Monday, August 29, 2005

Surgery Day (Day 1)

They tell you not to eat or drink anything from midnight the night before the surgery - for the anesthesia. I'm not anxious, I fall asleep at 11:30pm. I have to be at the hospital by 6:30am for an 8:30am surgery. My girlfriend goes with me. They put me in the second recovery room and have me change out of my clothes and into hospital garb - gown, pants, robe, socks, hair net. They ask me about allergies, take my weight, height, etc. At 8:30am they lead me off to my operating room. My anxiety level is way up, my blood pressure and heart rate are both up above my normal.
The anesthesiologists ask me the same questions about any allergies and then put an IV into my arm (I'm veiny, so IV's are always easy). They say that the knockout drug will come in through the IV and that the mask is for oxygen only. Dr. LaBruna finally shows up and shows me a before picture of my nose taken at his office during my last visit. I asked him about my post-op breathing (my biggest worry) and how long it would be before I would breath easily again.

"Weeks and months," was the last comment I heard before I woke up in the recovery room 3 hours later.

I was tired, weak, and nauseous with my nose packed solid with gauze and a drip pad taped across my upper lip and nose to catch the dripping blood. But the first 3 hours after waking from surgery, the worst was my dry mouth. They gave me a little bit of water and a sponge on a stick to wet my mouth. (My dad was in the hospital a lot in his last years, so I was familiar with the sponge. I took 3 extra for home). They gave me a small basin to vomit in if I needed because of the blood I swallowed (unavoidable). I didn't throw up, but doing so would have helped with the nausea, they said. I stayed in the recovery room until 2:30 when they moved me to recovery room number two. I drank some water (mainly via sponge). I was still nauseous from the anesthesia. By the way, I had zero pain, which I assumed was because my nose and upper lip was completely numb, like going to the dentist.

Advice for the 1st 3 hours after surgery: drink as much as you can - water, juice, ginger ale. Tough it out, there's nothing for you to do.

I went home at 5:30pm, which was later than "normal." Everyone responds differently to the anesthesia - I was more nauseous than some.

I've got no other way to describe my first evening following surgery other than torture. Once the anesthesia and numbness wore off, I started to concern myself with my dry mouth and my breathing, or lack thereof. I couldn't breath at all through my nose because of the packing. It was so bad, I was regretting getting the procedure done at all. I was exhausted but couldn't sleep. If you're a mouth-breather, then you'll have no problems. I'm a nose breather. My anxiety spiked. I didn't sleep more than five minutes at a time. I sat on the couch with some water and watched (sort of) TV all night long. I may have slept two hours the whole night total. All I could think about was my doctor's instructions that I take out the packing when I wake up in the morning... I fixated on "morning."


At 3:21 AM, Blogger m3xus said...

You made a very accurate description. The dry mouth killed me. It was like wind burn.

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I loathed the dry mouth as well, but what hurt most was my throat from the breathing tube being crammed down and yanked back out of it. Also I had a painful cough from all the blood drainage. Thanks to the hydrocodone and the fact that I had to be at the hospital at 5 am, I was able to go right back to sleep when I got home around 10 am. The best part was that I could breathe better than I had in a long time the minute I woke up from surgery because there was no packing involved at all, just a couple of stints. Best money I've ever spent!


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