Thursday, December 20, 2007

11 hours ago

I got out of surgery. I whined about going, but I went anyway. While we were waiting for them to call me back, I told DH that if I had the car keys, I would've bolted, but I stayed put.

The pre-op was the most miserable I've ever had, as it took the anesthesiologist four tries to finally stick a vein that didn't collapse or blow out on him. The nurse took a look at my arms and wouldn't even attempt it. The doc hit a vein every time, but they kept failing -- even the one in my hand that is like Old Reliable. That was weird. Usually once the vein is stuck, it behaves itself. I've been off all my supplements for almost two weeks now -- perhaps my lack of EFAs has something to do with it. Anyway, each stick hurt very much, and the doc was apologetic, warning me with each stick: "A lot of pain here, sorry," as he shoved the thing into my arm. He finally got one in my right forearm -- if that one failed, he was going to try the veins in my feet. So far, I've managed to avoid that horror.

The surgery itself went well; I'm not packed, but I do have splints in my nose that will need to come out next week. I have been wearing "drip pads" since I came out; a small wad of gauze pads to catch the oozing (blood) from my nose. It's held on with strip that I suspect was cut from a surgical mask. The elastic isn't very tight but even so, I don't like having anything around my head and behind my ears for so many consecutive hours. The blood flow was pretty steady for the first few hours but tapered off this afternoon. I'm hoping it will stop altogether tomorrow.

I took a Vicodin when DH brought them home, but since then I've been just on extra-strength Tylenol. I don't like that spacy feeling that Vicodin gives me, and the pain is very manageable, so far.

As usual, some incidental insult is giving me more trouble than the surgery itself. The stroboscopy last week showed I have some enlargement of the cartilaginous structures at the top of my throat, which explains the lumpy feeling and my difficulty swallowing. (Apparently, this is the result of compensating for the nerve damage from my cancer surgeries.) They had a lot of trouble intubating me for the surgery, and my throat is killing me. In addition, my front teeth are sore and the tissue just behind them is very tender, like I ate pizza right out of the oven and the mozzarella stuck to the roof of my mouth. (I resent greatly feeling like I have pizza burn without the compensating pleasure of eating hot, fresh pizza.)

Mouth-breathing about two-thirds of the time isn't helping, either. I can breathe through my nose, it's just having the gauze there makes me think I shouldn't.

So far I don't have black eyes and external swelling is minimal if at all present, so that's cool. Of course I look weird because I have this bloody wad of gauze under my nose, but it could be a lot worse. The only real hassle is, I have instructions for nasal irrigation, with specific directions for how to clean the device, but I didn't get a device, and no one told me what device I need, or when to start the irrigation. I think it's a safe bet that I shouldn't irrigate until the bleeding stops, but still, it's annoying. DH made a bunch of calls today, including one to the doctor's office, but we still don't have any answers. How annoying! I have to call tomorrow to make my follow-up appointment to get the splints removed, so I hope to get answers to these questions then.

Mom took good care of me and fed me soup and tea, and made dinner for the family while I slept. She made brownies while I was in surgery, and the kids are enjoying them so much. Tomorrow they have just a half-day of school, and then it's winter break. They're as ready for a break as I am, and won't mind a few days of lounging around while I recover. I hope!

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