Monday, March 05, 2012

The Debriefing, Part 1

In the wee hours of the morning on March 3, Dave came out of his drug induced haze and told me plainly, "I'm ready for a debriefing now." This was to be the real one, the first time he was conscious enough to absorb all that I had been telling him through the night. He had been asking, over and over again, like they said he would, but he didn't remember.

I started from the last thing he did remember. At noon on March 2, we were cuddled in his bed watching a movie on the laptop when they finally came to get him for his colonoscopy. He'd been up since 5, waiting for it. He was not a happy camper.

They drove him in a wheelchair to the other side of the hospital and directed me to a waiting room. I later heard from the doctor that he was bargaining about how to get out the next day for his Nana's 90th birthday party. I waited for 2 hours before the nurse called me back to the consultation room. I waited there another 20 minutes that felt like an eternity. I tried hard not to have a panic attack. There wasn't enough room to pace without getting dizzy, and my heart rate was already so fast I felt light headed. I just tried to control my breathing (that Hypnobabies training is still working). I prayed the prayer of the speechless, over and over, like a chant: "Please God. Please God. Please God." I know He knows the words in my heart even when there are no words in my mouth, and thank Heaven because there has been a lot of "Please God."

I finally heard the doctor come out. I also overheard the nurse make a comment about a closed door and something being bad, then the doctor asked if she would come with him. Then he went to the room next door, to the lady who had been called back after me. The nurse did not go in there with him. She waited in the hall. Then she came to my room. I'm grateful for those few minutes of knowing that what he was going to say to me would knock the breath out of my lungs.

Then he came to my room he told me quick and straight that he'd found a tumor in Dave's colon and it would have to be removed. He showed me a diagram to point out the location and assured me that Dave would not need a colostomy bag - that was one of his big worries. He explained how much colon they would need to take out, that 99% of the time a tumor like this one is cancer, and that he'd already called the surgeon. I took all of that like a woman and then I nearly lost it when he said that Dave didn't know yet.

The doctor took me to Dave's bed. He was still sleeping and I hoped hard that he would stay asleep until the doctor came back to explain it with me. He didn't. He rolled over and looked at me and said, "Is it bad?" I nodded. "Cancer?" Probably. Then it was a whirlwind of explanation about surgery and risks and tumors and timelines, and we had to repeat it all several times because he was still sedated and couldn't remember. The surgeon joined us and, as God would have it, he had a slot open at that exact time because the weather was bad and they had been sending people home. He told us we could wait until next week, but it would mean being readmitted and going through the prep again. Thankfully, Dave looked at me and asked what I thought we should do. I said, "Do it today."


  1. Amanda, I hope everything turns out for the best. Dave is lucky to have you with him. I will be praying for you.

  2. Kristen Dechert5:09 PM

    My heart breaks for you and for Dave. I will have you both in my thoughts in the coming days.