Thursday, Mom and I drove to my sister’s house. We then met up with my sister’s husband at a crappy restaurant that gave crappy service. And the meal made me feel crappy.
We woke up at 5:30am on Friday and left a little before 6:30am. The arrival time was at 9:00am but my sister said the traffic would be bad enough that we’d need to leave early. Plus, we weren’t exactly sure where the hospital was.
Turns out, it wasn’t that hard to get there, thanks to the map the nurse gave us during our last visit as well as the GPS mounted to my Mom’s windshield. Traffic also wasn’t as bad as my sister had anticipated. We ended up arriving at the hospital at 7:30am.
Mom and I were taken into a room where a tall black lady in brightly colored clothing took my insurance card and co-payment. Then, we were sent to surgery check-in, where we waited over two hours. I read and people watched and chatted with Shannon and my mom until they finally called me back to get prepped for surgery. This was around 10:30am.
I was led into a long hallway separated into rooms closed off by sliding curtains. A bed stood off to the right side next to a large computer. Past the bed was a bathroom and a hand washing station. A sat on the bed as a slew of people came in and took my blood pressure, explained the steps of my surgery, and asked me a ton of questions. Then, I was given my purple hospital gown, footies, and a hairnet to wear. I went into the bathroom and changed, making sure I tied up that gown as best I could so I wouldn’t catch a cold front across my crack. It was cold in there.
If you’ll recall, the last time I went to the hospital to go through more pre-op paperwork, I was placed in a room with a left-handed gentleman who attempted to put my information into the computer. I noticed he had trouble highlighting and deleting the text on screen. I half-joked that he’d accidentally put in that I had some sort of disease. Well, one of the nurses was going through my information on the large computer next to the bed when I noticed her raise her eyebrow.
“Mr. Jackson, do you have a pacemaker?” she asked.
“Ha, well it says right here you do.”
It must have been the dude with the poor hand-mouse coordination. I was kind of kidding about him putting something crazy in like that but turns out, he actually did! And as much as it seems exhausting having fifteen different people asking you the same fifty questions, I suppose that’s why they do. Always cross-checking each other. That’s a good thing.
When that was done, I was instructed to lay back on the bed and rest until it was time for surgery. Mom came in and waited with me. We watched “Axe Men” on The History Channel until about 11:30, when a resident physician came in and marked my throat. Then the nurse came in and asked me questions. Then one anesthesiologist came in and asked me questions. There was supposed to be another anesthesiologist to come in and talk to me but he must have missed me so they had to wait around until he came in and asked me the same questions the others asked me. By this time, it was 12:00pm.
|I asked them to remove some of the fat from my chin while they already had me cut open but they refused.|
After the final anesthesiologist came in, the first one said, “Okay, Mr. Jackson, I’m going to give you a little something to get this party started right.” And that’s when they wheeled me out of the room. I remember…well, nothing after that.
Except…I remember being in what I assume is the operating room, based on the blue circular lights above me. I remember feeling kind of nauseous and vaguely recall someone asking me about it. Unless I dreamed it, I think they even said I had broken out in a cold sweat. I think someone wiped my forehead and then that was all.
The next thing I remember is a nurse asking me what my pain level was. I said it was about a 3 or 4 and then I woke up in another room. It was 3:30pm. Two nurses opened the curtain to my room and a short lady asked me if I wanted anything to drink. I requested some apple juice and saltine crackers. The juice was amazing, cold and wet and thirst quenching. She told me not to drink it too fast, though, or it would make me sick. I tried not to but I could have downed the whole thing in one swallow.
The cracker didn’t go down so well.
My mom and sister came in and said my incision didn’t look bad at all. “It looks like someone scratched you,” my sister. said. Well, that was good. I imagined having a slight red mark across my throat.
For two hours, I lay in the bed with severe nausea. The nurse was really nice and gentle with me and even in my anesthetic stupor, I was very Christian and polite, thanking her for her help and when she asked me if I wanted something, I replied with, “Well, if you don’t mind.” I’m so sweet.
I began to sweat profusely and didn’t even realize they had a hose blowing hot air into my gown. The nurse asked me if I wanted to change into a lighter gown and I said yes and so she did a switcheroo while still keeping all the vital parts covered. I instantly felt cooler but still sick. She put a cold wet washcloth over my forehead and also took the hose that was blowing the hot hair into my gown and switched it to blow cool air and handed it to me.
The nurse propped the bed up and it felt like my insides were going to come shooting out of me. After a few minutes, I wanted the bed to be lowered but I realized the point was to try to get me to sit up so I didn’t say anything.
