Well.... not totally tubeless. There are still a number of tubes involved in Trish's recovery. But that damned (use Shakespearean pronunciation: two syllables "dam-ned") tube that started in her stomach, ran up her esophagus, and out through her nose, to be connected to a bile-sucking apparatus on the wall, and was in place for EIGHT days ... THAT tube is history!
At around 8:30 a.m. this morning (Tuesday morning to be precise) she drank a "contrasting" liquid that allowed the x-rays to register a picture of the site of her surgery, and show any possible leaks. Later in the day, when the results were deemed satisfactory, the nurses finally removed the tube (somewhere around 1:30). I was there, but left the room when they started to prepare for the extraction. (I think I would have been allowed to stay, but I was afraid of making that girlish, high-pitched squeal I had no idea I COULD make, until Katy and I found the rat in our apartment last year... at least Katy's squeal was slightly higher-pitched than mine).
When I returned the tube was gone! Trish described the process as lasting about 10 seconds, during 5 of which she thought she was going to die.
She looked great, sans tube, but had two raw patches on her cheeks where the adhesive tape holding the tube in place for the last eight days had been ripped off. The first thing she did was wash her face, and then cleverly, in that way women do that always fascinates me, applied concealer to the red patches ... and VOILA! there was the Trish we all know and love.
She was exhausted (having been awake since 3:00 a.m. thanks to a malfunctioning IV machine), but her whole aspect seemed freer and lighter.
Dr. Kuchenbecker, ever conservative, wanted to hold off food (well... jello, or something like that) for a day, as there was a spot in the x-ray that might have indicated a delicate place in the healing area. So, for the moment, her oral intake (remember, she's had nothing by mouth for 8 days!) is one ounce of water each hour. Tomorrow, hopefully, she will have some real food.
As of now, the ability to eat food, and the complimentary ability to eliminate it, are the milestones that need to be passed before she can go home. Trish also will continue having the feeding tube in her abdomen for a few weeks after she's home, to insure that she is getting enough nourishment. Her new, compact stomach needs to be "broken in", so to speak.
Anyway, she is SO much more comfortable now, and continues to recover well. She's able to talk more comfortably now, but asks that phone calls and visits be held in abeyance until she's back home ... which (knock on wood) should probably be by the end of the week.
So... all in all, a very good day.
Keep sending good thoughts, and enjoy the break in the heat wave.