Thursday, February 28, 2008

Medical case study: Big Blue Ted

Thirty-five year-old patient (Big Blue Ted of the Vaughn-Salmon household) exhibited unusual flatness and lack of fullness.

Diagnosis: a complete stuffing transplant was necessary.

Dr. Gibson was assisted in surgery by Drs. S and Bear.

Bear is well-known for his excellent bedside manner. He held the hand of the patient while the stuffing I.V. was administered and the anaesthetic prepared.

Dr. S laid out the medical instruments.

Removal of the old stuffing was a delicate, time-consuming process.

It was also quite messy and not for the faint-of-heart.

Because a total transplant was necessary, the patient was left quite deflated at mid-surgery.

Preparing the replacement stuffing: 100% cotton. Whew!

The surgeon takes a call, mid-surgery. No, it wasn't about the yacht; it was about the website. (By the way, the surgeon was unable to locate a lab coat for this operation: thus, the chef's coat.)

Dr. S gives an injection in preparation of the second stage of surgery.

Disintegrated stuffing to be sent for post-surgery lab tests.

The patient's family planted a foreign object inside the patient. Whoops!

Suturing the incision.

Post-op medication: a crucial element of good surgical procedure.

No wonder Dr. Bear's patients like him so much! What a nice guy!

Ready for the ambulance ride home, with the patient properly bandaged and prepped for at-home care.

The patient at home again with his loving family. Best wishes for good health, Ted, and don't forget your follow-up visit!


  1. Anonymous1:22 AM

    Oh my goodness - that was the sweetest post ever!! I want you to be MY mom. ;)

  2. nichole2:42 AM

    I have to say I cherish your site, I read it daily. So what an opportune time to read your blog since i am facing my second kidney transplant. What a wonderful surprise to cheer me up. Your the best!
    PS give that bear an extra XO from me!

  3. Anonymous5:57 AM

    I LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing it with all of us...I still have my teddy bear, he's 43 now & in need of a transplant too but I just keep him on bedrest :)
    Smiles, DianeM
    P.S. - Best Wishes to you Nichole, the previous poster, with your upcoming kidney transplant

  4. Nichole, will you email me with your address? I'd like to send you something. Best wishes with your surgery! Cheers,

  5. amyksmith8:52 AM

    Ewwww. What on Earth has Ted been eating? Is that possibly what's inside good old Kitty who was born in the late 1960's? Maybe that's why she's gotten so grouchy. Mercy.

    We might need to summon Dr Bear STAT(!) to the Upper Westside. :)

  6. Anonymous8:58 AM

    I usually find operations to be a bit difficult to watch, since I'm so squeamish, but this one was much easier. And what a great outcome!

    My thoughts are with Nichole and her upcoming transplant.

  7. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Oh, I hope he's feeling better!

  8. LOL! My mom had to restuff my beloved hippopotamus when I was small and his beady innards started filling my sheets. He is to this day stuffed with pantyhose (and still beloved). Hope your surgery has an excellent outcome as well.

  9. what an adorable post. The best and sweetest approach to an operation ever :)

  10. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Ahahaha. What a great post. I have a similar patient who is (ahem) 37 years old. However, he has threadbare areas on his face (particularly his nose). Any recommendations on how to mend this beloved Ted?

    Best wishes to Nichole.

  11. Sweet... but I would encourage anybody with a similar patient not to discard the old stuffing. Rather put it out in the sun (between two layers of screen if it is likely to blow away or be stolen for bird nests) to air, then give it a boost by mixing in cotton fluff or (better yet) shredded cotton fabric and replace. I made the horrible mistake of doing a complete stuffing transplant on Mr. Mocky, a 40-something panda, and he has never felt right since. He doesn't squish right anymore. :o(

  12. NIM, I agree with your point. In this case the old foam had disintegrated beyond a reasonable point and was actually turning into a nasty powder. We used cotton as a replacement, but I think you need to weigh the merits of other possible fills when you do something like this. Look at wool, polyfill, etc. to determine which fits the needs best. That's one of the reasons we're doing a follow-up visit: I was to be sure Ted's fibers settle in properly and in a manner that is pleasing to his family...

  13. What a wonderful post! Here's to Ted and his speedy recovery.

  14. So sweet! I just loved this post and was nearly cruing at the end. Is that because I am preggo, or because it was so sweet?

  15. This will remain a favorite post for me. It is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing such a sweet story.

    My best to Nichole, take care.

  16. Glad to hear Big Blue Ted pulled through such radical surgery!!

  17. Sandi Henderson3:50 PM

    This is an adorable post! LOL Good Mama. :)


  18. too fun
    love love this post and all the photos

  19. This is soo cute..Where did Mr. Bear come from? I have had a thing for polar bears for a while now..

  20. Anonymous8:18 PM

    This is quite, quite excellent, and did Dr. S write that note? I am impressed by the whole procedure (including the sterile work area and the planned follow-up visits).

  21. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh, sis.
    Love, Sharri

  22. that was sooo gorgeous!!
    love the chefs jacket.
    love your blog!

  23. Ew. That bear laying there all open with stuffing exposed. I got a little squeamish. But I'm glad everything came out okay. Transplants are so scary!

  24. Oh so sweet! You made me laugh.

    Best wishes to Nichole (and Ted, of course). And give an extra big kiss to that sweet Dr. S for me.

  25. Laurel9:44 PM

    That was such a great post, Liesl! Very cute. :)

  26. Great post. Thank you so much for the time and thought you put into the procedure not only for us but for your daughter. You create such awesome memories for her.

  27. Liesl- what an adorable Mother you are! Bets wishes to you Nicole also!
    Jan "The Apron Lady" Lutz
    See you in Portland?

  28. That's a lovely post - it reminded me of when my mum helped me restuff one of her old toys.

  29. You added inspiration to my need to mend a certain little bunny at our house! I will have to blog about it, though yours was so much more creative!

  30. Anonymous4:55 PM

    Very cute. My mom used to have to do surgery on my stuffed animals when we first got our dog. He was attracted to their stomach and would rip them open. We'd find tufts of cotton all around the house. Safe to say, they all survived!

  31. I have just discovered your site, thank you for sharing your life with us. I'm really pleased the teddy survived the surgery and is now back with his family.

    Oh, and I love your valentine quilts.

  32. That is just SO incredibly sweet :)

    Also wanted to let you know that I am having a big giveaway on my blog, so if you have a moment, stop on by. :)

  33. This is just adorable. My sister-in-law had to perform a related operation a few weeks ago:

  34. Wow, what was that old stuffing made out of, recycled chunks of upholstery foam?

    Anyway, great post. Loved the photographic "surgery" play-by-play.

  35. Adorable and so funny! Oh my gosh!

  36. That is so sweet! I have a deer that my parents dug out of their basement for my baby this Christmas. It smells horrible. We have been putting him out in the sun on the lawn in hopes that sun and chlorophyll will kill the smell, but we think a transplant in the future.

  37. I restuffed my old Bears too... I always wonder how toxic that old foam stuffing can be to the little ones....

    Perhaps some malignant cells were removed in the surgery!