Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 19 - Normalcy and My Day of Surgery Story! (plus random things i forgot to mention from the early post-op days)

Hellooo all!

so today was my first day back at volunteering at the library. i volunteer with one of my good friends, so it is always a lot of fun. we mostly just re-shelve books and such. very relaxing. so i was glad to be back! especially to be driving my car and such, i like feeling more independent again. things are more normal! yay! there are even parts of my day where i forget that i have had jaw surgery. i mean, until i look in a mirror, but hey, baby steps!

i forgot to say that 3 days ago i sneezed for the first time. i am one of those people that starts sneezing like crazy when the sun gets in my eyes.... and i kept my mouth open like my surgeon said... and it was no bid deal! yay.

so today not much has changed other than just the jaw pain going away finally!! makes me much happier :) i just have an awful headache, but im used to those... so i though i would write down more specifics from my day of surgery, because i never did originally, and i dont want to forget it all. so i apologize if this is boring and/or random!

Surgery Rewind
The night before surgery I started to get anxious. I was so excited to get surgery over with after years of waiting... but the nerves were starting to get to me. So..... guess who barely got any sleep. I had to wake up bright and early at 3:45am because i had to check in at 5:30am for a 730 surgery and my surgeon is an hour away. I slept through my alarm (only getting 4 hours of sleep will cause that to happen!) and so my mom came in at 4 to make sure i was awake. i got ready and made sure i had everything packed and we rushed to the car so we wouldn't be late. I got to the hospital just in time to check in.

I was walked back to a room and was asked to changed into my hospital clothes for surgery. it was this huge almost paper gown that had all these holes covered with fabric for emergencies i suppose, in case they needed to get to my hear etc. i also got these cool socks and was asked to get in the bed in the room. my nurse was so nice :) i was so grateful for that seeing as internally i was beginning to freak out. they put these squeezy things around my calves that puffed up with air every so often to keep my blood flowing and prevent clots i believe. they were fairly annoying, but i just pretended it was a massage.

After my mom signed another multitude of forms and filled the nurse in on every medication i have been taking recently, i had to get my iv. now, i am one of those pathetic people who is completely terrified of needles. so my strategy is just to not look at what they are doing to me. and hold my mom's hand of course. the first time she tried to put the iv on top of my hand... but that was so painful and she realized that she had hit a valve. lucky me.... so we had to take that one out and try a new one. this one was put on the side of my wrist and was bearable. she then offered to get me a hot blanket. let me tell you... those things got me through my stay at the hospital. they are my absolute favorite! i mean who doesn't love those warm blankets? Then, this really nice guy came in... and ruined everything by saying he had to draw my blood. fun stuff right? but i was good, and luckily they didnt need to draw a ton this time. we also talked to the anesthesiologist. Then, my surgeon came in and took some final measurements because he realized after he constructed my molds and such after my preop appt, that my top jaw was slightly tilted either to the right or left, and he needed to make sure that his molds were correct (which they were). then he reassured us of everything, said he had one surgery before me, and left.

After more preparation to get me "ready" for surgery, my nurse said that my surgeon was running behind because he was still in surgery (that i either don't think he was expecting, or he was just running behind). so now it was 7:30 (my supposed surgery start time)... and still nothing. luckily we had a tv in our room! my mom and i chatted and enjoyed the Today show. i also was texting several friends kinda freaking out. about every half hour the nurse that was going to be with me during surgery checked in on us and just kept telling us that my surgeon was still in surgery... Finally, around 9-10 am the nurse returned and said we were ready! i was fairly annoyed that we had to wait so long. but when she announced i was ready to go and started wheeling me out of the room, surgery finally felt real. and i was kinda terrified. i held my mom's hand until i got to the doors and then had one last hug. we both had tears in our eyes.

then i got wheeled back and saw all of these smiling nurses on my way to my OR. i got a cap to put over my hair and then we stopped outside of the huge doors to where i would be having my surgery. my nurse said that the rooms would be cold, and sure enough it was. I just pretended I was on Grey's Anatomy. Because that is one of the best shows ever. they moved me onto the table that i would have my surgery on and strapped me on and put blankets on me. After that, the anesthesiologist said she was giving me something to relax me. That was the last thing I remember.

