Surgery Day

This is how I plan to document Ryan’s surgery from Nov. 29, his progress during the recovery stage and his eventual return to running with me. It will be in the format I use when I write nightly in my personal journal.

Nov. 29, 2016 11:06 p.m.

Thank goodness for the delay-brewing timer on the coffee maker.

The smell of that sweet nectar of caffeine, fortunately, woke me up at 5:15 a.m. this morning. I had set the timer to begin brewing at 4:45 a.m.

I quickly got up, changed into my jeans, and put on my Cincinnati Reds hat. I woke Wendy up and then went across the hall and got Ryan up. We needed to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. for his surgery to remove the subungual osteochondroma from his left great toe.

We arrived at the Community South Surgery Center right before 6 a.m. We checked in at the front desk and they had us take a seat in the waiting room.

A few minutes later a nurse arrived and walked us back to the room where Ryan would stay before and after the surgery.

She asked Ryan and us all the usual questions. Ryan told the nurse his name, date of birth and what he was having surgery on this morning.

The nurse then told Ryan to change into the gown that was folded on the bed and that Dr. Tentler and Dr. Miller would be both be in momentarily to go over any other questions or concerns any of us would have about the surgery.

Ryan wore his windsuit that we wear after races. What we didn’t expect was for him to have his jeans on underneath it. Wendy and I both looked a little puzzled that he would wear the jeans.

“Well, you didn’t tell me not to,” Ryan said as he grinned and shrugged his shoulders.

“He does have a point there,” Wendy replied.

It was after I had tied the back of the gown, we noticed a change in Ryan. He became nervous. His body shook and he held on to his stuffed animal dolphin named Sarah for dear life. He held on to Wendy. He kept asking about the blood being drawn.



Ryan holding Wendy’s hand as he waits for his surgery. See that IV bag of lactated ringers behind him? Guarantee Dr. Brackett ordered it.


Another nurse came in to take his vitals, I really thought maybe that would be a good time to break the ice and ask the nurse if Dr. Brackett or Dr. Early ordered the IV of lactated ringers that were on a hook behind the bed.

Wendy could see me getting ready to say it. She immediately shot that glare a wife makes at a husband when they are getting ready to make a complete fool of themselves. As a good husband, I held back. Sleeping on the couch for the next month did not sound like a good idea.

Dr. Tentler came into the room. He talked to us again about the procedure. Tentler took a sharpie and marked on the top of Ryan’s left foot. Then he made a small arching line in front of the big toe.

“That’s where I am going to make the incision,” he told us. “It will be like a small fish mouth.”

“Just like in the video I watched,” I replied.

“It’s amazing what you can find on YouTube these days,” he said with a grin.

With the way everything was progressing for the day, Dr. Tentler said they would probably take Ryan in even before 7 a.m.

Tentler was quickly followed by Dr. Miller, the anesthesiologist. Much like the nurse, Miller asked almost the same questions. He then told us what kind of anesthesia Ryan would be placed during the surgery.

“He won’t be completely under,” Miller said. “The block they are going to use on the foot will do most of it.”

After the doctor left, Wendy said a prayer for Ryan and the medical team. Ryan seemed to be a lot calmer at ease as we broke our huddle.

About five minutes later the nurse returned to take Ryan to the operating theater.

“Be brave,” Wendy said.

“Be strong,” I said.

Wendy and I went to the waiting room around 6:50.

It seemed like I hadn’t even begun my game of Tetris on my phone when the nurse came out to the waiting room and called for us. She escorted us into a consultation room to wait for Dr. Tentler.

It was 7:30 a.m.

Dr. Tentler smiled as he came into the room.

“Everything went great,” he said. “We did though end up not making the incision as previously planned. I went to the side of the toe instead.”

He explained he was able to get a better look at the bone spur and also cut out some excess cartilage, which had developed just below it. He also took off some excess skin. He also said the way he stitched the incision up was as if Ryan had plastic surgery. Once the wound completely heals one shouldn’t even be able to tell he had the surgery.

The subungual osteochondroma had actually started to break through the nail bed, which was another reason Tentler went the other way with the cut during the procedure.

Wendy asked Dr. Tentler how Ryan handled it notably when they put the IV in him.

“He did a lot better than even I expected,” Tentler replied. “He didn’t even realize what they were doing. One of the nurses kept him occupied asking about his running and what he wanted for his birthday and Christmas.”

There might be a downside to making the different opening and also taking out the piece of cartilage. Ryan might be in the post-operative shoe a little bit longer than originally anticipated. Instead of the usual two weeks, he might be in it for three.

Ryan will have the dressing changed next Tuesday and then we will have a better idea of how much longer he’ll be in the shoe.

Dr. Tentler also discussed getting Ryan even more properly fitted for shoes and orthotics when he makes his return to running, which hopefully will be sometime around the middle of January or first of February.

We went back to Ryan’s room. He lay on the bed looking like he had somewhat woke up from a nap. His foot was heavily wrapped. The nurse brought in the shoe and immediately showed us how to put it in on his foot.



Ryan watching Curious George after his surgery to remove a subungual osteochondroma.


As Ryan watched Curious George on the TV, the nurse gave us more instructions about the bandage and the shoe.



A closer look at the bandage and shoe on Ryan’s left foot.


About 20 minutes later, she came in to release Ryan.

We got him out of the gown and he put on his IronMan T-shirt and this time the wind pants without the jeans and the jacket. We got his other sock and shoe on. Then we remembered Dr. Tentler wanted an X-ray of the foot before we were released.

It took about 10 more minutes before a technician came in and took three photos of the foot. Then we were allowed to leave.

We stopped at the pharmacy and got the updated prescriptions. We also rented “Finding Dory” and “Independence Day: Resurgence” at the RedBox.

Got Ryan home and made him comfortable on the couch – where he basically will be for the next two days.



Ryans’ glad to be home.


I went upstairs and got ready for work.

Once I got to work, my manager asked how the surgery went and then said, “You make sure you break away and at least call twice to check on the patient.” Which I gladly did.

I got home around 6:15 p.m. The family was already watching “Finding Dory” and had pizza for dinner.

I gave Ryan a couple of gifts I found at the pharmacy. See, when we run we play a serious game of “Slug Bug” and he is always pointing out when we see Mustangs. I couldn’t resist when I saw the miniature diecast VW Bug and Mustangs last night to give him.

He gave a thumbs up and rubbed his hands together like he does when he gets excited. Then he looked at me and said, “yeah!”

Once we finished watching “Independence Day,” he asked for a blanket and instantly went to sleep. Thus, giving me the chance to come into my “Mind Palace” and write in my blog to recap “Surgery Day.”


2 thoughts on “Surgery Day

  1. So, glad to hear Ryan will be on the roads with dad soon.
    Take care. God speed

    Liked by 1 person

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