8.23.22: I guess this is happening… Just got the call from admissions that they will be ready at 4 PM, an hour from now.
Some planning ahead… my goal, if things go well, is to get home by Labor day, and back to work by October. I’ve never had major surgery so I might be foolish to have this goal, but heck — us psychiatrists only have to sit, listen, and talk! Oh, and write prescriptions I guess.
My daughter’s flight was on time out of O’Hare so I hope to see her tonight… and my other daughter comes this weekend. My son visited me in FDL the weekend before I left, and drove us down to O’Hare. My brother and his wife are living at our house and caring for our dogs, our cat, and their dog…. my sister-in-law sent pictures of our dogs, and they look so sad! The next day I came across an article about a study that showed that dogs’ eyes tear up when they are reunited with their humans, after a period of separation. I need to get back home!
Thank you all for your wonderful emails. I am the luckiest doc in the world, to have so much support.
8.24.22 – 6:45 PM (CST): There is great news from Dr. Junig’s wife, Nancy, in California. Dr. Junig’s surgery was completed today as scheduled. The surgeon reports he was able to remove all of the blood clots from within his lungs as well as repair a heart defect. He is headed to the intensive care unit (ICU) where he will remain for at least a few days as is typical for this type of surgery and was planned. Nancy and the children that are with her will be able to see him later this evening after he is settled in ICU. He will be kept unconscious until at least Thursday or possibly Friday in order to help him recover in a more controlled manner. This again is standard and was planned. They are all of course thrilled as will Dr. Junig be when he wakes up and hears the great news. We will continue to provide updates here as Nancy has them or until Dr. Junig is doing well enough to log back in and do it himself – and knowing Dr. Junig as we all do, that will likely happen sooner rather than later. The Junig family wants to thank you for all of your support. Keep watching for further updates.
8.25.22: More great news from the west coast! Imagine the shock and surprise when the update text appeared to come directly from Dr. Junig himself! “Sneaking a call in the ICU,” he texted. Although he was cautioned he might be kept unconscious for a few days following surgery, he was already doing well enough within the first 24-hours on Thursday morning to stop the sedation, wake him up, and remove his breathing tube. He’s been able to get out of bed, sit up in a chair, talk with family and staff members, and evidently sneak a few texts on his phone. His surgeon told him that everything went “perfect.” He will still spend Thursday night in the ICU. The next step will be to come out of ICU and eventually be stepped down to a regular care room as he continues to progress in his recovery and in his hopes of being released back home by Labor Day where his dogs and cat are anxiously awaiting his return!
8.26.22: Sitting up and continuing to recover, here’s a photo of Dr. Junig on Friday as he rests a bit following a walk around the hospital ward. He says that his breathing is still a little difficult, but now it’s due more to the pain post surgery. His heart, which had been working overtime by beating over 100 times a minute, is now ticking back at a normal rate again. All good signs and even a thumbs up!
8.28.22: The recovery for Dr. Junig continues. He has been transferred out of ICU to the coronary care unit or CCU. They continue to get him up and have him walk around and are slowly trying to remove the mechanical support and medications as he works towards getting released. His chest tubes were removed today. Because the surgeon had to get inside both of his lungs to do the surgery, chest tubes were placed in order to help the lungs reinfate and stay inflated after surgery. Chest tubes can be extremely painful going in and very painful coming out. According to Dr. Junig, “If felt like a lizard running through the center of my chest as the chest tubes were taken out.” We’ll all have to ask him to tell us about the first time that he had a lizard running around his chest to know what it first felt like and how did the lizard even get in there? Yes, just a little humor there. However, he is very happy to now have the tubes out. Hopefully they got the lizard out as well.
He was hoping to be released back home by the Labor Day weekend but as of today he thinks he may be in California for at least another week yet. Of course, anyone who’s ever been in the hospital knows it can be rather unpredictable when your release date actually will arrive. It can be even more difficult to know after a major surgery.
On the positive side there have been no major complications following his surgery and only a few minor and somewhat expected ones. He says he feels like he’s slowly getting better but it “still hurts like heck.” Everything is still looking good so it’s just going to take some time to feel better. This page will continue to be updated as that journey continues and before too long Dr. Junig should be able to start updating it on his own and catching up on your emails to him. Until then we’ll continue the updates from the text messages he’s able to provide.
11.29.22 : Dr. Junig is back and writing his own updates again. Click over to the new “RETURNING” page to see the latest.