Monday Night Update on Jonathan (Update #2)

Hello friends, family and colleagues:

Thanks so much for all of the well wishes you have sent to Jon and I in the past few days. I wanted to write with a brief update to tell you how he’s been doing since his surgery Friday.

Jon spent the weekend in the post-op recovery room, because there wasn’t a bed for him in ICU. The care he received there was fantastic, nonetheless. To every last person, the nursing staff at Montreal General Hospital is simply incredible. Last night, Jon was able to be moved to ICU, where it’s a bit more peaceful. And this morning he was extubated (the tube that enabled him to breathe was removed). After his surgeon took a look at his vocal chords and throat, he determined that there was a lot of swelling, so much that he didn’t think Jon would be able to adequately breathe on his own without a tracheostomy, so they put one in. A tracheostomy is a breathing tube that is surgically implanted into your windpipe via your neck/throat. It looks a little bit like Jon has a “spout.” Sounds unpleasant, I know – and from the look on Jon’s face, it isn’t very comfortable for him right now. But he’s managing. He’s not speaking right now – the tube is very large, and in the next couple of days he should have a smaller one that makes it more possible for him to speak. We do know that he can speak, because he did one time, when his doctor showed him how with the trach.

The surgeon tells us that his tracheostomy will be temporary. It might be in for 4-6 weeks. Each week they will switch to smaller tubes, toward the goal of permanently removing the tube. Over this time, the remaining vocal nerve in his neck should have the time it needs to heal. Basically, all of this will happen in, and only in, its due time.

Muriel and I are spending lots of time with Jonathan—as much as we can—-reading him the newspaper and having light conversation and otherwise just being there – he doesn’t talk, but occasionally writes us and the nurses notes.

Jon cannot have any other company except us yet until he is moved out of the ICU into his own room. He’s eager for company, so when he’s able to receive visitors, I’ll get the word out. Even now, with pain meds and under various states of sedation, he’s the uber-social man we all know him to be.

All my best,


2 replies on “Monday Night Update on Jonathan (Update #2)”

  1. Well, as soon as he can have visitors please let us know. Maybe I can sneak in Pointy & Little Man as “Thera-Buns”.
    I also meant to tell you to ask the Dr’s about the possibility of facial/cranial lymphedema as a result of removing all those neck lymph nodes- possible? Not likely? I do know it can happen with head & neck cancers, so be sure they fill you in, tell you what to look for & point you to appropriate after care resources. If it does start its best to head it off & prevent it rather than let it get pronounced & try to backpedal.
    Despite the extent of it all, I’m glad they have finally found & dealt with the problem. There is a nice (what a lame description) article in the health section of the NYTimes online written by a man who has undergone extensive treatment for prostate surgery, and how he now evaluates his post-cancer life. Granted Jon is more thoughtful & self-reflective than most, but still, it’s a heartening read.
    Hang in there, lady!
    If you need laundry or a meal or whatever, let me know.

  2. hey, carrie. have been thinking about you and jon and muriel over the past few days. wish i could pop in for a visit, but thoughts will have to do for now.


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