Monday, April 25, 2011

Part 2 - The Surgery

**After reading through this, I realize that I switch back and forth between tenses, but my sleepiness is outweighing my perfectionism right now, so it'll just have to do. :)

After Christopher and I finished watching TV it was just about time to go. We decided to go a little early because I couldn't sit around the house any longer. We got there, checked in, and payed (another treat - paying an ungodly amount for something you don't even want to do in the first place). We sat in the completely silent waiting room for about 10 minutes, watching an awkward video about dentures or teeth implants or something. You know, those absurd infomercial-like videos where the people talk and laugh and show an unusually large number of their teeth to show off how great they look. It's just not natural. Finally they say we can go ahead back so they can start prepping me (that freaked me out because I know exactly what that means - start the IV). We go back and I sit down in one of those oh-so-comfortable dentist chairs and the nurse puts a blood pressure cuff on my arm. I don't know why I hate those things so much, but it seems to me like they squeeze your arm just a little too hard. So it squeezes and squeezes and squeezes and beeps and beeps and the nurse says "Hmm. Well that can't be right." She asks me if I feel at all light-headed (remember, I haven't eat in 14 hours - an unheard of amount of time for me). Besides feeling hungry, I really don't feel dizzy or light-headed. She smiles and says "Okay. Let's just try that again." Great. I can't wait. So she takes my blood pressure again and I guess she was satisfied because she didn't go for a third try. Then she has to put on those little heart rate monitor circle sticky things (I know, I'm very technical). I was wearing a t-shirt so it was a bit awkward because she had to put her hand down my shirt to stick 2 of them on my chest and then the 3rd went on my side. Then they put a medical bracelet on my wrist with my name, age, and the teeth they're taking out (I prayed to God thought that was probably written in my chart, but whatever). Finally the surgeon came in, calm as ever. He asks me how I'm doing, made some small talk and then sat down to put in the IV. He wrapped that little rubber tie around my arm and gave me something that felt like a hair roller to hold in my hand (I don't know what it was ... I was making it a point to look in the complete opposite direction). This was the moment Christopher chose to pop up and peace out. "See ya after," he said as he crept out the door. Great. So much for moral support. So the surgeon puts in the IV (which stung a little but really wasn't that bad). Then he said he was going to take the needle out and it was just plastic left, which I didn't understand, but I certainly wasn't going to look to try to figure out what he was talking about. After he took the needle out and taped the IV on my arm, it really wasn't bad at all. I must have still been a bit tense, though, because he kept bending my arm and telling me to relax. Easier said than done.

And now. The moment I'd been waiting for. The wonderful, sleep-inducing anesthesia. He injected that glorious little syringe into the top of my IV and said "Okay Cathleen, this will take about 60 seconds for you to feel anything." The nurse took my glasses off and put an oxygen tube in my nose (which wasn't really pleasant, but at that point I didn't care). "30 seconds." And that's the last thing I remember.

Christopher said he was only in the waiting room for about 15 minutes before they called him back to see me. The first thing I remember is my nurse explaining to Christopher how to fold up the gauze and put them in my mouth (such a special job, right?). I guess I kept slipping in and out because Christopher said we were back there for another 10 minutes before they wheeled me out to the car, but the next thing I remember is riding down the interstate. And then sitting in the Publix parking lot while my sweet husband went in to get my prescriptions, jello, and mashed potatoes. Those were the first vivid memories I can recall and I think that's only because I stared at the same stupid flower bobble-head in the car next to us for what seemed like an hour (really, only about 10 minutes). That thing drove me crazy.

