Well, it seems I made it through another one. I was so chilled, so relaxed when going into the surgery on the Monday morning. Until one of the anaesthetists decided to try his best to change that.
First, he came in and said: ‘have you seen an anaesthetist yet?’
‘No…’ I replied.
‘Oh, well, I’m your anaesthetist then!’
That was a strange exchange in itself. I would have thought if he was my anaesthetist he would have been rostered on to be my anaesthetist, not just to pick up whatever patient who said they hadn’t spoken to anyone yet, but hey. I let it slide. Then he asked me where I usually had my breathing tube. In my nose? In my throat? I said I didn’t know, I had never really come across the realisation that I had a breathing tube in. But I supposed it made sense. It wasn’t something I really wanted to be making the decision of though, or even really talk about in much detail. I thought that would be up to my anaesthetist. And my surgeons.
‘Your mouth doesn’t open very far,’ he continued, ‘was it like that last time?’
‘Well no… not really… I’ve only just had my jaw removed… sort of…’
‘We might put the breathing tube in while you’re awake…’
‘Um… No… No thank you… No ‘ the panic started rising within me.
‘No, I think it would be best. I think we should put it in while you’re awake.’
‘No… No…’ I started crying. ‘Anaesthetic is stressful enough… I don’t want you shoving tubes down my throat/partially blocked off nose while I’m awake… Can I speak to someone else please?’
It was just more than I could handle, you know?
‘Oh, I didn’t want to upset you…’ He said. ‘I’ll just go talk to my [boss]’ (that wasn’t the word he used but I got that he meant the head guy)
The tears kept coming for some time after he left, they wouldn’t seem to stop.
The other anaesthetist (aforementioned boss), Ed, came along and he knelt down to face me on my level (I was sitting in a chair in the corner of my little bay). We had a nice calm chat and he said he would like to talk about it all when Deepti comes in to see me. There was no point in saying or deciding things without speaking with the surgeons first.
Yes. Thank you. Yes.
In the end the ‘tube while awake’ was unnecessary, and it wasn’t mentioned again, much to my relief. I saw them all down in the anaesthetic room which was very different from any other room I’d been anaesthetised in before. Ed made the vibe in the room feel relaxed and fun. They put the nice blanket filled with warm air on me. It took a little bit of prodding to get my vein but he managed in the end. We chatted about our Christmas, our new year, things felt fine. And on that note, I went under feeling great and I awoke smiling.
It was a short surgery anyway, wasn’t it. Though I think I went under around 9 and woke up around 1. I’m unsure how long the surgery itself was.
The whole team were in attendance – Mr K of course, Deepti was back, and my Teeth man Andrew was there too. I am, as ever, so grateful and amazed that they managed to hustle two completely separate lots of people to get there in such short notice.
When I woke up, the plate that forms the makeshift roof of my mouth appeared to have fallen down into my mouth more than I think it should have. That was new… I was confused and pushed it back up. I investigated further. If I pushed the front with my tongue the whole thing tipped forward. It seemed to move around in my mouth a lot. I explored with my tongue to find the screws that held it in place and I could not find them. Instead, my tongue found holes where the screws used to be. So that much made sense, but why?
My lips were sore, blistered, and bleeding. I was rather intrigued as to why the bottom left of my bottom lip was particularly blistered, and the outside swollen and bruised… Someone been punching me? Or probably more likely, some tool was sitting there.
As soon as I got to my bed in the ward, a few of the nurses and HCAs (Health Care Assistants) welcomed me back and said there was someone who was excitedly waiting to see me. So I got myself settled, got out of my hospital gown into my own clothes, and took myself two bays over to see A, who you’ll remember I met when I was in last time. Though I got tired after a little while and had to go and rest. She was having a pretty rubbish time too, but seeing each other was beautiful.
Some time later I also got to see my favourite night doctor who seemed to be on night shifts every time I’ve been in. We caught up on our Christmas and New Year and chatted about life. Seeing these familiar faces brings me so much joy.
Liquid still seemed to be running down the back of my nose after drinking anything and my ear was just as full of liquid as ever… It felt like things were going backward. But I figured I would benefit from a good night’s sleep, and I would be able to ask Deepti about it the following morning.
I didn’t get a good night’s sleep, of course. The nurse call alarms kept going off, the IV alarms of other patients kept shouting, and the HCA seemed to be taking someone’s Observations every hour or so, and those alarms kept going off too. Even with earplugs, these noises can’t be dampened much. I got an hour here or there.
The surgeons came around, but none of my core few were in tow. There was one who had been there to talk to me with Deepti before surgery, and another I had met before. And lots of people who I assume were students. I mentioned that the plate was loose and they seemed surprised at that. Until the one who had seen me before surgery said ‘Oh yes, everyone decided it fit fine without screwing it in so they decided not to. The decision was made with the surgeons and the teeth people (sidebar: I think I must be paraphrasing) and was it agreed that it seals fine’
Um… ok… I was going to start asking my list of questions then realised they probably couldn’t really answer them. I wasn’t convinced they really knew what decisions had been made or why. I assumed I would get to speak to Deepti at some point… He did say they thought that my gums would eventually start to seal around it…
EVENTUALLY?! How long are you planning on leaving me like this? I thought it was just going to be the 4 weeks or so while we waited for histology reports… I wonder if this is Covid related or like last time around when I wasn’t prepared for the fact that it would be 14 months before I got any form of teeth…
Anyway, I never got to speak to Deepti, I was discharged the following day, on the Tuesday, and sent off on my way, left to wonder what had been done to my body this time…