Day 2 and the view outside our room at the ICU with the sun still rising. I slipped out to take a shower at 6 am and just missed the resident doctors doing their rounds. It is probably a good thing, as they worked Tony over suctioning junk out of the trach tube. It was hard to return to the room and find him shaking.

Everything still looks really good with the free flap. The surgeon that put in the peg feeding tube came on rounds and cleared him to begin receiving nutrition which should help the healing process. The goal today is to get him out of bed and sitting up in a chair. If he is doing well, they may even have him go for a walk this evening.

The IV’s are in his right arm because they prepped his left arm in case they needed to take the flap from that location. Thankfully Tony is ambidextrous so he can write on a little white board when I can’t understand his gestures. I’m wishing we had played a few games of charades to get in some practice before surgery. I am clearly not very good at it. Ha ha

Colleen and Emily are our nurses today.

Yay! He is upright and sitting in a chair! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 I am being careful about the images I post of Tony because I don’t want anyone to find them disturbing. This one made me celebrate. So proud of him!

He did great. Sat in the chair for a long time, put on his readers and checked messages on his phone. 👊

Hmmm… wonder what he is trying to communicate here? 😂

Dr. Monroe just told us how pleased he is with the way the surgery went and the progress Tony has made post-surgery. He put a finger over the trach tube and had Tony utter his first sound, ‘Hello.’ After a couple more days of healing they will be able to put a valve on that will allow Tony to communicate better than snapping his fingers at me. 😏

Dr. Monroe prepared us for another couple of rough days ahead. The post-surgery swelling hasn’t peaked, so things are going to get a little worse before they get better.

Tomorrow’s goal will be walking🚶 to prevent pneumonia and blood clots and moving out of the ICU to the regular floor.

Other mIlestones of day two:

 IV that monitored blood pressure during surgery was removed.

 Started receiving nutrition slowly through the peg tube. (He told us his tummy was grumbling mid-morning. A good sign!)

 Urinary catheter came out and he was able to go on his own.

Dr. Bruchmann stopped in. He says Tony looks like a million bucks and is easily in the top 5% of patients for day one post surgery. He said the flap looks perfect. Dr. Bruchmann couldn’t hide how pleased he is. 🤗

Dr. Bruchmann performs a lot of these surgeries on older patients that have many other health issues (usually from poor lifestyle choices) so helping Tony has been a bit of a delight for him.

(Just an interesting side note because this medical condition is so unfamiliar to many of us… the front desk gal here at the ICU last night told me that they average about two mouth cancer cases a week.)

Woah! They weren’t going to push him to do this until tomorrow!

24 hours post surgery. Wow!