We got home and Christopher said he needed to take the gauze out so I could eat something and take my medicine. What?? Medicine, sure, I'm totally fine for getting some more medicine. But eating and replacing the gauze - no thanks. This is the part I'd been looking forward to the second most (anesthesia being first) ... taking more fantastic medicine and passing the f out. But no. Christopher was very firm. "The nurse said you had to change the gauze and you had to take your medicine and you cannot take your medicine until you eat something." Sheesh. Being the sweet caretaker that he is, he made it as easy as possible for me. He sat me on the couch, went and got the jello, the medicine, and fresh gauze, opened the jello and handed me the spoon. Opening my mouth was about the last thing I wanted to do, but I really wanted needed the medicine, so I kept my eye on the prize. Luckily the practice I got from "taste-testing" jello shots with Brittney freshman year after we were 21, really came in handy and that jello just slid right down. Christopher let me have my medicine, put new gauze in my mouth (perfectly folded, I might add) and said I couldn't go to sleep yet. Skerrrrrt (that's the sound of brakes, if you don't know). I must still be slipping in and out because I thought you said NO sleep, but you must have meant GO to sleep. No such luck. He said I couldn't go to sleep until I stopped bleeding (gross, I know). "Couldn't I just go to sleep and you could change the gauze every 30 minutes?" I wish I'd said thought. So I stayed up for about another hour and a half (watching Rent, which helped a little) and finally Christopher said "You really want to go to sleep, don't you?" "Yeah no shit," I said pitifully. "Oh alright," he said. He turned off the TV and lights and closed the curtains (I was so ready to sleep I didn't even care that he haphazardly threw the curtain tie-backs on the floor).

I have no concept of time for the rest of the afternoon/evening. I remember ... the dogs jumping off and on the bed all afternoon (but when they were on, they were extra cuddly), hearing a James Bond movie playing downstairs, smelling mashed potatoes in my sleep, waking up and eating room temperature mashed potatoes (no hot food or drink for the first 3 days - delightful), talking on the phone to my mom, dad, Brittney, and my surgeon (he called to check on me - nice, huh? I'd recommend him to anyone - Dr. Bart Williams), and Christopher telling me things that I could clearly see, like "Okay, we have 3 steps right here ... the door is right in front of you ... this is your spoon." Thank you Christopher. I had surgery in my mouth, not my eyes. All in all, I felt great. After the anesthesia wore off I really never felt like I had to sleep (of course, that didn't stop me from sleeping a combined 42 of the next 72 hours) and I never felt weird like I have with other painkillers. I really wasn't in pain at all - a little sore and a lot swollen on Thursday and Friday, but never in any real pain.

Here are some of the valuable lessons I learned:
1. Getting blood drawn is not terrible.
2. Getting an IV is okay, especially if that IV is giving you anesthesia.
3. Blood pressure cuff - still bad.
4. Puppies are great cuddlers and provide great comfort when you don't feel well (I already knew that, of course). They do not, however, have any concept that you have had surgery. They were not any more gentle or less crazy than normal. I thought maybe they'd have some sort of sixth sense about these things and they'd calmly crawl on the bed and lay their head down gently so not to disturb me. But no - they jumped, they plopped, they stretched, they kicked. What can you do?
5. Christopher is an absolutely amazing caretaker. He was so sweet and gentle all day. He never once complained that he had to spend his one day off taking care of his poor, feeble wife. He anticipated nearly every need and want and if I did ask him for something he jumped up to do it immediately and not at all begrudgingly (in front of me, anyway). As we fell asleep that night, I told him how sweet he'd been and how much it meant to me and that I couldn't wait to see him take care of our children one day. Still being sweet he said "And take care of you when you have our babies." Whaa? Christopher always teases me, saying that he's going to make fun of me when I gain weight and start experiencing the unpleasant aspects of pregnancy, so his thoughtful response was shocking. I know he's sweet, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded.

Up next: cleaning off pictures from my phone. I'm pretty sure most of them are of the dogs. Get excited. :)


  1. This was my favorite post! Love the recap of your wisdom teeth adventures & I'm still quite jealous that you didn't look like a chipmunk less than a week later.

    My favorite parts...

    1. Luckily the practice I got from "taste-testing" jello shots with Brittney [freshman year] after we were 21, really came in handy and that jello just slid right down. Hilarious.

    2. Christopher's sweet side. Who knew?? :)