This past Tuesday, I went back to the ENT for my post-op checkup. He removed my bandages and said I was a fast healer. He handed me a mirror and I tried to look at the damage but I couldn’t actually see anything. I hadn’t shaved since the surgery so my beard was covering up a good portion of the incision. But the fact that I couldn’t see a jagged, raised scar was good. It didn’t even bruise like it did during my last procedure.
After he cut away my bandages, he opened the door and raised his hand for a goodbye shake. Slightly annoyed, I told him I had a few questions. I had waited for an hour to speak with him so I didn’t want to be ushered out after 7 minutes. I asked him what caused these cysts and he informed me it’s a birth defect that I’ve had all my life. They just don’t typically form noticeable, protruding lumps until between the ages of 19-30. He also informed me that he took out a part of my hyoid bone, which is where the cysts can stem from. So between the excision and my age, the chances of it coming back are unlikely. Thank goodness.
I asked about various scar treatments and if the numbness under my chin was normal. He told me it was ’cause he had to cut a flap open underneath my jaw to get to the cyst. “You’ll start to feel some itching when the nerves reform.” Yuck. My mind raced with all the questions I wanted to ask him but his presence towering over me caused all those questions to fly right out of my incision.
“Well, I guess that is all,” I said.
“Just give us a call if you think of anything else,” he said with a handshake and then that was it.
I went back to work the next day. I’d gone back to work that previous Saturday but I really shouldn’t have. I felt terrible with a mixture of antibiotics and lethargy coursing through me. It still hurt to talk and my voice was reminiscent of someone who’d been smoking for the past 50 years. But I needed the money so I went in. But I felt much better during this shift. It didn’t hurt as much to talk and my voice had almost returned to normal. I’d also taken my last antibiotic the day before so I’d hoped the majority of it was making its way out of my system.
During my shift, I passed by a familiar customer. I greeted him and he asked me if I’d been on vacation.
“Not quite,” I said. “I had surgery and I spent last week in bed recovering. So, I guess it was a vacation of sorts.”
“Ah, well we missed you,” he said, referring to him and his wife. That was really nice to hear. In fact, he acted like he was more glad to see me than some of my coworkers were. It just reminded me that sometimes we don’t always feel like we are noticed or appreciated but there are people out there who do see, who do recognize, and who do feel it when you’re missing.
After my shift was over, I wanted some kind of milkshake or other creamy confection to soothe my throat. I went to a fast food place and thought, “Well, while I’m here, might as well grab a little dinner.” ‘Cause I’m logical like that. Actually, my reasoning made sense to me. I hadn’t eaten for about 4 days while laid up in bed with what felt like a butcher knife in my windpipe so I figured a couple of grease-coated calories wouldn’t kill me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted so I just stared at the menu and listed off things to the cashier that I thought sounded good.
“I’m gonna just combo all this up for you so it’ll be cheaper,” she said. Another nice thing. It was small and maybe she’s supposed to do that kind of thing but I took it as a kind gesture from a girl just tryin’ to help a brotha out.
And I needed all the help I could get ’cause I had to pay for the surgery. Even with insurance, I had to pay a large chunk out of pocket to meet my deductible. When the lady at the front counter at the doctor’s office asked me if I wanted to pay a little bit on it along with my co-pay, I told her I wanted to go ahead and take care of the whole thing.
“All of it?” she asked with wide eyes.
I’m fortunate I had the funds to pay for the whole thing. And it isn’t going to break me to part with the money. I’m struggling, for sure, but I recognize and am grateful for the fact that I do have some in savings and was able to take care of it without it being a huge burden on me. I’m terrible with money and one day it’ll all come crashing down on me but over the past few years, I have at least tried to be more conscientious of my spending and my bank account. And I think I’ve done better. It’s still a process because spending, much like eating, is how I soothe myself.
But overall, my recovery and transition back to work was nice. I encountered some kind people and I just want to recognize that because it doesn’t happen often that I have something good to say about my surroundings.
Here’s hoping those goiters are gone for good!
I should really be careful what I wish for.
On Tuesday, Mom and I arrived at the hospital around 7:00AM. We checked in and sat around for a few minutes until I was called into a room. I was instructed to change into the gown and hairnet. I noticed this particular hospital didn’t have those awesome socks like the last one did. A little disappointing. I had a bit of trouble tying up my gown but after contorting a little bit, I got it together.
Two nurses came in, one older, one younger (and pretty) came in and the older lady tried to start my IV. I’m not scared of needles but veins freak me out so I kept my eyes closed while she stuck me. It seemed like it was taking her a while so I wondered what was going on. Then I felt a burning pain in my hand she said, “Oh, I think I blew the vein.”
“You didn’t get it?” I asked with a wince.
“Nope. When you don’t eat or drink before surgery, it can flatten your veins. I stuck the needle into your vein and it went through the other side.”
“You mean the other side of my hand?” I thought. It burned. Then she tried my other hand and inserted the needle with no trouble. Then the nurse brought my mom in and we waited around for a while. Then the anesthesiologist came in and talked to me. I told him the last time I came out of surgery, I had severe nausea. He noted that and after he left, the young pretty nurse came in and injected something into my IV that she said would help me relax. But it only made me feel nauseated. I felt a wave of sickness flood my chest and fog my head. I broke out into a fit of giggles before I lolled my head around and hit the pillow. I couldn’t keep my eyes open or talk because it made the sickness worse so I just lay there for around 45 minutes until a different nurse came in and wheeled me out.
By this time I was shivering. The room they put my mom and I in was freezing. And I don’t get cold. So I know it was chilly in there. The lady stopped and pulled out two heated blankets and wrapped me up in them. They felt fantastic. Then she wheeled me into the surgery room. One nurse untied my gown and asked me to shimmy onto the operating bed. I did so while other nurses got to hooking me up to the different machinery.
I kept comparing this hospital to the last one where I had my previous cyst removal. By the time I’d made it to the operating room during my previous operation, I was already knocked out. This time around, I was awake and coherent while they hooked me up. I felt self-conscious as the nurses pulled my gown down to attach the sticky pads to the different parts of my body. Of course, these ladies have seen it all. But they haven’t seen me. No one has seen me before. I was ready to be put under already.
And as if on cue, the anesthesiologist came in a bit later. They put an oxygen mask on my face and then the anesthesiologist said he was going to give me something to help me sleep. “Now, this is going to burn,” he said. Two seconds later, it did. I felt the medicine as it entered through my hand and worked its way up my arm like a poison. And then I was out.