The neuro-surgery lasted over four hours. The surgeon finally appeared and told me she felt good about getting everything concerning the tumor. Lynn was moving toes and responding to verbal commands, showing good signs that motor skills were not affected, but recovery would be long. Tests on the tumor would be run, but the surgeon was sure it was cancer. It turned out she was right. It was a stage 4 melanoma metastasis. It didn’t occur to me how serious this was. I was just so happy Lynn survived the surgery and was responsive.
Later that night I could start sitting with Lynn in the ICU. It was not pretty. IV lines going everywhere and tubes coming out of her head at the surgery site. Blood pressure cuff, oxygen sensor, and heart rate sensor all connected to their electronics. She was very nauseous and in pain all night. This was going to be her life for a few days. She was barely conscious most of the time, although she seemed to know when I was there. She couldn’t eat and was unable to rest much due to pain, nausea and everything going on around her.
The tubes in the back of Lynn’s head were to deal with drainage and were attached to a devise that helped keep the brain fluid pressure correct. So if the nurses propped up her head, raised or lowered the head of the bed, new adjustments had to be made correctly or else Lynn would get more headaches and dizziness. This was not high technology. The was no end to the IVs. Every time a line would get pinched or a bag would empty, a load alarm would start from the machine. This would continue until a nurse arrived to shut off the alarm and resolve the problem. I finally found a “sleep” button on the machine that would silence the alarm briefly, giving us some peace until a nurse arrived. All of this was the routine for several days. Lynn was fighting to be part of the world again.