Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wisdom tooth operation diary

Be warned - this post is full of nasty medical descriptions that may put a few people off.  If you are sensitive to that sort of thing (Dad) then maybe just enjoy this video of Maru the cat instead:

For those of you interested in gore and photos of my blown-up face, read on.

OK, here's a blow-by-blow account.

Day 1

I don't have to go into the hospital until 11.30am so I'm quite edgy (the builders outside woke me at 6.30, otherwise I would have slept in a little more.)  I'm allowed to have breakfast of a slice of toast with Vegemite (no butter), black tea and a glass of orange juice at 7.30am, along with my medications (antibiotics and anti-inflammatories).  9.30am I'm allowed 1/4 cup of clear liquid - water, apple just, iced tea or (ew) flat lemonade.  I go with water.

I tidy the house.  What else is there to do?  I blog the Rochelle Adonis entry, fold the laundry, have some prayer, take a really long shower.  I end up spending a long time grooming and I hope that they don't read too much into it.  I make sure that I redraw the dot for where my IV drip has to go, and then put a seriously stylish hiking sock over that arm to keep my veins nice and puffy.  I'm already feeling pretty anxious about it all :(

11.15am Ant comes home and we go to the hospital.  I've chosen Mercy Hospital, a small private one five minutes drive from home.  Better make that health insurance pay for itself, right?  (Actually it is paying for quite a lot - all the hospital fees, most of the anaesthesia, a good wallop of the surgical fees.  I'm still going to be quite a bit out of pocket, though.)  I sign in at admissions, give Ant a somewhat lingering hug, and he leaves.

1.30pm.  I'm still in the waiting room because the lady occupying my bed is taking a long time to recover.  I'm damned hungry, and seriously parched :(  The admissions nurse takes me through to an office to double-check my paperwork and give me a pill.  She sends me back to the slightly nicer waiting room on the discharge side.  I have a recliner lounge now.  Wish I'd brought a book.

2.15pm.  Finally they take me through to my room.  By now I've watched the morning news hour, an episode of Ellen, and most of an episode of The View.  I don't understand the popularity of shows that are on during the day.

The nurse shows me to my bed and preps the one-size-fits-all hospital gown for me.  It does not fit all.  The neckline is wider than my shoulders.  I spend time origami-ing it behind me to avoid any awkward moments.  She comes back, gives me some more medicine (definitely a trap, looked like water but was the most bitter thing I've ever tasted) and puts some numbing cream over my drip site.  She leaves again.  I really, really wish I'd brought a book.  I resort to reading the hospital information guide.  Not even as interesting as hotel information guides, and that's really saying something.

I should take this opportunity to point out that everybody I dealt with at the hospital was exceedingly nice and concerned for my well-being.  I'm not upset that I had to wait around for ages - complications happen in this sort of work.

There's no clock visible but I think about half an hour goes by before they come and wheel me over to the theatre pre-op room.  There are three other people in the pre-op room with me and they're all seniors.  One man is having a hip replacement, a lady is having two knee reconstructions, and the lady next to me is asleep but I think is also having some sort of leg work.  I feel sort of guilty for being nervous about my comparatively minor work.

My anaethetist's assistant comes to see me and wheels me through into the operating theatre.  He's SUPER chatty and friendly, and calls me "darling" a lot.  Confirm he usually works with old ladies.  Hahahaha.  They wheel my bed next to the operating table and tell me to scoot over to it.  I am pretty sure that I accidentally flash my underpants at several people but they are all pro about it and pretend not to notice.  My surgeon walks by and assures me he will do an excellent job.  Of course he'd say that, but I choose to believe him.

The chatty assistant covers me with blankets and a seriously nifty hot air pad.  Apparently being under anaesthetic causes you to lose the ability to warm yourself.  Interesting!  He says that women having Caesarean sections get anaesthesia on the bottom half only, so their top halves shiver uncontrollably without being properly rugged up.  He then starts placing heart rate monitors on me, and without any warning peels my gown down to my waist to put some on my lower ribcage.  The medicine they gave me earlier must have been a sedative because I manage not to shout WHOA THERE COWBOY at him.  He places the monitors quickly and covers me up again.  Again the pro theatre staff act like they don't notice.  I guess they see this sort of thing a dozen times a day.

My anaethetist comes over and puts my drip in.  It hurts a bit, but I'm a regular blood donor and it's not too different to that.  Chatty man puts an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose and starts stroking my forehead.  I'm surprisingly pretty calm already, but it's nice to feel reassured.  The anaethetist fiddles with my arm for around 10 seconds more and then says "ok sleepytime now."  My arm feels ice cold.  That's the last thing I notice.

I come to in the recovery room.  I'm back on my bed.  Who moved me?  My eyesight is funny but I assume it's the oxygen mask, which has ridden up a bit.  I try to wiggle it down to where it was but they think that in my drug-addled state I'm trying to take it off entirely, and pull my hands off it.  A few minutes later they wheel my back to my room.

The surgeon comes by for another 20 seconds to say that it all went well, there was no damage to my nerves, and I'm going to recover just fine.  That's a nice thing to hear, because my various x-rays showed that the roots of my teeth were pushing the nerve canal up against my jawbone, and there was a pretty good chance that the nerves would get bruised and I'd have (potentially permanent) loss of sensation in parts of my face.  My surgeon, as it turns out, really is as good as he claims to be.

