Saturday, June 13, 2009


7:00 pm June 12: Nanci and I went out for dinner with Garry and Lis to await word on the final outcome of the surgery. I'm not sure if I will even have any appetite as I have been so anxious all day and trying to manage on only 3 hours of sleep; at least the periodic updates from Clinical Nurse Specialist Lise Belanger as she went in an out of surgery did give me some interim comfort and reassurance during the course of the day.

9:15 pm: Finally, the call we have been waiting for -- Dr. Marcel Dvorak says the surgery is finished and it has been successful.The surgery itself has gone on for approxiamtely 14 hours from when the cutting began (about 16 hours from when I took Tesfaye in at 5:30 am), a little longer than planned, but Tesfaye and his vital signs and spinal cord monitoring stayed stable throughout. I asked him if he was happy and if he achieved the correction he expected. He said he was happy and thought that it perhaps even went a little better than expected. When he mentioned he was going to go for a beer and a bite to eat with Lise and John the OT, I asked if I perhaps could join up with them and he said "sure".

9:45 pm:Nanci got a ride home with Lis, and I met up with Marcel at Earl's; it was great to have the rare opportunity to go over things in some detail in person with the surgeon right after the surgery. Basically, it was very tricky and took a lot of surgical "finetuning" to get a satisfactory correction as a result of some of the complications from Tesfaye's Ankylosing Spondylitis, but in the end he was pleased. Marcel also said that Dr.Giffin's Anaestheliogy team did a great job going without the need for a blood transfusion even with the large blood loss. I cannot tell you how amazed I am that these guys can do what they do in the Operating Room. I asked Marcel if he has any trouble sleeping or if he worries knowing he has surgery the next day, and he said "no";I asked him whether it was different with Tesfaye's case and he said that it was more compicated that normally seen here, but the main reason he did probably feel a little different about it than the usual case was the increased number of calls and attention the case attracted.

10:45 pm:Call to Dr. Rick: I took the opportunity while sitting with Marcel to try to reach Dr. Rick Hodes in Ethiopia to tell him that the surgery was completed successfully. I was thankful that I was able to reach him and that Marcel could directly give him his surgical summary. Of course, Rick was so pleased and grateful that it all went well for Tesfaye.

11:30 pm:The Perfect End to the Day: Seeing Tesfaye lying on his "new" back Lise kindly took me up to the Recovery Room to see how Tesfaye is doing. Naturally, he is in a deep sleep post surgery. Although they warned me that his face would probably look quite swollen and bruised after beging pushed on while face down for 14 hours,in fact, in spite of that and all the protruding tubes, I thought Tesfaye's face looked remarkably good - still handsome and angelic looking. But he now had a new frailness about him with his clearly longer and straighter torso, and his now visible yet railthin stomach. I was just so ecstatic and relieved that the delicate surgery was finally over, even though I know that a long road of healing and recovery lies ahead. It was so remarkable to see Tesfaye lying flat on his back, with just a thin pillow under his head - a position that he probably hasn't been able to sleep in since he was around 8 years old. As I leave, the Nurse says they will call me when Tesfaye starts arouse and will let me now if they want me to bring an interpreter. I escorted Lise to her car and then walked back to mine, finally looking forward to a longer night of sleep than I have been able to muster in recent days.


yaron said...

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

I am so glad! Tell Tesfaye I'm so happy for him and I'll see him as soon as I'm home. All of us in Prague are thinking of him!