After hanging out at the hospital for 5 days, doing pretty much nothing, I am more than ready to go home. The only obstacle to leaving today is getting some supplies and equipment delivered to the house…something not likely to happen on a Sunday. So, probably one more day.
I'm already also really tired of dealing with the tracheostomy. About every hour or so enough mucus builds up that I need to use vacuum to suction it clear. Otherwise, I just cough forever. It is a little better this morning, though. The doctors replaced the original insert, which had been sutured in, with the insert I'll have when I go home, which is just held in with a tie. Already it seems that my need to suction it clear is reduced.
The doctors also strongly dampened most expectations of ever having a restored natural airway. While they aren't ruling it out completely, they really think most likely that the cartilage in my larynx won't reform enough to maintain the structure of my airway…meaning that the stoma will be permanent and I'll most likely also face complete larynx removal.
Still processing all of this. I really have a hard time believing that there is no way to surgically restore the cartilage, but the doctors are pretty adamant that it either has to regrow on its own or nothing. So that will mean permanent changes in:
- Showering: I have to keep water out of my neck hole when showering…of course that means no total immersion, too, so no swimming.
- Travel: I'll have to make a travel kit to ensure I have everything I need to care for the stoma on the road.
- Exercise/recreation: There will be some limitations on strenuous physical activity.
- Eating and drinking: The way I swallow will change since there will be no connection between the trachea and the esophagus.
I'm sure that there will be other factors that I just don't know about, yet, too. Of course, there is an upside: A secure airway. Wouldn't make much sense, otherwise.