Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hospital: Surgery Day


I was not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight.  My surgery was scheduled for 12:30 pm but I was told to arrive at 10:30 am. We headed to the outpatient check-in where they took my co-pay and checked that my address and insurance information was correct.  I was then handed a buzzer thing like they have in the restaurants that lights up when your table is ready.  When it goes off, they were ready for me to come back to prep.  I have to do a urine test and then change into a hospital gown.  Then I was shown to a prep bay where I got to lay down in a bed and they started a long checklist of things.  A whiteboard next to me listed all of the people I needed to see before they could wheel me back.  They started me on an IV and gave me nice warm blankets.  They attached pressure cuffs to my legs to keep circulation and prevent blood clots.  Those were nice and felt like a leg massage. I was very nervous and my blood pressure and pulse were high but I could not be given anything to relax me until I had signed all my consent forms. The anesthesiologist and assistant came by and discussed that they were going to put the anesthesia directly into my lungs through a tube in my nose.  In the other side of my nose, I would have a tube going down to my stomach to suck out blood and gunk.  This tube would be staying in for a few hours post surgery until I stopped bleeding.  They didn’t want me throwing up.  They then gave me a super powerful Afrin to sniff in my nose to keep the swelling down. Then the surgeon and the assistant surgeon came by to confirm a final time what we were going to do.  The anesthesiologist came by with a shot of some kind of relaxing drug.  The world started getting kind of fuzzy.  I said it was making me feel weird and that I was going to close my eyes.  That was the last thing I remembered.

 

The next memory I have is that I could hear the nurses and my family talking.  It was about 5:30 pm, I was in my hospital room and everyone was commenting on the nice flowers my work had sent me.  My eyes were very heavy and I could only open for a few seconds at a time.  At some time, the nurse gave me a remote to control my pain meds and explained that I should click it when I needed.  I didn’t really want to click it because I was worried about nausea and dizziness and so I decided to wait until I had “3” pain. So I just went back to sleep.  At around 10 pm, I started getting braver and waking up a bit, so I could move a bit.  At this time, I still had the tube down my throat going to my stomach.  I kinda felt around in my mouth and could feel the tube with my tongue.  Best not to start gagging so I stopped exploring. I could tell I still have the splint wired to my top teeth and could feel some elastics, but not as many as I expected. I overheard a nurse saying that they’d take the tube on in an hour or so, so that was exciting. The best way to describe how I felt was mostly numb.  My cheeks felt as if someone had put masking tape on certain parts to both stretch it and make it difficult to flex.  My face was swollen all the way from the bottom of my eyelids down.  I could not squint. Inside my mouth, originally I thought the tube was making my throat feel tight and sore (like a typical sore throat) but in fact, the soft part of the roof of my mouth was swollen and sore and felt like a really bad cold with drainage.  I could not move my lips, they were so swollen, it was like they were attached to the front of my teeth.  Around 11 pm they took out the tube.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought, it was like a 1-2-3 and you feel something moving up through your nose, the worst part was a giant wad of snot/blood that came out with it.  Then they came with water, salt water, apple juice and cranberry juice with a syringe.  They had me rinse to get the blood out of my mouth (which wasn’t very much) and then I started using the syringe to drink.  It wasn’t too bad, but I could actually open my mouth a bit, which worried me because I thought I shouldn’t be able to.  I wondered why I hadn’t needed to go to the bathroom despite all the fluids.  Turns out they had a catheter in.  This was no big deal.  They took it out somewhere around 6 am.  It felt weird for like a second but nothing to fear, trust me.  Then I was going to the bathroom every hour because they had been giving me so many fluids. They walked me to the door the first time but then let me walk by myself after that. My lips were so swollen and dry that they spontaneously bleed and as I looked in the bathroom mirror, I saw blood coming out of my mouth and freaked out grabbing toilet paper to blot it up.  I thought it was something serious but the nurse reassured me it was just a dry cracked lip.  She was right. Once I was getting up and around, they stopped the leg massages (darn!).  At around 9:30 am, the surgeon stopped by to check in on me.  He had mixed news.  Good news is that the surgery went really well and he was really impressed with my recovery.  The nurses told him that I never touched the pain button. Bad news is that some of my brackets had broken during the surgery, one he needed to attach an elastic to in order to keep my mouth shut, and that was why I could open my mouth a bit.  He needed me to stop by his office (an hour from the hospital) and get a new one glued on so he could band me shut for healing.  I agreed but was very upset inside. I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to handle the car ride from the hospital to home and now I had to take this extra trip and be around people.  What if I started to not feel well.  I won’t have access to any drugs and I can’t just lie down.  And then of course my nose started to stuff up.  I asked the nurse if they could do anything and they said, no, and especially don’t blow your nose.  I thought it was strange that they couldn’t give me Sudafed or something.  They told me to use Afrin when I got home, but I wasn’t going straight home and that was even more frustrating.

Around 6 pm. I still have the tube in my nose.