Last night was the 4th week of handling classes with the Nashville Kennel Club. Millie and Jack got into a bit of a tangle earlier in the week. I decided to let her stay home and rest her gnawed upon paw and instead, took two huge bags of show trophies to assemble at the class. I played with other people's dogs, gossiped and strangled about 16 stuffed sheep with ribbons and decorative, corgi-themed refrigerator magnets.
Anyway, it has been nearly a year since I had seen Crazy Lisa (self proclaimed Crazy, I might add). I believe it was last year at the Maury County dog show when I saw her and her husband last. Lisa is a hoot. She shows Dalmatians. And her husband had Barrett's Esohpagus.
When we first met we bonded over this, as my dad had Barrett's Esophagus too. He had his surgery about two and half years ago, so I was able to tell her what to expect. Seems like my dad and her husband even had the same surgeon.
When she and Roo sat down next to me last night, Lisa asked what's been going on, clearly looking for some wacky stories. I couldn't come up with much of anything. Then I realized I had a reputation to live up to, since I had told her the story of my Dad's neck vagina.
Which leads me to my reminiscing.
Barrett's Esophagus is a precancerous condition of the--you guessed it--esophagus. Esophageal cancer is not pretty and is almost on par with cancer-nastiness as pancreatic cancer. So obviously you want to deal with it the soonest you can. Dawdle too long and you can dawdle yourself right into a burial plot.
The cure for this condition is a trans-hiatal esophagectomy. In layterms, it means they yank out your swallower, resect your stomach to make a new one, and connect the meaty ends together. You get cut from just below your ear to your belly button, with a skipped portion over your rib cage. I don't even wanna know how they pull one end of the meat to the other. Yikes.
So my dad had his surgery and I visited him daily at the hospital. He did remarkably well, though he was not emotionally prepared for the fact he could not drink or eat. He's one of those guys who has a gallon jug of lemonade next to him most of the time. A heavy drinker, so to speak. Heh heh. So no liquids by mouth for WEEKS was not fun for him.
He ended up with an infection in the incision in his neck. On one of my daily visits, I stumbled in when one of the nurses was cleaning it. Lovely. I actually said, "Hey Dad! Looks like you got a vagina in your neck!" His reply, as usual, was to shoot me the bird.
The nurse maintained her professional composure, but after that statement, I was known as the girl who said "neck vagina."
Thing was, the infection was in the incision line in his new esophagus. Deep in the tissue. And they had to open the incision all the way down, pack it and let it heal from "the inside out." Yeah, run away if anyone wants to do that to you. I can talk about poop for days on end, but a gaping, open wound gives me the willies.
Because this wound was open all the way down to his esophagus, basically anything that went into his mouth came out his neck vagina! Seriously! Like he was eating green jello. He was happy because he could eat again. He just had to remember to blot his chest frequently because green jello was running out of his neck vag! OMFG! Though horrific, I thought it was a great party trick. Hey watch this--anyone got a jello cup??
He was healed up well enough to go home before his neck vag completely healed from the inside out. On his first weekend home, I went to visit the folks and see how he was doing. He was sitting at the table with his computer, no shirt, just some shorts on, but with a MAXI PAD STUCK TO THE SIDE OF HIS NECK VAGINA! Not to laugh at the infirm, but damn that was funny!
I had to point and yell I told you so (see, it IS a neck vagina!) and he, of course, flipped me off. "Shut up," he said. "It's the only thing that helps contain the drainage." Yeah, who knew that Stayfree had an off-label use for this?
Crazy Lisa's husband's surgery was not without his own complications, but he was fortunate to not have a leaky neck. I was glad to see her last night because she is so amusing and it reminded me I needed to write some of these things down. Just don't tell Dad because if he finds out I told this on the internets, he'll shit a brick! And flip me off.