is a
Veteran-Owned site.

Spending six hours on an operating table just isn;t much fun. Neither are the weeks of healing that follow it but I expect to spend some of that time at the flying field or cranking out content for the sites!
Click image to large

Post-Surgery and Getting Back to the Shop and Flying Field

6 hours on the operating table and I still have my original voice!

Text and photos by Tom Hintz


Bright and early on April 4th, 2017 I presented myself at the local (very well regarded) surgical department for the operation to remove my cancerous tumor and involved tissue. I remember getting a few new plastic hospital bracelets (five total) and having an IV started. Then someone apparently sipped me a Micky and I don’t recall a thing for the next several hours. For me the real world reappeared in post op with me alive and the attending surgeon predicting I would stay that way at least for the immediate future.

It turns out that sleeping through the operation itself was for me the easiest part. Because I will have to experience the getting better part awake (sort of) the post-op recovery period has been kicking my butt in no uncertain terms. A lot of that can be attributed to the pair of very large incisions, one down my centerline just below the rib cage and the other sort of horizontally behind my right arm. Both appear to be large enough to let a football pass through. While unsettling to be sure, that’s all the visible stuff. The doctor tells me that they removed a bunch of my esophagus, some stomach, gall bladder and some lymph nodes. He also that the operation took over 6 hours to complete. Samples from the “margins” of the parts of me removed were taken and sent to the lab.

I spent the first two nights in intensive care to make sure I didn’t vapor lock altogether when no one was looking. The remaining 6 nights were in what is called a post-surgical unit that specializes in this kind of after-operation care. They have what are called “private room’s” but that is out of necessity as two people and the required equipment for this level of care just won’t fit in anything remotely looking like a single room.

The People

I must say that throughout this adventure the staff at Carolinas Medical Center Northeast have been simply wonderful. I have never seen a more dedicated, caring group of people, even those tasked with caring for me.

My surgeon and all the supporting doctors are obviously very good with my surgeon being regarded as the best there is for this type of operation. Anyone who can make such large holes in me, go elbows-deep in my guts then staple me up to live another day while making my cancer disappear in the process must be a great surgeon.

The rest of the staff that I encountered were apparently some level of nursing. Their actual nursing skill level was never apparent as they all did everything professionally and with a surprising amount of compassion and care. Recovering from this kind of operation hurts a bunch and all the medications in the world won’t stop that altogether. Despite that somber bit of reality there was a surprising amount of laughter and good-nature ribbing in my room that went a long way to making my days there easier to deal with.

I had several of these bracelets on during my 8 days in the hospital. I don;t have a clue how many times they wee scanned to be sure I was who I said I was and that they were about to do the right thing to me.
Click image to enlarge

One thing that intrigued me was the interest from the surgeons on my post operation ability to fart. I’m sure a couple of them were sorry they brought it up when I whipped out the fart app on my cell phone and put a big one on them now and then. Careful what you ask for….

So now I am at home trying not to rush out to the flying field with my trailer and planes. The reality is that I feel way better than I have energy to back up. A walk to the other end of the house still slows me considerably so I can’t trust myself driving yet. I will limit my flying to FPV quads and the like.

My “pie in the sky” goal is to be giant scale capable in two or three weeks. Until then I must come up with a project that doesn’t involve heavy lifting but is capable of generating the content I need for the sites. As you might suspect, laying in a hospital bed does not generate project cash so it might take me a little while to get that or any of the upcoming projects underway.

Anyway, stay tuned. I am getting better, sometimes more slowly than I would like but I hope to be out to the field and in the shop sooner rather than later. Each morning I do a reality check that usually suggests that a slower pace would be smarter. But count on me pushing on, I don’t have time or the personal nature to take it too slow. I gots things to do!

Post Operation Note

While he was discharging me from the hospital my surgeon said that he had received the final report on the margins of the material he had removed during my operation, and the news is good. No cancer was found anywhere. Though there are no guarantees I am essentially cancer free right now. They will have to check in the future but for now I can focus on healing up, not on the next round of chemo, radiation or surgery. This kid dodges the big one again!

Also, there was some concern over my voice in my post-operation world. Because so many nerves are disrupted during this type of operation the voice can change. That could be particularly problematic for someone who is often recognized by the voice on my videos. It happened repeatedly at Joe Nall and even happened twice at our clubs opening fun fly of 2017. However, the news here is also good in that my voice appears to be intact and staying that way.

Have a comment on this story? Email Me!

Back to the Battle Plan List


All Fighting My Alzheimer's written, photographic and drawn materials are property of and copyright by Tom Hintz and LLC 2013-2016. Materials may not be used in any way without the written permission of the owner.
Privacy Statement