I remember waking up in the recovery/icu area. the nurses kept asking me to rate my pain from 1-10. i think i said 7 or 8. i really wanted them to give me medicine so i could feel better. my nurse was really nice and attentive. i kept asking where my mom was... and she kept saying that i could go see her when my pain was under control. this made me sad. but finally the time came and my nurse said she was going to take me to my room :) she wheeled me to the elevators and eventually to my room where my parents, grandparents, and sisters were waiting. they moved me to my new bed and the first thing i asked my mom was for the time. since i was banded shut... nobody could really understand me. which was frustrating. i believe it was 2-3 in the afternoon. she said my surgery lasted around 4 hours. my sisters put this huge puppy stuffed animal on my bed and then left with my grandparents. i then remembered that i had packed my mini whiteboard. that thing was my best friend for the first week. I had beautiful flowers and balloons all over my room from different family members and even my orthodontist sent some beautiful flowers too! I felt so blessed for all the support from my family and friends.

my puppy and whiteboard!
I remember just being so amazed that all of my teeth touched! and i remember hating whenever the nurses gave me morphine, because it made me throw up. and let me tell you, that is not fun when you are completely banded shut. the catheter and tube up my nose were out by the time i woke up luckily. but the breathing tube really made my throat hurt. the medicine the nurses had to put in my iv hurt so badly. i was on a steroid to help with swelling and such but it stung SOO much when they put it in my iv. luckily i had really nice nurses that diluted everything with saline and brought me hot blankets to wrap my arm in. i never mentioned my 2ND favorite thing in the hospital was this little "sucky thingy" (as i called it) that i could suck all of my spit out with. did you guys all have drooling problems? i always put a ton of gauze under my chin but i always remember waking up in the middle of the night with my jaw bra and gauze and cheeks and neck completely wet. it was nasty. but the sucky thingy helped keep my mouth dry luckily. i also never mentioned that my surgeon finally let me use afrin for 2 days to help me breathe through my nose. he said i was only allowed to use it for 2 days, but i was SO glad i could at all! it completely cleared my nose. plus, one of my nurses was able to help clean out my nose with a q-tip. i LOVED my nurses. i had such amazing care at my hospital. it was unbelievable.

another thing i haven't talked about it the stiffness and pain i had in my neck and back after surgery. i never figured out what really caused it. maybe just laying down during surgery for 4 hours? im not sure. but i had the nurses bring me hot blankets. and i wrapped them around my shoulders kinda like a shawl to help me sleep. it was so nice. but the neck and upper back and shoulder pain and stiffness didn't go away until probably day 10. it was very uncomfortable.

one of my night nurses was so nice to me. She tucked me in with warm blankets and sat and talked to my mom and I, giving reassuring words. I almost cried when she left and said she wasn't scheduled to work again for a while. I spent a lot of my time watching HGTV on my hospital tv. (they didnt have many channels). so i watched tons of home design shows and house hunters! fun times.. fun times.. i also brought my knitting to the hospital and did that when my iv didn't hurt too badly.

one morning around 5am in the hospital... i believe it was day 4 post op. the lady in the room next to mine was yelling and saying lots of cuss words. for probably an hour straight. i felt so bad for her. but i was so irritated that it woke me up. i hated hearing her in pain... but she didn't need to yell the f word and many others for an hour straight. it was not the best moment.

i recommend going on lots of walks in the hospital. those were the best parts of my day. they made me feel so happy and energized and yeah. just take walks! all of the nurses on my floor knew me as the "fast walker" every time i can around the loop the nurses were shocked that i was walking so quickly that soon after surgery and such. my aunt also flew in and surprised me at the hospital and stayed for a few days. it was so amazing to see her and get to talk to her in the hospital. i love my family.

oh goodness i feel like i just wrote a book! sorry if you are reading this... that got long!! i apologize! i just had to get all these memories down before i forgot them. 

so a big THANK YOU to anyone that has been reading. until tomorrow.

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