Craig Erickson Craig's New Journey

First post: Jan 4, 2018 Latest post: Jan 24, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

NOTE : Probably not doing this in the "proper" way but decided at 4:30am today (1/4) to share in a single site and Caring Bridge is the greatest way to do it! The story will be long so you may want leave it for a time when even sleeping pills aren't working! Consider yourself warned!

What started with lunch at my desk on 12/28 and a small piece of meat, NOT BONE, homemade turkey noodle soup, is now 2 surgeries and an extended stay at the Robbinsdale Luxury Suites, better known as North Memorial Hospital. I was having lunch at my as usual when a swallow didn't clear. Tried a few more swallows of water and coffee but no luck. Since I was able to take breaths I tried not to panic a went to the restroom for Plan B. This may be TMI for some, it may also may be useful for others. I tried to force it out by vomiting. (NOTE TO Self: If you can breath but the food isn't moving, it's probably already past the point of this doing anthing but harm, no matter what the internet may tell you). Went to Celeste's desk for change - I know, sad I didn't have my own- for a Coke which was another wonderful internet suggestion by a real doctor ( or posing as one) who has heard it worked for other( s). No change so across to the skyway to N Memorial Health Clinic. PLUG - Great option if you work in downtown Mpls. Have used them for eyes, hard coughing and sudden sore throat. They tried warm water to relax the esophagus but still no change so arranged for a luxury limo, I mean ambulance ride, to the hospital at around 2:30 pm.

Emergency at N Memorial was busy but they seem to know there stuff and there is a lot more privacy than I rcall in the past. I was well monitored and based on their tests they scheduled surgery for 6:00 pm THAT evening. I later found out that my temp was going up but the overriding issue was that SO MUCH JUNK had gotten into my chest cavity through a tear in my esophagus that my white cell count was approaching ZERO. Turns out this isn't good. Apparently when there too many points of attack the body gives up fighting completely. Guess the body doesn't have Gandolf  coming from the east with the sun behind him.  Lord of the Rings for those asking Who's this Gandolf? Surgery was 3+ hrs, with a Thoracic Surgeon repairing the 4 cm tear and a Gastroenterologist inserting a stent, which we find out on Tuesday was apparently too small at the bottom, allowing a reflux to enter between the stent and the esophagus and ptolonging my coughing, etc. but I'm getting ahead of myself. So I have a 9 inch incision in back of upper left shoulder and another incision on my left side by my waist.
With 2 drainage tubes tp sunction liquids from chest cavity and monitor color/volume. And YES, there is pain at both. Enough that I don't have much of a time limit - I ask and then receive. Really need to stay on top of it - haven't a couple of times and catch up is a "B#?{?!. Monday I had a swallow test at 9:00 am checking for a leak. The contrast liquid tasted soooooo good. But then I hadn't had ANY food or liquid since Thursday, yes, 4 days. Think of me when those ads for "dry mouth" come on! They don't have a clue on what a dry mouth is. Failed the test new plan needed.

Tuesday I still seemed to be hacking up gunk - all medical terms I think. If not, all descriptive at least. My thorasic surgeon contacted the gastroenterologist who indicated I needed to remain at least 60 degrees vertical to prevent more reflux . Thanks for sharing that tidbit 4 days AFTER surgery. So much for multiple sleeping options - either sitting up in bed or sitting up in a chair. Try it sometime other than when watching a game and dozing . Remember - reclining  beyond 60 is cheating.  New plan I refer to as "Take out wrong one and put in right one". Sounds a bit sarcastic - that's MY plan for this process. Day spent sitting,taking walks with visitor -THANKS AGAIN to those who have come, taking meds and, guessed it, NOTHING orally. I did get a catheter - and for you guys especially- I was told a catheter is just a tube ANYWHERE! Mine is upper right arm and has two inputs (sounds like coputer talk) and runs to stomach. Getting all my nutrition, they tell me, through the yellow liquid in the bag. It's great, I can sleep and still eat ANN no chewing. Yup, my cup is half full as much as I can try.  Gastroenterologist comes in the afternoon to explain the options Surgery coming up. 

Wednesday starts with updates from thoracic surgeon (surgeon), his assistant, and then the gastroenterologist (GI) who described the upcoming proecedure. Decision was finalized when A-I would be out, and B-my Surgeon, would be in the room prepped for any issues. Took afew walks, visited with Celeste (who by the way has been every bit supportive as humanly possible. She was my communications link at the beginning and is continuing as paperwork general.  We initiated the Short Term Disability process (I may not have mentioned the current target for returning is no sooner than February).  Surgery was at noon and they told Celeste it was slightly over the planned 30 minutes.  They told her it went well and my surgeon hoped to have me on a soft white diet and home by Monday. I would cross my fingers but entering this on an iPad mini is tough enough without adding obstacles like that.  All I know is is what Celeste relayed and OP Room nurses told mes. The right stent replaced  the wrong one. But I also came out with another drainage tube up my nose into my stomach to monitor possible leaking as well. Not sure if I can handle more tubes - especially considering the possible locations remaining! Looking to Thursday and updates and visitors and walking and who knos what else! 

CONGRATULATIONS- you survived the saga!  I'll use jounals going forward and try not to get wordy. I said "try" - no pomises or legalize binding me to it!!!

CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey. Learn more about CaringBridge.

To interact with Craig’s website, sign in or register today.

By registering with CaringBridge, you will join over 300,000 people a day who are supporting friends and family members.

Sign In Or Register