Today was the surgery to have my archbars, wires and bands removed. I was so excited, I painted on Party Toes (Muppet-inspired OPI Collection, called “Rainbow Connection”).
My surgery time was 10 am, so we were to report to the hospital by 8:30. We had decided to go straight in after dropping the kids off at day care. About 5 minutes away from the hospital, I received a call from day surgery asking if I could “come right in.” It sounded like my surgery might get moved up, which was great. My goal was to get out of the hospital as early as possible so that I could come home and nap in my own bed with clean sheets before the kids came home.
In the end, there was no need for me to rush in. Apparently, they had me in preop early just in case Dr. T was available early for the surgery. He wasn’t. It wasn’t the end of the world, because I came well prepared with my smart phone and Nook (determined to finish The Help today).
We did the normal intake procedures while waiting for Dr. T (LOVE those heated blankets; hate the fact that there’s always a gap in the curtain when you are changing into the johnny). The anesthesiologist resident came by to discuss the options. Last time, I got the full package of painkillers, “twilight” anesthesia for the intubation, and general for setting my jaws and wires. Today, I was told I’d likely get just the “twilight” anesthesia. Not as romantic as it sounds. She then did the quickest and most painless IV I’ve ever had, but P and I were blinded by the amount of bling she was wearing – drop earrings and an ice skating rink on her ring finger. At first, I assumed the earrings were fake; after seeing the ring, now I’m not so sure! In any case, I’ve never seen blingy earrings like that in a hospital. Bravo.
Fun fact: you know when you are asked how often you drink and you answer “socially?” Well now they drill down on specifics. Just know that if you admit to drinking at least four drinks a week (that’s a week, not a day), you will be considered a “heavy” drinker for medical purposes. Please take note. Funnily enough, they describe “twilight” anethesia as being like a “night of hard drinking, with blackouts”. Which you really wouldn’t understand unless you really were a heavy drinker.
The anesthesiologists work in a team, so I had the attending in addition to the resident. He (and everyone else) kept asking me if Dr. T had been by yet. I said that he hadn’t, but that his colleague (or lackey) came by to talk and sign some papers. Based on my description of the doctor’s long nose, and affirming that he had a “long neck,” the attending deduced with a verbal eyeroll that I had met one of the “celebrity” doctors. It turns out that this lackey was actually featured in a short-lived reality ABC TV show called Boston Med. According to IMDB.com, he appeared as himself.
Dr. T finally came (at 10:02), and I was wheeled into the OR. I was suspicious and nervous that I had not received any sort of pre-sedation. Since I don’t remember ever having been in an OR, I can say now that it’s a scary place. It’s all white, and there are these huge, alien-looking, police-interrogation lamps above you. Oh, and did you know that they strap your legs to the table??? A quick-thinking and genius nurse who remembered my claustrophobia/fear of restraint offered to uncover my feet. I love nurses, and this one actually remembered me from the original surgery! As she said, they don’t get many jaw fractures from running, and I was memorable because of the three kids. I don’t know why uncovering my feet worked, but it actually took away the panicky feeling.
Last time getting my twilight sedation felt like me getting woozy and feeling drunk. Today, the medication burned in my IV. The attending anesthesiologist described this sensation as “spicy” and warned me that it was about to get a lot spicier. And it did! The attending immediately started rubbing the IV site, which felt a little like it was getting worse, but perhaps he was trying to facilitate the meds coming through.
In any case, the last words I remember hearing were from Dr. T to the attending anesthesiologist regarding if I needed to be intubated. Although the attending agreed that I could open my mouth wide enough to be intubated orally, I clearly heard Dr. T say that was good because I have a “severely deviated septum.” Inner beauty, huh??
The next thing I remembered was being wheeled into recovery and everyone telling me that I did great. Apparently, it’s an accomplishment to lay still and sleep while under heavy sedation? My mouth felt a LOT lighter. I was anxious to leave and since I didn’t have general anesthesia, I was free to leave pretty quickly. I made sure to act peppy, talkative and not too woozy in front of the nurses, and I was able to take my child-free nap.
I’m so happy to have this part behind me, but there’s still a lot of work ahead. My teeth and gums are in pretty bad shape, so Gental Dental, here I come. I also have to see a physical therapist to work on chewing, and I hope she’ll be able to get my smile back to normal. I don’t mean this to sound offensive or disrespectful, but my smile makes me look I had a stroke – my right side, the side I broke – is oddly droopy. And of course, there’s the big return to work on Monday.
Thank you all for your continued reading and for sending positive messages my way!