7th Day

The surgeon took Doug back to the OR hoping to close the incision, but the bowels are still full of gas so he left it open. They will try again on Friday. He has been given a strong laxative but still no action.

He can have ice chips but he isn’t supposed to swallow them. Once they melt he uses suction to remove the water from his mouth.

He is currently enjoying the Penguins Hockey game.



Doug’s bowels didn’t get moving after surgery. He had a couple fainting spells so they admitted him to ICU and did a CT scan of his abdomen. It appeared that his bowel was twisted so he went back to surgery yesterday at 5pm. It turned out his bowels were full of gas ( called an ileus) and not twisted. The surgeon left the incision open as a precaution so they could check it again if need be. Tomorrow they will take him back to surgery to close it.

Doug is comfortable and stable in ICU. It looks like we will be staying for a while

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.



Day 4, 3 AM: My Tiny World

I am going stir-crazy.  I’m attached to a bunch of  equipment 24 x 7.  I cannot take anything by mouth. Movement is extremely restricted. I need to take a walk, but the nurses that are on break for another 20 minutes.

I am in a reclining chair  almost 24 hours a day.  This is getting to be very hard to take.

4 AM Update: Nurse Andrea  return from break early and took me for a short walk.  He realized we had forgotten to take the melatonin, so she gave me some of that. Hopefully, that will help calm me down.  She also gave me some Lavender Essential Oil; that seems to help some as well.

5 AM Update: I also played the meditation channel from Pandora One. I’m feeling much better now!

Day 2 After Surgery

The surgery went very well – faster than expected. However, that first night I was wracked with pain, and got no sleep.

However, Day 1 was amazingly better. Adjustments were made to pain meds, and I actually had an excellent day: Five walks! Natalie and Brian came to my room to watch Game 7 of the Penguins-Capitals series. What a fantastic game! Action-packed all the way, the Pens won in the second overtime period!

I was able to get several hours of sleep in the reclining chair in my room.

Today I had four walks, and worked-out with a Pulmonary Rehab therapist.

Here I am relaxing at 8 p.m.:


Time for a Cool Change!

I called Les, my mechanic (owner of Delta Car Care) a few days ago to see if he knew of a “beater” that Natalie could rent or possibly buy in order to make several upcoming trips to Chicago. He said he had a Saturn wagon he’d sell for $3,500; then he mentioned that he was also planning to sell a car he’d owned and meticulously cared-for for 11 years: A Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor two-seater retractable-hardtop convertible for $9,500. WHAT? I SAID I’LL TAKE IT! It’s a 1999 model with less that 54,000 miles! We did the deal today: I’m gonna party like it’s 1999! Here’s my new (to me) convertible:

SLK Natalie

Natalie (in Indian Princess garb) models the SLK 230 Kompressor in our driveway!

SLK Michi Doug Ernie

Me with Michi & Ernie at their house.

This morning I decided: Why not put the Mini up for sale and see if I can sell it quickly? I posted ads on Craigslist and Nextdoor Mt. Lookout. I got three phone calls within an hour, and close to a dozen other calls or texts. In five hours, it was sold!

Picnic at Alms Park last night: We got together with some of our canoeing and backpacking friends friends for a picnic at Alms Park last night. It was a great time, in spite of the howling winds! I had my J-Tube feed system going the whole time.


Group photo by Natalie: From left: Bob (my brother), Sandy, Dean, me, Summer, Jen, Kathy & Jay


Whitewater Lady-Paddlers, from left: Sandy (an instructor), Kathy and Jen


Count-Down to Surgery

My surgery is scheduled for one week from today! Administratively, it’s been a bad 10 days, since my personal “patient advocate nurse” at Humana has been unreachable. It’s taken numerous phone calls to sort-out how the Mayo Clinic should get their Authorizations submitted to Humana and approved. It looks like I solved that yesterday: They can deal directly with Humana without having to go through my Primary Care Provider.

The expected technique to be used for my Esophajectomy: The Ivor Lewis technique. Click the link for some good graphics explaining that approach. UC Health had proposed a different approach, and planned to use two surgeons. At the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Mark Allen will be the only surgeon; he expects the operation to take about six hours, vs. the 10-hour procedure UC Health wanted to use. After the operation, I’ll be in Intensive Care for 2-3 days, and will likely be hospitalized 8-10 days total.

Pilots for Christ: I am again set up for a free flight with these folks. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate this time!

Quality Time with Natalie: Natalie has been been staying with us for about three weeks now. It’s taken some time, but she’s now comfortably installed in our spare bedroom, and has set up a work area in the attic. I am acting as Copy Editor for the books she is writing about her four months in St. Thomas. Most of the creative writing is done, but its grueling work getting from raw drafts to finished copy!

My younger brother Bob from France is also here for a week: He arrived late-afternoon Monday, and is staying in an Airbnb about a mile away. It’s walkable, with Mt. Lookout Square about half-way in-between. He and Natalie spent yesterday afternoon at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Here is a photo from my older brother Bill’s wedding last fall:

Wedding Party

Back Row, L-to-R: Natalie, me, Jen, Bob & Elizabeth (Bill’s daughter); Front: Jane and Bill

I finally bought myself a decent Bass Amplifier: I was at Stereo Advantage yesterday getting a turntable repaired. I asked if he had a decent Bass Amp for sale, and he said he had a great old Peavy. For $100, I traded-in my crappy 20-watt Ibanez practice amp for this Minx 110 model:

Peavy Minx™ 110