On Monday, I had a long discussion with the vascular surgeon, who told me that he had never seen a polyp the size of the polyp on Bob's gallbladder. The thing, he said, was nearly 2 inches long. Shaped like a walnut. There was a big chance that such an enormous polyp would be cancerous, and even if it wasn't now cancerous, it certainly had the potential become malignant and needed to be taken out. He did tell me that gallbladder cancer was "extremely rare", however, when it occurred it was "usually fatal". We also discussed the warfarin situation, and he told me he would switch Bob over to a heparin drip which would keep Bob's blood thin until the surgery and be restarted after surgery. This way, there would only be a 4 hour window that Bob would be unprotected. We talked too about the difference between doing the surgery with a scope or opening Bob up. The scope would be easier, but might not be impossible because of old scar tissue on Bob's stomach. Opening him up would take longer and have more risk factors. Before commencing with the surgery, he would be running some tests.
Monday night, I had left the hospital at 9:30 p.m. when they began preparing to take Bob down for a CAT scan. I left right after a discussion with a curly blonde haired doctor with a heavy foreign accent and an unpronounceable name. The vascular surgeon had ordered the CAT plus a bunch of blood work plus another test called something or other, which sounded like "hyper-supersonic-scan" and this scan, the nurse had explained to me, was a sort of hi-tech super-ultrasound and would look at all of Bob's internal organs. The doctor, the nurse said, were searching for anything that might complicate the surgery. They were looking to see if any bile ducts or arteries near the gallbladder were occluded. They were looking for other "masses" on any nearby organs. They were also reading for "chemical levels" coming from each of Bob's organs. In order to do this test, they had to discontinue all Bob's narcotic pain medications for eight hours.
And this is why I was talking to the unpronounceable named doctor with a heavy foreign accent and curly blonde hair. Because I did not want them to take Bob off his pain medication. Especially cold turkey. Especially for eight hours. I mean, Bob has some heavy duty pain meds, i.e.: Fentynal and oxycodone. And knocking those off, just like that, were going to cause some serious drug withdrawal.
Dr. Curly Blonde Hair, however, assured me that they could give Bob morphine, on a drip, and that would keep his pain in check plus stop any withdrawal from happening. That's when I left the hospital, went home and laid in bed--my mind churning about things like masses on nearby organs (cancer!) and occluded arteries (stroke!). These thoughts interrupted with feverent prayers for Bob's healing. Funny how I revert back to my Catholic upbringing in times of crisis.
So back to yesterday, which was Tuesday, I arrived around 6:00 a.m. to find Bob, drenched in sweat, screaming in pain and trying like heck to pee. When Bob saw me enter the room, he glared at me and pointed an accusing finger as if I were the cause of all this distress. I immediately asked the nurse, "where's the morphine drip?" And was told that another doctor nixed the morphine and Bob had been stripped of his Fentynal patches and oxycodone at 2:00 a.m. He was scheduled for the hyper-sonic-thingy test at 7:30 a.m. and she assured me, she had Fentynal patches on standby and would put them on immediately when he arrived back in the room.
It was a long wait for 7:30 a.m. With Bob screaming and trying to pee. When Bob returned, he was in even worse shape. His whole hospital gown was soaked with sweat, as was his hair. He was red-faced and trembling and shaking. His legs kicking out, arms flopping. And still trying like heck to pee. I grabbed the nurse but the Fentynal patches were nowhere to be found. She checked the computer and found the order was not due to be filled until noon. I asked if they could cath Bob so he could pee, but she needed a "doctor's order" for that. So that sent me on a mad and fruitless dash in search of a doctor. Who finally arrived around 10:30 and finally ordered patches and morphine, which arrived around 11:00 a.m. And, at my request, the doctor put in an order for a foley catheter, which was inserted into Bob around noon. And he immediately peed 1400 mls of urine. No kidding.
With pain meds and peeing, Bob fell asleep. Nothing much happened, except Bob got moved to a different room on the surgery wing. Then, I got, first, word that the CAT scan showed Bob's lower lung lobes were collasped and an antibiotic was being ordered. Later, word came down that the hyper-sonic-thingy test results were normal. Then, word that the vascular surgeon was ordering another ultrasound.
At around 6:30 p.m., the vascular doctor arrived with test results in hand. He showed me the results of the new ultrasound that he had run on Bob's gallbladder. The results read, in part, :
one unremarkable 3 mm polyp... no sign of abnormality... no inflammation...
plus several tiny barely visible polyps, the type normally seen in a patient of this age....
And I said, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GIANT POLYP?
And he said, Well. Either the first ultrasound was read by a complete idiot who maybe mistook a shadow for a gigantic polyp. Or the thing magically disappeared within 5 days.
Bottom line: No need for surgery. No more cancer scare. Bob does has lung pleurisy. This, I'm told, will easily clear up with an antibiotic.
Big sigh of relief here. Jeepers. What they put us through.
And a big thank you to all of you for your comments, support, prayers, white healing light, and good intentions and karma. That doctor did say, the giant polyp may have magically disappeared.... hmmm...
Of course, it could just have been an idiot misreading an ultrasound.
I am off to the hospital. Not sure when they will discharge Bob. Right now, he is getting an IV antibiotic.