Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Holding Patterns

Friday morning dawned very early for the entire Killen family. Dave had to be at the hospital by 5:40 for his re-scheduled surgery. That meant that the Grandparents were on deck to bridge the gap and help the kids get up and ready for school. Again, we are so blessed to have the support circle we have on this journey. Things seemed to go off without a hitch.

Dave checked in at Christ Hospital and from the first moment was treated with great care. Things in pre-op were going swimmingly. That is until the lights flickered.


At first we didn’t think too much about it but then we started to hear the people in the hall talk about ‘back up generators’ and ‘hold ups.’ Dave had his IV started (was literally seconds away from receiving his initial sedative) when all this happened. All I could think was “Oh Nooooooooo! Not again!”

Apparently, there had been an auto accident on Vine street which took out a utility pole that inadvertently took out a power grid that supported not only Christ Hospital but also University and Childrens Hospitals. Because the hospital flipped to its back-up power source it did not want to start any new procedures. It also wanted to preserve all of its juice for the E.R. Understandable but…

Dave didn’t take his full strength pain med at home thinking he would be enjoying the goodies of an open hospital bar at sunrise…

…and I didn’t have any coffee because a.) it’s green dress cruel to make coffee when one of you has to fast and b.) I thought I could grab some once he was wheeled back at sunrise. No biggie.

So we waited. And waited. Dozed and waited. Watching the nurses deal with the holding patterns and listening to inter-hospital communications was fascinating to me. You realize how many systems regulate this big crazy blue marble we’re on and how random connection points link us all. Friday morning was our own odd version of the butterfly effect.

Of course, there’s always this ‘uh-oh’ feeling when you know your “project” is being compromised by a delay. What sort of rush tactics will go into effect to make up for lost time? Trust me, those aren’t good things to think about when you’re looking at your husband in a hospital bed. So we went back to daydreaming about our favorite places — using mind over matter to get through the wait.

It took Duke Energy two hours to get the hospital back on-line. Our lead nurse told us in her 30-years there she had never experienced anything like this. I double checked the date to make sure it was Friday the 12th. I didn’t want anymore “gee, this is weird” situations. We really needed to get this surgery under our belt so that we could *hopefully* get out of our own holding pattern of diagnosis.

Things began to flow pretty quickly after that, including anesthesia. Dave’s surgery took two hours during which I went to the cafeteria to finally get some coffee. Did you know it is possible to go to a hospital cafeteria and find not one but two multi-jazillion gallon coffee pots bone dry? I had to laugh. I mean, what else could I do? Except wait, along with the in-laws, for the machine to brew us up some joe. It was the best worst cup of coffee I’ve had in a while.

Despite the drama, surgery went well. The team was able to secure a sizable amount of tissue and because of how the tumor was situated, they didn’t need to manipulate the right lung as much as originally anticipated. As typical in these situations, a slice of the sample was frozen and observed by the staff pathologist in the O.R. while the rest of the sample was prepped and sent off for the full-fledged analysis/report. The docs weren’t able to tell us much about their initial read except for this … they couldn’t tell exactly what it was granting possibility that it may not even be one of the 67 flavors of lymphoma. I know, insane. We’re hoping that the report will be back within the week. And we’re keeping those hopes high that this could be something even better than what we first thought we had. Game show psychology at work — the second showcase is always better than the first.

As for Dave, he’s in a very comfortable room, doing well with his pain management. He has a drainage tube coming out of his chest and other lovely things but that’s all temporary. His nurses yesterday were incredible, securing him a personal stash of orange (his favorite) Jell-O. He’s in great care and we anticipate him coming home Sunday/Monday. We may need some extra hands in the next few days and I’ll be sure to let you know. Everyone has been so incredible and generous in their offers of help. Trust me, we’ll tap when we need. For now, just keep the patient in mind. He’s going to be sore from this one for a bit. ~Jacqui

November 13, 2010 - Posted by | Dave


  1. Wow Jacqui.I am so happy to read that everything went well with the surgery. I will def. keep Dave in my prayers. Please let me know if I can do anything to help.

    Comment by Shannan | November 13, 2010 | Reply

  2. I am glad he was able to get through the surgery albeit slowly… Wishing your family and Dave luck and prayers.

    Comment by MJ Schrader | November 14, 2010 | Reply

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