You know that feeling you have right before you vomit? The feeling of the contents of your stomach rushing forward, ready to propel out of your face? That’s what I felt like for about an hour. I didn’t want to puke and wasn’t looking forward to doing it, but at the same time, I simply couldn’t do it, either. I guess that was a part of my body that hadn’t woken up yet. I overhead the nurse telling my mom and sister it was probably best if I did throw up because it would make me feel better.
The nurse propped my bed up even further so that was at about a 90 degree angle. “Ugh, here it comes,” I said, prepping for projectile puke. The nurse grabbed a small plastic bucket and handed it to me. Nothing came out. I sat with my eyes closed, hunched over, touching my lips to the bucket, clutching the hose for about thirty minutes. I was in rough shape.
Then my sister started talking about the hospital food. They hadn’t eaten in several hours and went to get something from the cafeteria while I was having surgery and Shannon was saying how everything looked gross.
“You should have seen those gross-looking hot dogs,” she said. “They looked plastic. I think they were made from chicken butt holes.”
“Oh, good God,” I said, ready to fill up the plastic bucket.
“Shannon!” Mom said, eying my sister conspiratorially.
“What? He needs to puke.” Normally, that kind of talk wouldn’t tickle my gag reflex but at that moment, anything could have set me off. Except, I just couldn’t throw up. But I did have to pee.
The nurse requested some anti-nausea medication, Phenergan, to be put into my IV. About that time, I told her I needed to use the bathroom so she grabbed my arm and helped me up just as another nurse came in with the Phenergan. The nurse held one of my arms while I held my gown closed with my other arm. I’m pretty sure I flashed the other nurse.
I peed relatively easy. When I had my septoplasty, I remember the urine just dripped out but this time my stream was pretty strong. And strangely enough, standing up made me feel much better. I didn’t have the urge to heave or anything. I mean, I wasn’t feeling great but definitely better than the dizzy mess I was five minutes earlier.
I tried to find the ties to the gown to close myself up and I guess I took a while because the nurse called through the door, “You okay, hon?”
“Oh, yes ma’am, just making sure I am all the way done.”
Eventually, I closed my gown and made it back to the bed. I grabbed my plastic bucket, just in case, and the hose blowing the cool air out and they got me hooked up to the Phenergan, which was excellent stuff. It made me sleepy, though, and I lost consciousness again.
About that time, yet another hospital staff member wheeled me to a different section in a different room closed off by a curtain. From there, I had a refreshing bit of sleep and then I was ready to leave. I got up, changed into my pajamas, and was wheeled to my mom’s car.
Fortunately, the drive back to my sister’s house was smooth enough. I went to the bathroom and peed again and then looked at myself in the mirror. The incision didn’t look like a scratch to me! It was long and red and blue and raised, the skin puffed up like a pair of Angelina Jolie’s lips on my throat. I groaned but was tired so I collapsed onto the bed, where I slept for another couple of hours.
I woke up later that night. My throat was hurting pretty bad. I realized I wasn’t able to open my mouth very wide, move my head, or swallow too hard without it hurting. I managed to have some mashed potatoes and a roll. The roll hurt like a mofo to eat and even the mashed potatoes were bit thick to swallow but the warmth felt good. Then, I went back to sleep.
Woke up this morning and tried to have some French toast. That was also hard to swallow but the coffee felt soothing. By that time, most of my post-anesthesia grogginess had worn away. Once again, with the septoplasty, it felt like I was in bed for days afterward, yet the nausea wasn’t as bad. Maybe they gave me something different this time around, which produced different recovery results.
Mom drove us the three hours back home and upon arrival, I showed my dad my scar and then fell asleep.
I’m still in a pretty good bit of pain. Mom stopped by a pharmacy and had my prescription for Lortabs filled but I don’t think they’ve helped. If anything, I feel nauseous but I’m also still in pain. I don’t know if I’ll take any more of those.
I still have about four days before I have to go back to work. I hope in a day or two, my throat won’t hurt as bad, and hope in about a week or two the swelling and the scar will have evened out a bit to give me a better idea of how smooth my throat really is now. It’s weird not seeing the lump anymore but it’s also very nice.
What’s not nice is feeling the scar. The skin around it is puffy and numb and the scar itself is rigid and prickly from the stitches, like plucked chicken skin. Ick.
And now that the Lortab is kicking in and making me feel like I’m going to puke and/or pass out, I’ll leave you with some more pictures.
|Finally coming home. Not too bad for just having been under anesthesia and having my throat hacked open, eh?|
|Here’s the lump again, for comparison purposes.|
|And here’s the scar. I know I’m fat but I also hope there’s just a lot of swelling going on.|
|From the front.|
|From the side.|