Orthodontics - Orthognathic surgery

Orthodontics - Orthognathic surgery > My story > APRIL 18, 2008 - News from the one that is slowly recuperating from her second surgery

My story

APRIL 18, 2008 - News from the one that is slowly recuperating from her second surgery

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Hi all,

Wow, what an experience! Like my husband told me Tuesday night before he left the hospital, I had to be a little crazy and have a lot of courage to go through this surgery a second time, even if the consequences are less dramatic than the first time.

We arrived in the hospital Tuesday around 1h30 pm. The admission personnel had just been informed of my "emergency" surgery at the end of the day, so it took a little bit of patience to make sure everything was clear with the nurses/attendants. At least I knew what I had to do to prepare myself for the surgery! My surgeon came to see me around 3h15 pm to see how I was doing and to tell us that the operating room would probably be ready around 3h30 pm. As I told him at that moment, I was resigned to having this surgery and I wasn't nervous at all. All the patients around me were returning from the operating block, it was a little weird to wait to have a surgery at the end of the day like that! Fortunately, anesthesiologists and respiratory therapists were starting their shift at 3h30 pm, so I didn't fear having tired people taking care of me during the surgery, apart maybe from my surgeon that had just finished his full day of work at the clinic!

I met the anesthesiologist soon enough after I was brought to the operating block, it wasn't the same person as last time, and I must admit that she stressed me out more than anything! She wasn't happy that my mouth didn't open as wide as she had hoped it would open (heck, I was still swollen from the first surgery!), she even got my surgeon to come and see for himself how little my mouth opened! She then decided to insert a gauze strip soaked with cocaine in my nose to limit the damage provoked by the tracheal tube because she had decided to intubate me through the nose instead of the mouth. It was disgusting! I was so upset and in so much pain and she was so determined to put the whole tissue in my nose that I almost started crying!

My surgeon stayed with me a little while to reassure me before I was brought to the operating room and he told me that he had had the time to speak with my orthodontist to let her know what was going on. He told me that she was disappointed that he had to operate on me again, but at least she knew about the unfortunate turn of events. I must admit that it was the least of my concerns at that point, but it was reassuring to know that my surgeon had taken the time in the last 24 hours to inform my orthodontist.

A few moments later, I was brought to the same operating room as last time. I was happy to have already experienced the preparation procedure for a surgery because the people last Tuesday didn't talk as much about what they were doing. The same panic took over me when the anesthesiologist plugged me to the IV (and this time, it was put in my arm instead of in my hand, so I found it was worse), she even gave me a sedative because I was panicking! Hahaha She asked me if I liked doing drugs, and she seemed surprised by my answer when I said no. She even told everyone in the room that she hadn't seen a lot of people in her life that didn't like the kind of drugs she gave! Let me tell you, this woman was a little weird!

My surgeon came to talk to me before I was put to sleep and I told him that I was more nervous than the first time. He then smiled and told me that the first time, I was nervous of the unknown and that now, it was normal for me to be more nervous because I dreaded what I knew. The sedative was already kicking in and I had a hard time keeping my eyes open and my head was spinning a little. My surgeon told me to close my eyes while the other ones were finishing preparing everything for the surgery. I think that I fell asleep by myself even before the anesthesiologist put me to sleep because I don't remember anything, I didn't have time to think about something pleasant! I'm not sure anymore because I wasn't entirely there mentally, but I think that I told my surgeon that I was doing all this for me first and foremost, but with the hope that I would be able to meet my idol one day with my new face! If I didn't dream this, he asked me who my idol was, and I said Jon Bon Jovi. (I will have to ask him if I really said that because it is like a dream in my head!)

Anyway, I woke up in the recovery room with a severe pain and my teeth stuck together (grrr, it wasn't a certain thing that my teeth would be stuck together without the possibility of opening my mouth a little). The guy that was monitoring me saw me right away, he told me that my surgeon had gone to talk to my husband and he asked me if I were in pain. 20 minutes later, they brought me back to the holding section of the hospital before I was transferred to my room. When I arrived, my husband was already there waiting for me and I heard people around talking about the game of the Montreal Canadiens. I wouldn't have thought it was that late! I was a little more alert than after I woke up after my first surgery a month ago and my husband seemed reassured to see that.

Then, I was transferred to my room and my roommate was an old woman. My husband left right after because visiting hours had been already over for a while. The woman beside me was very quiet, but she didn't seem like someone that just had surgery! She was able to get off the bed by herself and she seemed very alert. The attendant that had taken care of me during the evenings spent in the hospital a month ago saw me while walking in the hallway, so she came to ask me what had happened to me and why I was back. I was able to get up with the help of a very nice attendant before I went to sleep for the night, a thing that I wouldn't have done the first time!

