It’s Sunday, 305 days ATN and four days til surgery.
There were three things I wanted to accomplish before surgery: a trip to Honolulu, attend the National Association of Broadcaster’s conference in Las Vegas (more on that below), and attend a celebration of life for a good friend’s wife. All three have been done.
So I’m all ready for surgery right?
(Just to set expectations, this will most likely be the last post before surgery. And while I’ll try to do a brief post while in the hospital I’m not promising anything. So don’t be too worried if you don’t hear from me for a week or two…)
Countdown to Surgery
Surgery is scheduled for 7:30 Thursday morning. They want me there at 5:30. Taking into account travel time and the prep they want me to do the “day of” surgery I really should wake up around 3:30 or 4. Which means I’d get a couple hours of sleep. I suppose I can sleep all day after surgery. I’m wondering if my surgeon is a fellow vampire. I have mixed feelings about that. If so he’ll be starting surgery around bedtime.
The surgery itself will be laparoscopic and will take a few hours. I asked which robot and it is an Intuit Surgical Da Vinci. I know at least one of you readers used to work at Da Vinci. If you have any pull please arrange for the special frontal lobotomy firmware. That should keep me from worrying too much about anything post-surgery.
Surgery day is termed “Day 0” and the standard schedule has discharge to home on Day 3. There are goals for each day. Like chewing gum on Day 0. I’m not sure how I’ll fare on that one since I haven’t chewed gum in several decades (it would pull out dental caps. I better not lose any crowns or fillings this time around!) I’m also supposed to wiggle my feet. I suppose this is the extent of exercise when you’re bed-bound.
JT is a godsend and will pick me up on Day 3 and stay the night. I figure if I make it through the first day and night I’m probably OK. Naturally Day 4 is Return To Work day for JT’s employer and there’s intense pressure for all employees to show up. JT won’t be able to stay the day. But one of my neighbors (the one who took me to the Stanford ER) has offered any help I need. Which I hope will be none, but its great to know I can call on someone a couple houses down.
To say I’m a little freaked out by surgery is a bit of an understatement. Which is kind of weird since chemo and chem-rad didn’t phase me very much. And I suppose it’s not the surgery proper but what comes afterwards that has me worried since it’s a bunch of new experiences. First is just surgery recovery. I’ve never had surgery (well OK strictly speaking the mediport placement was surgery but so minor it really doesn’t count.) Will it go according to plan and I’ll go home on Sunday? Will I be able to get by on my own from Monday on? I I really don’t want to impose on JT (or anyone else for that matter) more than absolutely needed. If I really can’t get by then I should probably go to a care home or have a live-in caregiver arranged. I suppose we’ll assess that while I’m in the hospital.
Then there’s the ileostomy. How exactly do I care for it? It’s been stated that I’ll be shown how at the hospital. (I’ll be eating solid food before discharge so I assume there’ll be a demonstration of emptying the bag.)
And lastly there’s the more mundane worries. Will PG&E be able to keep the power on for at least two hours at a time so my systems don’t shut down? (The backup plan is to FaceTime with JT to power everything back up. She doesn’t seem thrilled by the prospect. But among other things I host a site that monitors the over-the-air TV broadcasts in the Bay Area, and some of the station engineers use it to ensure their broadcasts are OK. I know because I get pinged when the system goes down 🙂 The site is https://sfaybayatsc.koherence.com if any of you are interested.)
Anyway, wish me luck (as well as the surgeon, and especially JT who will be dealing with me for a day afterwards!)
On the Road to NAB 2022
Four days after returning from Honolulu I was on the road to the National Association of Broadcaster’s conference in Las Vegas (aka NAB). There was also an ex-TiVo mixer the day before I hit the road. With all the traveling, people, and events its a minor miracle I haven’t contracted COVID. (My immune system is recovering but not quite back to where it was pre-chemo).
And yes, I drove to Vegas. It’s about an eight hour drive (SF Bay Area -> Gilroy -> Bakersfield (Costco gas fill-up) -> Barstow (Barstow Station break) -> Las Vegas). I usually drive to NAB and CES . I can arrive or leave whenever I want and not be tied to plane schedules, and there have been a couple occasions where I extended a trip by a few days.
Attending NAB 2022 was on the To-Do list not so much because I wanted to attend conference sessions (I got an exhibits-only pass). Or because I wanted to go to Las Vegas. It was to touch base with people in person, some of whom I hadn’t seen since the last NAB in 2019. (NAB 2020 and 2021 were cancelled like just about every other event for the past two years).
And it was great to catch up and “talk shop” with people, particularly those in the ATSC 3.0 area, which I’ve been part of for the past four years or so. Whether I continue or spring to something new in my post-cancer life is a bit questionable (there are aspects of the broadcast standard that lead me to believe that TG-3, the group in ATSC responsible for the 3.0 standard, either had a collective lobotomy or engaged in binge drinking during working sessions…) If you happen to be interested in my professional life there’s a blog at https://in-koherence.com.
When I first planned the trip I wasn’t sure if I was going to be twiddling my thumbs for three days. As it turns out enough people I knew attended and took the time to meet (and in some cases share a meal) that it was a pleasantly eventful time. Thanks to those of you who took the time to get reacquainted. And for those of you who didn’t make it I hope we cross paths at future conferences!
Good luck to you, JT, your medical team and friends who are there to support you. Prayers to all.