Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tonight he said my name

Screening day was the first time I saw him, then he came to the ward for his biopsy and I followed his case as he was checked up by outpatients and our dietician. He had to put on weight before he was strong enough. But the problem was, his tumour had been growing for five years and two years ago he'd stopped being able to chew food because the tumour was taking up his whole mouth. The more nutrients we gave his malnourished body, the more his tumour grew. He was admitted to our ward for a peg tube and a tracheostomy.
I spent quite a bit of time with his surgeon, listening to him speak out his concerns of the risks of surgery as the benign tumour was pushing the right corotid artery back further into his head, it had invaded far into his head resting near his brain, surrounding his right eye and coming dangerously close to his left. If you've ever had surgery then you'd know the risks spelled out before you, even if it's something routine and not something this huge! I was afraid that our beloved patient wouldn't come through the surgery, but then the Dr pointed out that by now if we hadn't put the trache in for him to breathe, he'd most likely already be dead. We had to continue the fight!
The evening before surgery we faced more challenging questions about saving his right eye or removing it if necessary. You have to remember our patient cannot speak. Our communication was a whiteboard, a blue marker and wonderful French translator (who is actually a Dr too!). We had to discuss some hard final questions.
The day of surgery finally arrived! Can you imagine the anticipation and the prayers being sent? His mama sat with his aunt who was called in to support her, as his surgery lasted 9 hours. He lost more than his total volume of blood but was given back 9 units from crew members, even some of his very own nurses!
Finally he came out of the OR, his face wrapped in clean, white bandage, but the whole tumour gone. He was breathing on his own.
After some time he woke up and when he was awake enough he lifted his hand to feel the tumour; gone. His one open eye sort out our smiling faces and he reached out his hand to touch each nurse as they came in to see how he'd gotten through this enormous surgery.
It was special watching him take each nurses hand and shake it, meaning, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It's amazing how much you can read from the eyes when one has no voice.
My heart felt pure relief and joy! We'd prayed for this man for weeks and here were our answers!
Over the next days he was back in his ward bed (on post op day 1!!!), walking around the ward and up to deck 7 in the afternoons (that is walking up four flights of stairs!). His face looks amazing! Yes, it will certainly take time for the over stretched skin to shrink back but what has already shrunk back looks so great!

The most exciting thing happened today. We removed his trache and closed that hole over, giving him the ability to speak. He said my name! He can say all the nurses’ names! And we delight and gush over him as we hear these precious words pouring forth.
In a few days he will be able to take soft food to eat. This will be the first time in about two years! What would you choose to eat after waiting two years?
Each day as we see the improvements he makes, we jump for joy. The road to full recovery will certainly take time but we are so privileged to be a part of it with him! And as you read this and pray for him you also get to join us! So thank you! 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful story Deb! I can't believe he is recovering so quickly! It's amazing how God can so miraculously change someones life and restore hope right before your eyes. Thanks for all the love you have poured into the ship! I can't wait to be back there with you :)




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