Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marcus and the Post-Tonsillectomy Hamburger

"What kind of pain will it be-sharp,searing,dull ache,pulsating,or burning?"

"All of the above," my surgeon asserts, snapping the chart shut with a sense of finality. "It will be the worst sore throat of your life."

"Great.Might as well get it over with, then."

It's the morning of July 16,and my pre-op blood sugar is hanging out at 189. I have bolused, but the stress is already doing a number on my blood sugar. All in all though,it is isn't 50 and it isn't 300 so I'm not too upset about it.

Anesthesiologist stops by. OR nurse comes in,and my pump reminds me that the battery is about to die. (whoops, forgot to change it last night) Since its alkaline, and I don't think they'd appreciate it going off and emitting the Shriek of Death in the middle of the operation(the shriek of death does not stop unless you change the battery,which they wouldn't know to do), I ask the OR nurse if they have any spare AA batteries. He finds me one. I work on repriming and reloading it,as the anesthesiologist looks mildly annoyed that I'm not to ready to go in right that very minute.(I'm sorry, but it does take a few minutes) It's annoying how a doc can take an extra 30 minutes,but if the patient does that they're wasting the doc's time. The second I'm done,its off to the OR, I bolus another correction for the steroids they're going to pump into me and drift away.

The first thing I'm aware of, post-surgery is that my surgeon was absolutely telling the truth-the pain is all of the above. There is a Redwood growing in my throat,and grunting hurts, much less trying to talk. The second thing I'm aware of,is if I try to lie down flat my throat blocks up and I can't breathe at all.Small sips of water help this,but upset the stomach and make me retch, worrying the post-op nurse that I'm going to start bleeding again. Husband gets lost trying to find the place and takes several hours to pick me up. Get home. Take monster doses of every drug they have given me,doze off(on side,still impossible to breathe lying on back) My mom has come up to help out for a few days.Night #1, no sleep, despite the painkillers. Get a fever. Drink Gatorade,eat Popsicles, take meds,put in eardrops, rinse repeat. By Sunday though, the fever has let up and presumably I shall survive so my Mom leaves. Blood sugars are actually pretty good when you don't want to eat anything, except treating even mild lows SUCK because even swallowing liquid sends shooting pains all the way down your throat and up to your ears. Most people do not even feel like eating ice cream,its too darn thick.

Monday night, I decide to fix some scrambled eggs. Drank some Gatorade after that, and went to irrigate my throat. It was red, so I continue irrigating to get the gator aide completely out and the clumps of blood kept coming. After 20 or so minutes of that,(it was about 9 pm at that point) I was afraid I'd injured something and I was going to bleed to death and going to the ER was the best course of action given talking was extremely difficult and that's ultimately what the on-call doctor would say anyway. I was freaked out. Needless to say, when we got to the ER their definition of emergency was different from my own so it was another couple of hours till I saw a real doctor. Still bleeding. The doc said they didn't have the facilities to re cauterize,and called up the on call ENT doc and since I wasn't gushing great quantities of blood I'd probably be fine till morning. Discharged. Next morning,back in the ENT office, the doc took a look at my throat and decided to recauterize it. Hadn't eaten/drunken anything that morning, other then the pain meds so it was back to the OR. When I woke up,the pain was not very different from what I'd been feeling all along so it wasn't some huge shock. More recovery. I dreamed about eating BK hamburgers, because the surgeon's name was Dr. Hamburger.(that was a really weird twist to the experience) Have not had any bleeding since then,it scared the stuffing out of me that I would bleed to death right there.

Two weeks out, saw my surgeon again today and he says it's healing well. With each day that passes, less risk of bleeding again, but still cannot drink Diet Coke or take Advil for (other) pains till at least Sunday. I can semi-talk now,(short paragraphs) before it starts hurting again and it doesn't hurt near as much.(I still prefer to talk Chewbaccan though,but no one else can understand me when I do that) Can eat soup, soft pasta/foods,and ice cream without invoking a horrible backlash. I don't know how people can immediately eat ice cream after a tonsillectomy,I couldn't for a long time. The only foods that actually felt pleasurable were Popsicles and Beef broth. YTMV. The Redwood is now a Maple,and I think I am over the worst of it now. I now believe that it should be mandatory for every kid to get their tonsils taken out, because it is very much worse as an adult. I never even knew a throat could feel like that.

1 comment:

Scott K. Johnson said...

Dang Heidi! What an experience! Hopefully you're feeling great by now.

How could you survive without Diet Coke for such a long time? That alone might have done me in...