So, what do you know, JAW surgery went ahead and happened!!! I am severely behind in my updating because I didn’t realize that blogging might not be my highest priority after going UNDER THE KNIFE. But here is an attempt to quickly chronicle JAWS and the few days afterward.
PREFACE THE FACTS:
I had to give myself two antibacterial sponge wipe baths the night before the surge and the morning of it to scrub off any excess partycrashing dirt that happened to be on my person. It was weird because it resulted in me becoming a slightly sticky pod person. I guess hospitals enjoy admitting you in an about-to-be-birthed fetus state.
Here is a quick as a lick (blatant lie) rundown of my time in the hospital. I got there on Wednesday at 5:55 a.m. to register, and they gave me a wristband so I was immediately part of the billable family. Seriously, they just scan you like you’re a grocery item in order to add meds and tests to your tally. Pretty sexy stuff.
Then they sent my mom and me to another waiting area, where a nurse promptly fetched me and assigned me to a pre-op area. I got to change into these trendy hawt matron-white legwarmers, some practical peuce sock slippers (with chic non-slip treading), and this huge purple gown with a Bair Paws logo. If you attached tubing through it, it continually pumps warm air into it so that you look like a happy, purple pillow person. I also had to sign some consent forms including one where the hospital is not liable for me falling on my face if I tried to get out of bed without asking for assistance. Charming!
The belle of the surgery ball in my purple gown with my plus one (Mother dearest)!
My mom was really all about documenting this life event.
Then they set up my IV, and the anesthesiologist came by to brief me on his role and how the whole dealio would go down. He was super friendly, and my mom was impressed by his happy-go-lucky nature. It is a hospital, for the love of pete’s sakes! Why hasn’t it broken his spirit yet?
My dad actually works at the hospital where I had my procedure so he changed into his scrubs and was just lingering around the edges watching to make sure everything was going smoothly. All his co-workers were ribbing his anxious pacing. As if it was a really hands-on version of Take Your Daughter to Work Day!
They told me after they put the first round of anesthesia in my system, that it would feel like I just had three martinis. Which was sad because instead of feeling pleasantly woozy, I just about immediately passed out (Lightweight Linda ovah heah!). But I do remember being wheeled into the OR, but then tuning out once the exciting part started. My dad watched some of the surgery though. Lucky duck. Who falls asleep with her mouth open at a party starring me?! I do.
Next thing I know, I’m awake and looking at my parents. And I’m like “OK! When is the show is going to start!?! I have hot seats right up near the front!” And they’re like, “Uhhh. You’re done.”
Here is me with a jaw wrap around my head. It is nice and cold, but I couldn’t feel the bottom of my face anyway. That’s what you get when you sever nerves, people!
“Nonsense,” I woozily contest. “I have barely arrived!” (This is all mumbled because my jaw is banded shut.)
Then these nice nurses come and take care of me in the post-op area, which I have to stay in until they can move me to a room in the ICU (intensive care unit, or insanely chichi unit…you’ll see why!)
I am quite a fan of my IV fluids, and my mom is really hitting it off with the nurses. She is a pretty great conversationalist when it comes to making the other people feel interesting and captivating.
But the best new development after I woke up was that I had a catheter in my nether regions! That’s right. No worries about getting up to pee, because I was getting drained from the inside. Apparently I peed a lot during the surgery. I KNOW. Talk about embarrassing yourself in front of the cool kids (I mean everyone with med school and dental school and nursing degrees.) They’ll never invite me back!
Here are some prelim writings I made in post-op since I couldn’t really talk.
The last line indeed says, “Morphine la la la.”
This is me with my surgeon in shining armor! He had five hours to do the procedure and he finished in 2.5! Overachiever! Well, actually he had another assistant surgeon helping him who was left-handed and he’s right-handed so they had me ambidextrously covered.
Post-op ward quickly led to pampering. Hellloooo nurses! Anything I wanted, anything at all was within my beck and call! The best thing about all the nurses was that each one was a new kind of nice. I didn’t realize there were so many different subtleties to being nice, but there are! I felt bad because I couldn’t really say “Thank you” properly with my jaws all banded together so I tried my best to have grateful eyes.
Nothing brightens the world like a fat-lipped smile!
No more pics, paparazzo! TMZ, take mercy.
Seeing my reflection for the first time, I am introspective.
My first attempt at water! Cheers! Much of it ended up on the towel!
I also got to wear these things that wrapped around my legs like blood pressure cuffs and every so often, they tightened around my gams to keep them non-crampy. Eventually, six hours later, a spot opened up for me in the ICU! I know! So exclusive, but the bouncers knew I was legit.
The ICU had a huge TV plus I was hooked up to a morphine drip which I could get any time I wanted just by pressing a yellow button. My parents decided I could spend the night in the hospital by myself because I’m a big girl. Plus I wasn’t very exciting just lying there, mumbling, gurgling, and getting my vitals checked constantly.
I remember having a hard time deciding what to watch on TV because I finished the book I brought with me but I finally settled on “Friends.” Say what you want about the show but it is easy to process when doped up, and I can appreciate that. The laugh track was a gentle emotional coach pointing out convenient moments for me to coo at the screen.
Then, in the middle of the night, I was moved to another, ramped-down ICU because they needed my other room for more important cases (i.e., not just gurgling chipmunks). I loved being wheeled around the hospital in my bed in the middle of the night because I felt like I was on an adventure!
The next room I was in was not as gussied up as the first one. It was a minimalist version of the first room. The TV was tiny, but I didn’t care. Still inherently watchable. Also I had an actual bathroom instead of a chamberpot (though my catheter was still in).
After several more hours the next day getting waited on jaw and foot, the surgeon visited me one more time the next day, and I was allowed to go home!
Here are some pictures from my second day after surgery plus a video so you can hear my voice (it sounds like I have an African accent sometimes. It’s intriguing.)
I call it The Nutty Professor shoot. You can decide for yourself why I am calling it that.
MAKE IT WORK!
Here is what a typical meal looks like for me. Yes, you’re right, it does look like Nickelodeon slime. Very astute.
Here is the sound and look of my new voice.
Tomorrow I will write about how my tongue is a prisoner in my own mouth and all the excitement and intrigue that results from that. You can’t even lick a stamp for yelping out loud!