Saturday, December 12, 2015

Thursday, December 10, through Wednesday, December 16, 2015: The Recovery Week:

Thursday morning, I talked my way out of the hospital. 

My third nurse named Rachel (from Ohio, she worked for Xanterra at the Grand Canyon during the summer of 2005 and fell in love with northern Arizona) fell for my pleading and allowed me to escape.  After Becky picked me up, we ran a couple of errands and headed back to Williams.  I felt pretty good, though I was tired, and we had a good day---finished off with dinner from Panda Express.

On Friday, I laid low, and just relaxed.  The pain was virtually non-existent.  Becky bought a dog fence at the hardware store, and we installed it in our hallway Friday evening. 

It's designed to allow us to keep the dogs away from the bedrooms (ours is their favorite) when we want to avoid being disturbed.  It will also allow us to put them in their crates at night without first having to convince them to get off our bed.

Saturday was more of the same.  It snowed lightly most of the day, and Becky shoveled our driveway. 

Since the county street maintenance department is only two blocks away, the street in front of our house had already been cleared.  The blanket of snow in our yard is beautiful, of course.

We watched Trainwreck from the redbox on Saturday.  It was an unusual film, with very crude (raunchy?) language, but very well done and very funny in parts.  I can see why Amy Schumer is popular suddenly.  One surprise was that LeBron James, who was in it a lot, is a very good actor.

Sunday was a little football and dog-tending for me while Becky went to the city's annual Community Holiday Dinner to help out with serving the free food.  It's a charitable event, put on by a number of local groups (Kiwanis, Lions Club, etc.) and Becky ran into some of the very few people we know here.  They served about 600 people on Sunday.  Our dinner was turkey, etc., that she brought home with her. 

This morning, Monday, we woke to a nice snowfall.  It lasted much of the day, and totaled about five inches.  It's beautiful.  While our need for it is a bit questionable, Becky ordered a snow blower this morning.  It should arrive near the end of this week.

Tuesday was a normal day of puttering, reading, etc.  Wednesday will be important because we are going to Flagstaff on Wednesday to see doctors and get our truck's bed cover replaced.  The old one had a fatal breakdown last Wednesday.  It's seven years old and has had a lot of use, so we were not surprised that it finally failed.

We left at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, heading for Flagstaff.  We needed to drop off Ramsey and Kelsey at the GC Railway kennel, pick up our rental car at Enterprise, drop off the truck at Ace Automotive, and arrive at the Arizona Cancer Center by 10:00.  We were a bit early and Dr. Mathern took us fairly quickly.  He's so thorough that he's always late for an appointment and the later in the day you arrive, the longer you will have to wait to see him. 

The overall news was good.  The tissue that was removed during the surgery was clear of melanoma except one spot that was on the border between the new surgery and the old one.  It was explained that this tissue might be giving off a false positive for that reason.  We will keep an eye on it and, after the most recent surgery heals a bit, Dr. Boettcher will test that spot with a tiny probe that does not require actual surgery.  We also will schedule a PET scan for some time in January to see if the cancer has spread to any other parts of my body.

We then had a three-hour wait for our appointment with Dr. Boettcher.  We stopped at the Peace outdoor store to buy boots to wear in the snow (our first pairs of Sorels!), then at the O'Reillys auto parts store to buy a gas can for our snow blower, then at Northland Optical to pick up Becky's new reading glasses, then at Hiro's Sushi for lunch, then at Home Depot for some accessory concoctions Becky had ordered for the snow blower, then at Ace Automotive to pick up our truck,

then back to Enterprise to drop off the rental car, then, finally, to Dr. Boettcher's office.  Whew!

Dr. Boettcher spent an hour (plus!) removing the "turban" from my head, analyzing the surgery (and deciding it was successful), treating my leg where the skin graft came from, and discussing future plans.  Basically, we will see him every week for several weeks to monitor my progress and play everything else by ear.  It was determined that radiology on my very tender skin grafts was not recommended. 

We then returned to Peace to buy two more knitted caps to cover my head, then headed for home and to pick up two very hungry dogs and eat leftover sushi for dinner.  It had been a very long day.   

Becky had taken a picture of the part of my head where the surgery took place, and I saw the wound for the first time.  Wow!  It's a lot bigger then either of the first two surgery sites.  It scared me a little, and I spent the rest of the day in a bit of  a shock.  I finally decided to hit the "sack" which, for the next week or so, is actually a living room recliner that will allow me to sleep without resting the left side of my head against anything, and slept soundly and peacefully for the entire night.  All is well. 

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