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January 15, 2021

I wanted to update all of you as to my recent health emergency and offer my sincere and heartfelt thanks for your many words of encouragement.

On January 6, I underwent a hemicolectomy. The surgery went well and the good news is that I did NOT have cancer. A large tumor was resected and that should have been the end of it aside from 6 weeks of recovery. That’s the textbook version. Mine went way off the page in several scary directions.

Every conceivable and inconceivable thing went wrong from the start. A simple catheter was misplaced before surgery causing extreme and unexpected bleeding. The first 90 cc bag came off one third full of blood. Then came 2 days of vomiting great quantities of bile. (That was fun!)

Then the real problems surfaced. As leg messagers were put on a little too late, it soon became apparent that I had developed massive pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. This in turn put extreme stress on my heart. The first signs appeared as I was walking. My pulse jumped to 158 BPM with the atrial chambers fluttering at 310 BPM. Then came the crash cart!

After stabilizing the heart, I was rushed to the CTA lab for lung imaging. The images confirmed that my left lung was almost one solid embolism while my right was not a great deal better. Then I had a most unusual treat. While changing the portable oxygen tanks, they opened the valve without purging it first. The result was about two cups of water being forced into my nose, throat and lungs. In normal parlance, this is called water boarding.

I was put on massive does of IV and oral blood thinners and an assortment of medications to stabilize the heart rate. The embolisms were so great that my breathing and heart functions were stressed to their absolute limits. That required more oxygen as my Pulse Ox stats had crashed into the 60’s and 70’s.

The three day hospital stay had turned into a week. I finally insisted on being sent home and was reluctantly discharged. Things started to look up until after two days home, I developed enormous bowel bleeding, probably from the site of the  anastomosis. This required an emergency visit to the surgeon who immediately took me off of the blood thinners. We both agreed to wait and see at home before re-admittance to the hospital.

So that’s the update folks. I’m home under the superb care of my wife with my medical future very much in doubt. Will I have permanent heart and lung problems? I hope not!

A little side note on the hospital: It was the filthiest place I have ever been with a nursing staff (save two) that was confused, undertrained and plain inadequate. Imagine that I finally had to put my foot down and insist that the bedding be changed after three days and that I finally be given an opportunity to bathe! I will not return to this hospital under any circumstances.

In all, this is the most trying situation I have gone through in my 72 years. I am worried, disgusted and angry. Thank God that my wife is my strength!

PS – The photo is the cover from my poetry anthology: Prescriptions from the Rhyme Doctor.

  1. Good to hear you are home and recovering, Allen. Sounds like your surgery was a horrible experience. These days are a bad time to need surgery and be in the hospital with staff working beyond capacity battling Covid-19.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good Lord, Allen. I am so sorry to hear this terrible news. We’ll be calling you tomorrow. Sending our love and prayers. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, sounds like a literal horror story. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that and I agree thank goodness you have a loving wife. Sounds like the hospital was also dirty and unprepared and I am wondering if that is because of Covid and a shortage of nurses. I will pray for your full recovery and that you both will be well. Love ❤️ Joni

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a terrible experience, I feel so sorry.


  5. Hope the worst is behind you. Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG what a dreadful experience! Thank goodness you’re now at home and being looked after by your wife. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sending lots of love and prayers. 😘


  8. Good to hear you’re home and through that leg of the journey. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Take good care and sending love!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. olive blankenship permalink

    I’m sorry you had to go through so much Allen. It sounds just awful! I hope you’re finally on the mend and in time will be feeling much better.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a terrible medical experience, Allen! Hopes that you can remain home and recover in safety.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So sorry you went through all of this! Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Glad you survived. It is wonderful how so many of us are blessed to have wives who are amazing nurses (whether or not they ever went to nursing school).

    Liked by 1 person

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