The nurse takes off my oxygen mask at this point, unties the ice pack around my jaw, and removes the packs in my mouth.  Two things are immediately apparently to me - my tongue is numb (like when you wake up after having your mouth open all night, and it's dried out?  However mine is not dry, it's local anaesthetic) and, more worryingly, my eyesight issue was not caused by the mask after all :(  Each eye works fine if I close the other one, but I have double vision with them both open.  I tell the nurse and she seems quite worried but tells me to wait half an hour and see how it goes.  She gives me a bucket to spit blood into while she's gone.  My mouth is so numb I don't even know that I"ll feel it pooling in there.  I hope fervently not to be drooling blood when she gets back.

She comes back later and nothing has changed.  She goes off to call the anaethetist.  He hedges his bets and says to call him first thing tomorrow if it's not better.  I compensate by only using one eye at a time.  It's exhausting, and more than a little bit scary.  The nurse tells me that she's off to have a quick dinner while I rest a bit more, and after that she'll walk me to the toilet, and if that's OK she'll call Anthony to take me home.

She comes back to carry my IV bag into the toilet for me.  My body feels fine, even sprightly, but I stumble a bit because of the eyesight thing.  I don't actually need to use the bathroom since I haven't had any liquid in 9 hours at this point, but she insists that I can't go home until I do.  I humour her.  I also try to have prayer about my eyesight while I'm in there but my tongue is so numb I can't talk.  The nurse takes me back to bed and pulls out my drip.  It squirts some of my blood on her shirt.  Normally I'd be horrified but apparently my judgment is impaired because I laugh at her instead :(  I feel pretty immediately awful because she's been so nice to me.  She doesn't seem too worried by the blood or the laughter.  She's even nice enough to say that she's impressed by how little my mouth is bleeding.  She lets me get dressed, and then I lie down again until Ant arrives.

He comes about 20 minutes later and has the good grace not to laugh at how enormous my face is, but he does point out that I'm already developing a nasty bruise on both sides of my face.  D'oh.  The nurse gives me a showbag with some syringes to wash my tooth sockets with, an instruction manual, and a jar with the teeth in it.  I wonder if the tooth fairy still makes house calls?  I could use some money to cover the operation :X  Ant signs a piece of paper to say that he is a responsible adult (dubious) and they let us go.  I tell him about my double vision, which is really starting to stress me out.  I feel like it's probably related to the local anaesthetic, but they've told me that will take at least 12 hours to wear off, and I can't wait that long.

We get home and I get into bed.  Ant fetches me an ice pack to wrap around my face.  He has some prayer for me and the double vision disappears instantly.  Phew.  Thank you God.  I'm feeling pretty good at this point, though I can't talk without serious discomfort, so I grab my computer and start emailing him instead.  I email my family and tell them that things are ok.  I choke down a tiny bit of food to take my medication with, and go to sleep.

Day 2

My face feels HUGE as soon as I wake up.  I stagger into the bathroom and sure enough it is.  Remember this photo from last week's skincare post?
Remind me never to complain about my jawline again, because here's how it is now:
Not clearly visible are the huge bruises on both sides of my face.  (You can sort of see the purple-y grey on my left cheek, but I assure you it is much more hideous in person.)  Ant makes me an iced coffee so I can have my medication.  The swelling is pretty painful so I take a panadol too, then put on my ice packs.  They make me look like I'm convalescing in a Jane Austen novel: 
Hahahaha so pathetic.

So anyway the local anaesthetic has well and truly worn off. Pros: the inside of my mouth feels pretty normal, and I can move my tongue and swallow ok.  Cons - my cheeks feel like I've been hit around the face with a baseball bat.  I think it's to do with the stitches as much as anything.  Take some Panadol and cross my fingers.  Quite amazingly I seem to have zero bleeding - no stains on my pillow or anything.  Coughing up a little bit of bloody mucus but I think it is from yesterday during the operation.

I email my boss the picture of my swollen cheeks to invite sympathy for all the sick leave I'm taking, and start composing this blog post.  I spend 20 minutes trying to decide if the word "convalescing" is what I'm after.

I make Ant buy me some Panadeine as the Panadol is really not cutting the pain in my cheeks at all.  Also my crappy freezer is not getting the ice packs particularly cold, unfortunately.

I play Pokemon White 2 for hours.  Picked Oshawott as my starter as I had Smugleaf in White.  I try to get a freebie Genesect but I can't remember our Wifi password.  Dohhhhh.

One interesting thing is that I have zero appetite whatsoever, and considering I am such a glutton normally, this is somewhat of an improvement.  I'm forcing myself to eat so that I can take medication.  Perhaps I really will lose weight out of this like I've been joking.

Day 3

My bruises are HUGE and purple.  Look like a domestic violence victim :(  Also I'm feeling really queasy today and am sick a number of times.  Can't be bothered blogging.  Feel like I'm going to pass out around midday and end up sleeping for hours despite the loud building work going on right outside the bedroom window.

I have been rinsing my mouth out every hour with salt water as prescribed by the surgeon and it seems like I might be getting an infection on one side.  I'm running a nasty fever and have this constant feeling of bile in my throat.  Ant reminds me that I said this was going to be a fun and relaxing week.  He's lucky that I feel so rotten or else I'd throw something at him.  I go to sleep early.

Day 4

Feeling MUCH better this morning.  Fever is gone and the swelling in my cheeks has decreased so much that I can actually open my mouth a little bit.  Sort of wish I hadn't, though - it's now apparent to me that the bruises on my cheeks are actually the less-awful back of the ones inside my mouth.  They're black.  It's revolting.

Ant makes me some very soft scrambled eggs for breakfast.  I highly recommend getting a husband who makes good scrambled eggs.  His eggs really are excellent.

I've lost three kilos since Monday.  I still feel like I'm retaining a litre of water in my face, so perhaps we can call it 1kg per tooth?

Decide to upload this entry now as the recovery process is likely to make for even more boring reading.  I'll edit it if anything noteworthy happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment