeding tube.
The photo, for some reason, gives no depth for the amount of swelling that is there. The most difficult thing is the trachea hole. When it’s installed, it naturally causes lots of mucus. And every hour or two, the mucus builds up and needs to be cleaned out of the hole. You do that by coughing or feeling like you are chocking and holding a suction tube up to the hole opening. You’ve got to keep doing this several times until you can breath somewhat ok again. And the small plastic port insert needs to be changed at least twice a day which means pulling (not so bad) or pushing a new tube into place (more difficult pushing this into your throat). All of this for someone receiving radiation needs to be done by the person who has the trachea hole. Which is somewhat daunting. Feeling like you can’t breath and the hospital workers are so immune to seeing people chocking on their own mucus that they hardly pay attention.
The entire mucus process is reason enough to give this brachytherapy therapy a second thought (for those wondering if it’s worth it). Maybe it is, but it sure is another unexpected pain in the neck.
This is a picture on our last day in Colombia, the day we were flying back. I thought at that time I was on the long road to recovery. (I couldn’t be anywhere without water). Now, a short month later, back in battle action and not fun at all. In hindsight, 80% was a good figure to be betting on. Perhaps I’ll feel different in another month.