I’m Now Post-Op

On Tuesday I went into hospital for the procedure I mentioned here. The official title was “Excision of Palatal Lesion”. Basically, they took a cheese slicer to the roof of my mouth. It was rescheduled to be a day earlier than planned – originally they wanted to do it last week, but I delayed it until after our fancy Holiday Cocktail Party at the weekend (which was a huge success by the way).

Cassie took me to the hospital, and after checking in and being taken to my room, I changed into a disposable paper robe, with these weird vent holes in it. It turns out they could attach a hose to it and pump warm air in – very nice indeed, especially since the prep room was pretty chilly. A nurse put an IV in my hand – I hate needles, and I nearly broke the skin of my other hand biting it, when she put it in. I know they don’t hurt so much, but I do get the sweats when they come at me with one. Once it was in I was fine, and I just relaxed, talked to Cassie and watched Friends on the TV. Then they wheeled me down to the prep room.

As they wheeled me down I was reminded of that scene in Jacob’s Ladder, with the body parts and twitching manifestations around every turn (that’s not to say that my treatment at the hands of the nice people at CPMC was anything other than professional and competent – I have to say this in case Tort Reform has got so bad that doctors can now sue patients for making jokes). They set me up in the prep room, with the warm air pumping into my gown. The anesth-anaes-drugs guy came in and talked to me about what he had in store special for me that day – basically a sedative followed by a little cocktail of his own devising. Then Dr Song the surgeon came and said hello, and we wheeled into the OR. They strapped me in, and that’s the last I remember.

I woke in the recovery room, with Cassie waiting outside, and I felt OK – my lips were numb, my throat was sore. But the worst pain I had was in my calves. They had put these pumping wraps on there to help with circulation while I was under the knife/scraper/whatever. When I woke I felt like I’d done a thousand squats – my calf muscles were stiff and sore, and I had to get Cassie to help me flex my feet to get them moving. I had trouble walking to the car, and to the house when we got home – didn’t expect that at all.

I had to not eat for eight hours beforehand, and not drink for four – this didn’t seem so bad in the end. I was hungry and thirsty, but not in agony over it. Since the op I’ve been having soft foods, because I’ve got this plate wired to the roof of my mouth as a shield for the operated area. Pudding, homemade mushroom soup (blended so no bits – thanks Mom-in-law!), oatmeal, cereal left to go mushy, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese. I have to rinse regularly with salt water, and do the old Clorhexidine rinse morning and night – dee-lish. I slept on the sofa the first night, propped up with pillows so my head wouldn’t throb. I dozed and watched TV until after 2am, which was a bit silly. Late night TV is pretty crappy – lots of boner pill ads, tax lawyers and such like. Since then I’ve been able to sleep regularly, and each day since has been a lot better. I’m on Amoxycillin, Ibuprofen and a nifty Hydrocodone/Tylenol mix – I am what is known in the medical world as “partying“.

Dr Song called me yesterday and said that they tested the tissue they removed, and found that they had got it all. On the other hand, the amount of abnormal cells had grown since the biopsy a couple of weeks ago, so it looks like I’ll be in observation for a while yet. Thank goodness for regular dental checkups.

That’s where we are now. I can just about eat regular food. I can chew fine, but the swallowing is a little painful. Xmas lunch may be a slow affair, and no booze for a while unless I feel like checking out completely. I’ve taken a look in my mouth with a mirror and a flashlight – it’s not a pretty sight. Then again, whose mouth looks great?

Thanks to all my friends and family that left messages on Facebook and elsewhere. I love you all!