Sunday update

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Holton on June 6, 2010

Hey everyone, just checking in to thank you all for the wonderful messages and phone calls and also to give you a quick update on how I’ve been doing since I got home from the hospital late Friday night. Because of the nature of the operation this time, there’s been significantly more pain — not horrible, unbearable pain, but just like a really bad headache. Last time most of the pain was limited to the area immediately around the surgical incision. This time, they took out more brain tissue so there’s a bit of an air pocket in there that is allowing for swelling that causes pain. Sometimes if I move around too quickly my brain feels like it’s clattering around there inside my head like an old eight-track tape in an empty glovebox.

But I’m on painkillers as needed as well as steroids to lessen the swelling, so it’s all very manageable. Besides staying on top of the pain, I’ve been getting tons of rest. That feels great just to lounge around with eyes closed and get the sense of myself healing. I’m being well fed and taken care of by my sisters Kathleen and Ellen. Kathleen and her husband Richie left this morning, and Ellen will be here until this Wednesday. After that, my brothers will be coming to town. So I should be in pretty good shape a week or so from now. The dogs are very happy to see me too, and haven’t missed a walk or a meal.

All in all, the docs are very happy with the results of the surgery. They cut everything out of there they were going in after, and they didn’t have to take as much of my right temporal lobe as they thought they might have. That means I’ll be stuck with a decent short-term memory capacity after all. I’ll go in for a follow-up visit sometime next week to get the sutures removed and probably to learn the results of the tissue analysis from what was removed. There’s an outside chance that the “area of concern” on my pre-surgical MRI could all have been a bunch of scar tissue and other so-called “treatment effects” from radiation and chemo — as opposed to new tumor cells. That would of course be the best possible outcome. But either way, I’m going to be in good shape and will continue to be able to manage this thing with follow-up chemo if need be.

There was some weird stuff about my hospital stay after surgery. First of all, nothing is more frustrating than having a broken wall clock in your recovery room. My whole time in ICU, I was unable to orient myself in time and had no idea how long my surgery had taken or how long I was in there. My surgery went from around 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, and I spent the night in ICU all jacked up on morphine. The clock was stuck on 4 p.m. (or a.m.?) the whole time. They moved me upstairs Thursday morning and started feeding me regular food in a regular room on the neurological floor. By Friday morning, my neurosurgeon had decided I was doing well enough that he could send me home once I got an MRI. But there’s the rub–I waited around in my room 8 hours before I could get in for the MRI — so it was very frustrating. And I also learned that the second hardest thing after an MRI to get on short notice in a hospital is a simple Tums tablet. Laying around on my back all day was starting to give me heartburn — but when I asked for a Tums they had to formally request one from the drug dispensary. It took six or seven hours to get it to me. Remind me to start a future, lucrative career as an illegal Tums trafficker in a hospital. I think I could make millions.

That’s about all the news I have to report for now. Not much, I know, but I just wanted mainly to acknowledged all the support I’ve received from folks on Facebook, by e-mail and in phone calls. I’m really a bit too tapped out to take calls — but the e-mail stuff I’ve been able to keep up with okay. You have no idea how much your love, good wishes and support have meant to me. They truly bring me the power I need to heal.

I am confident I will be back up and about and back to work in fairly short order. Thank you for all of your help in getting me there.

I’ll keep updating things here on this blog as much as I can.


15 Responses

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  1. Michael J. Murphy said, on June 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    A broken wall clock in ICU? Along everything else you’ve gone through, that’s like having Rod Sterling inject a bizarre twist from the Twilight Zone into the ordeal. I spent 28 hours in ICU in October at ORMC in October — because there wasn’t a spare room. Keep resting, keep healing.

    All good thoughts and prayers your way!


  2. claudine hellmuth said, on June 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    yay Sean! we are rooting for you. So glad you are home and safe. and I bet the dogs are super glad to have you there.

    I think with hospitals it’s harder to get out than in I remember a few years ago when Mom was in the hospital for observation it took so long (6 or 7 hours) to check her out, she tried to sneak down the hall and into the elevator, only to be caught by a nurse and sent back to her room!

  3. fish said, on June 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    great to here you finally escaped!!

    the hospital was where i first, wait, it was the only time i watched Jerry Springer… step-daughter was in a car accident and ended up in a room with three other people in Denver… one of them, in addition to watching Springer, also panhandled us every time we came or went, wanting money for the vending machine (tho i don’t think she was supposed to be eating)… at some point, Jen overheard her yelling at her boyfriend on the phone to get to the hospital and bring some pot… plus, the guy drawing her blood had way more tattoos than she did… it was good when she got out too!

    take care!

