Well the short answer is that today went amazingly well! If you want more details feel free to continue reading (I promise not to get too medical or graphic).
Beth woke up at 5:00 because she was told to drink a couple of cups of apple juice at that time and then we walked up to the hospital just before 6:00. Beth wanted to drop in on the 5th floor to pick up some information a coworker had photocopied for her and then we headed down to the day surgery unit to get registered. Our son David joined us about 6:45 (he took the day off work). Our friend and former pastor Olu Peters and his wife Tracey dropped by shortly thereafter and offered up a beautiful prayer before Beth went into the surgery.
Then the waiting began. David and I went home and I ended up taking a nap as I hadn't slept well the night before. We went back up to the hospital around 9:30 since we wanted to make sure we were there if the doctor came out to talk to us after the operation. We were hopeful that would happen but in the end he didn't come and we could tell that he had several other surgeries he was performing in quick succession so it wasn't a big surprise. A former neighbour of ours is a long-time volunteer at the hospital in the day surgery unit so he was able to keep us informed a bit - that is, he told us that he had seen Beth in recovery but he didn't talk to her as it seemed she was sleeping a lot. At noon I felt we had sat there long enough so I went back to ask where things were at, and as it turned out Beth had just arrived back in that area. She was looking pretty pale and was still a bit groggy but was able to communicate fine (with regular doses of ice chips for her mouth). Alison came up from the house about that time as well so she and David were able to come in right away too (we saw signs up saying only 1 visitor per patient but nobody hassled us about the 3 of us being there, although we tried to rotate a bit as well so usually only 2 were there at a time).
Around 1:00 David and I headed out to get some food (my 5:30 muffin had worn off a long time before!) and pick up a couple of items from the drug store (pain prescription and an anti-itch cream as Beth has found lately that her skin has become way more itchy and she wonders if it has something to do with her liver). While we were away she was able to get some sleep and gradually wear off some of the effects of the anesthetic/surgery - this mainly involved taking deep breathes regularly and keeping her legs moving. She did get some pain medicine as well but her pain never got over a 4 or 5 on the 10 point scale. She was surprised to find that she has pretty good range of motion on the right side where they took lymph nodes from under her arm. However she is restricted in lifting to nothing over 5 pounds.
Beth got up to go to the washroom, needing a bit of support as she felt a little unsteady at first, but she really did quite well with that and then the nurse showed us how to empty the 3 drains that she has, one for each incision. She got a special camisole from the Hope Springs support centre that she can wear which includes pockets for the drains so we put that on and then got dressed for being discharged. Alison brought the car up and I bought Beth a bowl of soup from Tim Horton's on the way out. So we were home by 3:45 and Beth was pretty comfortably sitting at our kitchen table eating some soup (see photo).
It was really wonderful being at St. Mary's Hospital where there are so many familiar and caring people. Beth connected with a couple of long-time friends and co-workers through Facebook on the weekend who work in the operating and recovery rooms. They each asked if she would like for them to be with her in those areas and she was thrilled to have Rosemary present as she got prepped in the surgery suite and then Kathy be her nurse caring for her during the first stage of her recovery. In fact, Beth and Kathy trained in the RN program together (oh so many years ago now) and even lived together for almost 2 years as they began their careers at St. Mary's. Amazing, right? And the whole day was filled with lots of other great connections as we crossed paths with many of Beth's co-workers. (it took a while to wheel her out at the end of the day as she needed to stop to talk to people along the way). While her primary care nurse in the day surgery unit was not someone Beth knew, Vicky was so supportive and helpful. She has known though of the situation through hospital channels and said that when she found out this morning she'd be taking care of Beth that she knew it was definitely a "God-thing."
Josh dropped by later in the afternoon and then David went to get Rachel and Lindsay so we had supper together. [We had leftovers from a great retirement party that Beth and the kids hosted for me on Sunday at our house. 28 of my coworkers from Queen Elizabeth School came, where I worked for 19 years before transferring to my present school a few years ago. It was a wonderful time and Beth said it made for a great distraction from thinking about the surgery.]
The rest of the evening continued to go well, with Beth taking pain medication at 5:00 and not taking anymore until 10:00. Lindsay therapy (which includes lots of smiles and giggles) is always very effective. Joel got home from work at 9:00, after a 12 hour day. I emptied Beth's drains and we've been pleased that the fluid draining now is more clear. I feel like I'm just starting to ramble random information now and for some reason I'm feeling kinda tired. But it really has been a very good day all things considered. I think we're all amazed at how well Beth is feeling and so we are obviously grateful for the many positive thoughts and prayers that have been offered up at this time. From the bottom of our hearts we say thank you once again for your love and support.