A surprisingly short road to recovery
Updated: Jul 25, 2018
The morning after the surgery - July 10th - I headed to the hospital a few hours before visiting hours began, in the hopes the nurses wouldn't have a problem with me sneaking in to check on Matt. The nurses were very kind and agreed that it was fine for me to come in, as Matt had already been up and out of bed, doing a few supervised laps around the floor. The hospital breakfast and coffee were what you might expect, so he was happy to have the americano I brought for him. Despite the largest gauze helmet I have ever seen, Matt looked pretty good and it was really encouraging and reassuring to get to hang out with him in the observation room.
The physiotherapist came by that morning to do an assessment and a few minutes into some resistance exercises remarked "I'm embarrassed to admit that you could probably take me down right now... and you're just 2 days post brain surgery." He was shocked when I told him that it hadn't even been 24 hours yet. He gave Matt his blessing to be up and about as much as he could and said that someone would be by the next day to check in on him. Matt has been working hard for the past few years to get fit and strong and I have no doubt that his dedication at the gym directly impacted how quickly he was able to rebound. He still had some swelling in his brain, and his headaches were still there, but he was up and moving around and generally looked and sounded like the Matt I know and love.
Matt's mom and brother came at lunch time with a cooler full of hearty sandwiches, veggies and freshly baked muffins, as well as some goodies that they were taking to our kids after visiting with Matt. Another friend drove a long way to pop in and spend 10 minutes with Matt before heading back home again. Digital and face to face check-ins meant that despite being far from home, we never felt alone while we were in London.
The next morning they removed Matt's helmet before I got there, and we chatted with the surgeon shortly after I arrived. He reiterated some of the things that he had told me after surgery and checked on Matt's incision.
Before the surgery, we were told that typically patients spend five or more days in hospital after a partial craniotomy. We were surprised, but so grateful, when we learned that morning - July 11th - that he would be discharged after lunch that day. There were friends who were making plans to visit and to send fruit baskets that week, but they didn't get the chance, as we were on our way home.
Matt had one last check in with a physiotherapist, we got prescriptions for the medications that he would need to continue at home and then we met with his neuro-oncologist for the first time. We won't know for sure until the pathology report comes back with the specific type of glioma, but he gave us an idea of what we could probably expect over the next few months for radiation and chemo.
We left the hospital around noon, stopped at a grocery store to grab some lunch, packed up my things from the house I was staying at and then headed for home. It was a long and uncomfortable ride home for Matt, but we were both so happy to arrive home to hugs from family and neighbours.