I didn't sleep too well because there was a guy further down the hallway that kept on screaming either "Hello" or "Ouch" (in French, it is very similar), but I strongly believe he was saying "Hello". And he would scream that every minute or so, so it wasn't easy to sleep with that noise! Around 2h am, an attendant came to tell the woman beside me that they had to transfer her to another room because a person requesting more intensive care needed a room near the nurses' station. I don't know how long she had been in the room, but all the available drawers were filled with her stuff... Anyway, I understood very quickly who would be my next roommate; a more-than-drunk man that just had an accident with his car. The attendants and the nurses seemed exasperated with him because every 10 seconds, he would ask to drink. The doctor that had examined him when he arrived in the hospital had given the instruction not to give him anything to drink until further tests were performed on him in the next morning. But the guy was thirsty and everyone could understand that! They had to strap him down to the bed with hook and loop tapes because he was constantly trying to take off his cervical collar! He was very agitated and by the way he was talking, he sounded like an old man; I was discouraged to know that a person that drunk would drive his car! Finally, in the morning, when the alcohol wore off, he had a younger voice and he was only 40 years old! One of the attendants that brought him to the room during the night told another attendant that the police hadn't been able to do the alcohol test on the site of the accident for a reason that I didn't quite understand, so he said, and I quote: "This bastard will run free when he leaves the hospital!" It was stinking of alcohol in the room, so I don't want to imagine how much he had drunk! It wasn't very funny because the guy just kept on unstrapping himself from the bed and he would take off his collar several times per hour... I would have had a hard time taking care of this kind of person if I had been one of the attendants!

The next morning, my mouth started to bleed and I panicked because the nurse and an attendant was telling me that it was only my lip that was chapped, but I felt that it came from inside the mouth! My husband arrived in the meantime because there was a possibility for me to get released from the hospital in the morning, so I told him what was the matter. Finally, another nurse came to tell me that she had called my surgeon and that he had told her that he expected my mouth to bleed a little. So, it wasn't only my lip (because my lower lip is indeed chapped). Despite all this, I felt like I had more energy than the day after my first surgery, so it was encouraging! Also, the bottom of my face was greatly swollen, but at least my nose was fine and my chin, as well as my upper teeth, weren't touched during the second surgery. When my breakfast arrived, I was very hungry and to my great surprise, I ate it all, except the stewed fruit that got stuck in my mouth! I was less discouraged than last time because I asked for a syringe right away without even trying to eat with a straw! I was also able to drink water directly from a glass because my lips can now close since the second surgery! Also, I was able to speak a little, unlike last time.

When I saw myself in the bathroom mirror that morning, I noticed that I had stitches on each cheek. I was a little disappointed, but not surprised because my surgeon had told me that sometimes, he has to cut the skin to be able to insert the screws in the lower jaw bone. He had told me prior to my first surgery that it could happen.

A few people that took care of me a month ago recognized me. In the group was Dave, the black attendant full of life that had enlightened my days a month ago. I was very surprised to see that people would recognize me that easily because after all, I was less swollen than the first time! The nutritionist also came to see me again to explain to me how to eat well with a liquid only diet, but she had the feeling that she knew me just by the expression on her face. She didn't repeat everything she had said the first time when I explained to her that I had already seen her.

I was released from the hospital a little before lunch, the nurse told me that I could leave anytime after lunch. My vital signs were at their best, I even received a compliment about them. The nurse thought I was an athlete because my pulse at rest was excellent! HA HA My husband had told me, before he went back to work in the morning, that he would be back around 1h pm. I ate lunch as much as I could (the food got stuck in my mouth because everything was too thick!) and the nurse even brought me a can of Boost because I couldn't eat much because of the food texture...

While I was getting dressed before leaving the hospital, I heard a woman telling my husband: "Hey, I know you!" I immediately recognized the voice! It was the mother of the guy in the coma whom I shared my room with a month ago! I was very happy to see her. We chatted a little bit, she told us that her son was responding more and more to stimuli and that the doctors were very confident that he would recover one day! He will stay in the hospital for another month and if his condition doesn't improve more than that, he will get transferred to a specialized place for long-term care. His future seems more promising than a month ago!

We left the hospital at around 2h pm after talking to the nurse one last time. She told us that we had to call my surgeon's clinic as soon as possible to make an appointment with him for next Tuesday. I don't know why, but on the way home, I was under the impression that I had left my spirits with my hospital gown. Even if I were feeling better physically, I couldn't believe that I would have to eat with a syringe for another week! I felt very depressed once at home and even the next day, I would just think about my teeth being stuck together and tears were falling down automatically. Yesterday, 2 days after my surgery, I was depressed and my husband suggested that I listen to Bon Jovi a little while. I didn't want to at first, but I must admit that Jon's divine voice just lifted my spirits a great deal! If I had to rely on Jon like this and against my will I must say, I was very depressed!

I don't eat with a syringe after all because I found out that I can drink directly from a glass, so it's not too bad. And despite the swelling at the bottom of my face, I'm able to brush my teeth on the outside and to talk a little. However, the prescribed antibiotics are the same as last time and they are disgusting! Also, I have almost no pain at all, except for my ears. The bottom of my face is swollen, therefore there is pressure in my ears, but it's normal to have an earache after having this kind of surgery!

I can't wait until next Tuesday to see my surgeon; my appointment is only at 2h30 pm! It seems like he told my husband that if the second surgery didn't bring my lower jaw forward enough, that my braces will have to do the job because a third surgery is not an option. (And it wouldn't be an option for me either!) However, before making the decision to put elastics in my mouth for another week, keeping my teeth together, he tried a few things in the operating room and my lower jaw seemed to behave correctly in its new position. He didn't want to take unnecessary risks, so to put all the chances on my side, I still have to endure elastics.

I do not send pictures today because I look like a caricature! I have an enormous face and a small body! I have already lost the 4 pounds I had gained during my recovery of the first surgery. I will give other news next Tuesday after my appointment.

Until then, be well and see you soon!


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