We like to mix David’s medical trips to the University Hospital in Ann Arbor with a bit of fun which usually means getting together with family or friends for a meal. However, on this trip, both scheduled lunches were cancelled at it was all work. We are grateful that all the medical reports were good showing that David is making progress in his recovery. However…
After the pathology report came back from David’s second scalp excision and skin graft a month ago, it showed a new growth right along the front edge of the removed area. So yesterday was the day for what we considered a “little trimming” of the area. Apparently, the surgeon’s definition of a “trim” and ours differed. Plus we had totally forgotten about the suspicious biopsy on his lower lip.
The procedure was done in Dr. Bradford’s office ably assisted by senior resident Dr. Kroeker. Now David has about 8 stitches holding his right lower lip together where they did a V-excision. And the crescent-shaped “trim” on his scalp is about 2” by a little over ½” area which actually evens out his two surgical sites, making his excised area more symmetrical. We like symmetry. We also like the surgeons and the nurses who make the experience truly personal while still being professional and expert at their work.
I used to be a surgical nurse so when I wasn’t holding David’s hand, I was looking over the surgeon’s shoulder and found the procedure fascinating. David was comfortable from all the local anesthetic.
We were out the door about 1:30 with David wearing his baseball cap hiding a cute cap of white mesh fabric that held in place a wad of gauge sponges over his scalp excision area. With a fat lip that was beginning to hurt, David decided it would not be a good time to meet the kids for lunch. We had to wait a long time for our car which we’d parked via valet at one end of the hospital but need to pick it up at the other end. By this time David was beginning to feel more comfortable due to the high powered pain med we found squirreled away in his wallet from previous surgeries. Half an hour later (after a reminder), the car arrived and we headed back to Holland.
About 5 miles out, David said he felt a gush and wondered if I saw any blood showing. Yikes! There was a mass of blood on the back of his head running down his neck so we pulling into the back lot of a gas station at the Territorial Road exit and had a better look. Oh my goodness, his jacket had about a half cup of blood pooled in the folds on his back…so you can imagine what the back of the car seat looked like. His white mesh covering was all red as was the stack of gauze sponges over the excision site. I dug around in back and found the extra sponges they had given us which were used up in a minute. Then I found a terry washcloth I’d stashed away which David used to put more pressure on the wound. All that did was squeeze the blood out of the gauze sponges causing the blood to run down the front of his face as well as the back of his head. I finally found a fluffy shawl I had bought at an airport to protect against the cold in the plane and wrapped that as tightly as I could around his head like a turban. One quick call to the clinic and we were back at the hospital at 2:45 where the nurse met David and swept him quickly through the waiting room … turban, blood-stained light shirt, and all. What a mess he was!
The resident got going with the cautery right away to zap the oozers and then packed the area with a fibrin kind of material and waited a good long time (until about 4:00) before sending us home with a bag full of gauze sponges, towels, and even a band that could wind under his chin and Velcro on top to hold real pressure on a stack of gauze, if needed. During the waiting time, the nurse kept a close eye on him and chatted away. We came home with a couple good jokes and a lot of corny ones. I liked this one she told us: “What did the number 0 say to the number 8?” (Think about it…the answer is at the end of this.)
We have often mentioned in the blogs about the good Lord’s blessings in the most unexpected places. And this was no exception. In addition to the excellent personnel at the UofM Hospital and their quick and compassionate response to the unexpected, there was another blessing not to be overlooked. If the valet service had delivered our car in the usual amount of time, we would most likely have been driving somewhere in no man’s land between Brighton and Lansing when this would have happened.
We look forward to going up on Saturday to Maranatha Bible Conference Center where we will spend a week along with our two elementary age grandchildren and their parents…and over a hundred other people. It will be a fun week and people will just have to get used to seeing David with a fat lip wearing a baseball cap all the time. Hopefully there will be no more blood gushing down his neck or off his forehead.
(Answer: “Where did you get that cute belt?”)