  4. Laurie said, on June 6, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Sean — Yes, hospitals work on their own time. Why else would they wake a peacefully sleeping patient at 3 a.m. to take their temperature and draw blood? I, too, enjoyed the restful time post-surgery. Sounds like you are taking care of yourself and have surrounded yourself with family who is doing what they can for you.

    Please let Mike and me know if you are up for visitors or phone calls. We also have a special turtle nightlight — Magic Turtle — that the Zoey said she is willing to share with you if you need it!

    Take care!
    Mike and Laurie

  5. Elaine said, on June 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Wish I were there to help keep you company and pass the time after your brothers leave. You’re in my thoughts daily.

  6. Molly BB said, on June 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Sean, it’s great hearing from you – take care and keep those positive thoughts! Love, Molly BB

  7. April said, on June 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Glad to hear you’re on the mend once again, Sean. And yes, you’re right about the Tums. I suggest never asking for a simple Tylenol. It becomes a question of drug use, availability and overall suspicion. Wish I could have been there; I’d have totally hooked you up!

  8. carolyn said, on June 6, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Hey Sean, it’s wonderful to hear it went so well. I am thinking about you. Hope to see you soon!

  9. Janice Blase said, on June 6, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Welcome back and welcome home, Lard! ♥

  10. Charlotte said, on June 7, 2010 at 10:17 am


    What a fine bit of news to receive this morning! Though I don’t know you it is good to hear about your latest challenge. You are blessed to have so many people who genuinely care about and love you. June will be a good month for you. It’s always been a favorite month of mine, as my son and I share birthdays this month.

    My son’s name is Paul Michael. He is driving back to MT today with his young wife Kristie. They retrieved their two horses in CO yesterday from the ranch that Kristie worked on as a vet tech for the last couple of years. Kristie gave Paul a new cowboy hat for his birthday and I could see him smiling as we talked via the wire late last night in Utah. They boarded the horses at a horse campground and finished the long day with a game of pool. They are building a large barn/house combination in the banana valley outside of Stevensville, near Missoula. His sister Malea and their father is drive there next week to help with the metal siding and other odd jobs. I plan to visit in late July for a week, yet hope to take them away from these long 10-12 hour days with a bit of R & R. I have never traveled in Montana and look forward to seeing the beauty they are experiencing.

    I just finished another glass installation in Omaha. People there were pleased, which is always good feedback. The new commission in Madison, WI in early 2011 will sing. Wish I could send you the image, as I think you would approve. It has a giant moving force of energy pushing upward, much like the healing energy within you now, as it gently and forcefully moves throughout your body. A good friend imagined St. Michael carrying a sword of light moving through her system. I don’t know if the sword is necessary, perhaps at times, yet the light is a key ingredient from my perspective.
    Light is a major element in AVITAR, which I watched for third time last night. Some can criticize movie, yet I was filled with a good feeling from so many directions. I imagine so many incredibly talented young film makers creating fantastic films in the future with the technology they developed during the making of the movie.

    Indiana is mighty fine presently. We had a cool front move in over the weekend that allowed sleeping on the porch with a down puff. Lightning bugs filled the back yard and trees surrounding my home. Beyond this little marvel was a sky filled with stars. It truly doesn’t get much better than this! The Harley’s were out in full force on the highways. I know I’m rambling here, yet how does one get to know one with out a bit of unstoppable diarrhea of words from time to time? You don’t need to post any of this. Simply know I appreciate staying in the circle of people that obviously love you very much.

  11. Bevie said, on June 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Good morning Sean…I just found this blog wihile visiting Claudine’s FB page, and have to tell ya I’m so proud to know about you. Your story touched my heart, and I want you to know I will keep you close in my heart and prayers knowing the Great Physician is in control. Many blessings!!!

  12. Ann Hellmuth said, on June 7, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Thanks for taking the effort to write and let us know how things went. I find in hospitals that the waiting around is the worst thing. When I was a kid they left me waiting in XRay for hours and I looked so pathetic that a woman came up and pressed some money into my hand. After that I couldn’t wait to make a return visit and get more cash. Bless you.


  13. Kathryn Quigley said, on June 7, 2010 at 11:22 am

    If you ever need surgery again, we will send you care packages of Tuns:)

  14. patebooks said, on June 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Happy you are home. Are you sure the clock was broken? I was in ICU on morphine and would sleep forever and look at the clock and maybe 30 seconds had gone by. Hospitals operate on bizarre schedules. It took me a day to get Gaviscon from pharmacy, and I had to requisition Gatorade from some secret location, so Mom finally brought me some. But that is all behind us. Onward! You’re doing great.

  15. mike Oliver said, on June 8, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Hey you know if they leave you there long enough that broken clock will eventually be right.

    Glad to hear your home and in good hands!

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