Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Steve Ewen, unplugged: Cancer rehab takes step forward with machines, tubes going goodbye

I've gone acoustic.
Our jolly good surgeon Dr. Robert Lee took off the external vacuum and drain this morning, meaning that I no longer have to drag wound drainage machines around with me when I go anywhere. I had always felt like a bit of a monster with chords hanging out of my upper back.
(My pick for greatest unplugged CD has to go to Eric Clapton's 1992 guitar-ladened release. Iain MacIntyre, he of Vancouver Sun fame, was by this morning and was talking up entries by Nirvana and Neil Young, but I'm not picking up what he's putting down.)
This puts me one giant step forward to moving from VGH to GF Strong, the Vancouver rehab centre.
Carol-Ann, my adorable wife, can't stay with me at GF, so that should inspire me to get through there quickly and get back to our New Westminster home.
We have been moving forward the past week, for what it's worth. Last Wednesday was the first time I walked merely with a walker. I had been needing a sling, to support my buckling knees. These days, I'm walking in the halls, with a walker, twice a day, not to mention doing some rehab in the gym. I feel much stronger and confident. The doctors and other medical staff have said all along that they thought my walking problems were tied to dwindling strength and self doubt.
Things have gone so well, in fact, that one of the nurses came by our room last night, saying how my walking was a major topic at the nurses station that night and how happy they all were with the progress. Either they are pulling for us after everything that's happened (20 radiation sessions at B.C. Cancer after a Solitary Plasmacytoma diagnosis, a surgery to put two titanium poles and 15 screws into my back after my T-2 vertebrae blew up, four more surgeries over the next month after getting hit with three different infections) or they're tired of us and want us out of here. We're taking the positive spin, for what it's worth, and using it for inspiration.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: I did have to look up when Clapton's CD came out. I also had to look up what paper Iain MacIntyre worked for. Keep that between us, though.)
I'm not sure how much longer I'll be here at VGH. Dr. Lee said that he  wants to see me on Monday, but  I could be off to GF soon after that.
I hope they're ready.


  1. Well done Steve! Keep it up and you'll be back on the ball field showing Dixon how it is done for spring!

  2. Steve:
    Had a dream last week that you, I, and a reporter (who shall remain nameless)were in a tango dance contest together - we didn't win, (a UFO landed in the field and everyone got a bit distracted) but you were pretty darn good (I, not so much). I take it as a sign .... (but I have no idea about the UFO ). Coop and I will see you in GF!