I am home from my first major surgery and first overnight hospital stay.
I have crutches (another first). I have a titanium rod (or “nail,” as my dapper and congenial surgeon calls it) in my left femur. The thigh that surrounds said femur is itself surrounded by a brace that immobilizes the knee. Dapper and Congenial Sawbones and his resident led me to believe that I could ditch the brace at any time and re-enact the Fred Astaire ceiling dance. The nurse I asked to remove it strongly disagreed.
The nurse was right, as I learned in the quickie physical-therapy session I went through before discharge. So the next couple of days are going to suck, as I maneuver around this two-story house with two crutches and one functional knee.
The “nerve block” that was injected into my femoral artery hasn’t quite worn off yet, but at this point my leg hurts less than it did before the surgery. That tumor really was stretching the bone to the breaking point. (I asked DACS whether he scooped the cancerous tissue out with a melon baller, and he said no -- and then proceeded to describe the tool he did use, defining a melon baller with the kind of precision that could get him a job at Merriam-Webster.)
The surgery went well from my perspective, but apparently I slept through some drama. DACS wanted to start with a biopsy just to make sure this was the metastasis we had expected and not, in a horrible coincidence, an unrelated bone tumor. So they did that -- and found no evidence of any sort of cancer. They did it again -- and found some “abnormalities” but still no cancer. The third time was a charm: While it wasn’t definitive, and really nothing is with my rare form of a rare cancer that rarely spreads to the bones, it was at least “consistent” with that scenario.
Funny thing is, when I woke up, I was very confused when the nurses told me everything went well, because I could have sworn I had previously been awakened and told the operation was aborted because it had been bone cancer and not a metastasis all along.
Apart from the actual medical stuff, the hospital stay was quite pleasant. The room, in the new wing at Sibley Memorial Hospital in D.C., could have been in a Hampton Inn. I ordered food; I wasn’t just issued it. There were the usual constant intrusions for medication and vital signs, but they made it easy not to miss the Australian Open women’s singles final at 3 a.m. on my room's nice flat-screen TV -- too bad Venus couldn’t pull off the upset.