Day 1: Surgery!

Well, I am actually writing this the day after my surgery for reasons that will become quite apparent but sufficed to say that after almost 18 months of waiting the surgery has come and gone in the blink of an eye and I am now the proud owner of an exceptionally swollen face and lips that rival those of Angelina Jolie!

Yesterday truthfully was a long day - we needed to be at the hospital at 6:45am (picture on left showing pre-surgery face) and the surgery was scheduled for approximately 9am. They prepared me for surgery by asking a gazillion questions (seriously why would anyone try and pretend to be someone else?!) and then they asked me to dress in to the largest set of hospital gowns I have ever seen. 

Apparently I am so tall they don't have regular gowns and they only had a pair which was intended for a 500lb human being. No comments about my weight please. The IV was inserted next to my vein which proved to be a tad painful and that was that, I was rolled off to have a quick chat with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist.

Let me just sat that I love my surgeon, Dr. Gregory Egbert, he is fantastic! He was recommended by so many people and once I met him, I could see why; he has an infectious personality, he has performed over 2100 surgeries of this type, and he is most definitely a perfectionist in how conducts his work not to mention that he is passionate about his clients and making sure that we understand the entire process.

I believe that I have mentioned on more than one occasion how nervous I was for general anesthesia. Completely irrational fear I understand but simply acknowledging this does not make it better! My anesthesiologist was great; he explained everything that would happen in terms of oxygen and having a tube down my nose. He told me that he would be giving me large doses of anti-nausea medicine so I would not vomit when I woke up. Let's face it, for anyone having this surgery, is there anything worse than vomiting into a wired mouth?! Visualise if you will . . .

That was that. I was wheeled into the operating theatre and the last thing I remember is shaking uncontrollably because of nerves! As they transferred me to the operating table, I tried to calm my nerves by singing a verse from the Primary book, “We have been born as Nephi of old”. Don’t ask me why, it just popped into my head! After that, the oxygen mask was placed over my mouth and I was out . . .

The next thing I remember was waking up in my hospital room. I have never recovered well from general anesthesia and yesterday proved to be no exception. Apparently, I was in recovery for an hour or so but they decided to take me to my room instead, as even though I wasn’t coming out of it, all my vitals were good . . .

My memories are vague from here on out but here is what I remember:
  • I went to the bathroom at one stage to look at my appearance and wow, do I look ugly! See below to see how ugly but be warned, the ugly factor is off the charts! I knew I was going to look swollen but wow! Kinda made me laugh (laughing hurts by the way!) to be honest. 

  • Lots of nurses and respiratory personnel (oxygen too low when breathing on my own). I kept getting told to take deep breaths . . .

  • It was difficult breathing though my nose. Not natural for me at the easiest of times, but rather difficult with a banded-shut mouth with a splint in it. Add to the fact that my nose was constantly bleeding due to the tube . . .

  • Absolutely could not talk in any coherent way. Lots of ‘thumbs-up / thumbs-down’ signs and spelling words in the air with my finger! Thankfully my wife was rather adept at understanding this style of communication! I did try to write using a pencil and paper but I was too weak.

  • The first two painkilling drugs made me completely nauseous and I genuinely thought I was going to vomit. The nurse however quickly administrated the anti-nausea medicine into my IV and I was saved from that pleasant experience.

  • They couldn’t fit my facial ice pack (“Jaw Bra”) around my head because of my swelling. It fit well initially but when they changed the ice, my face took that opportunity to expand even further, thereby causing the ice pack to no longer fit without some serious modifications to it.

  • My wife is the best nurse in the world. Given the fact that I was pretty much out of it and couldn’t do much on my own, she took over and did it all; she suctioned my mouth constantly as there was so much blood in there, she cleaned my nose of all the blood, she massaged my feet (perhaps the biggest sacrifice as she is a certified feet hater!), she administered liquid through the syringe, etc. She is an angel!

Well, that was my first day on the road to recovery. . . Hopefully future entries will not be as long, sorry to bore you! You can see additional photographs, other than the couple in this post, under the ‘Photo Journal’ section above.

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8 Responses to “Day 1: Surgery!”

  1. I'm glad you survived! Sounds like quite and ordeal. Take it easy now. Watch some TV or something!


  2. Just found your blog! I am almost ready for my surgery, and both excited and scared to death! I am in Colorado, but we share the same "primary" book you mentioned, lol! Funny I never thought of primary music to help calm my nerves before surgery! You ate looking great and I'm so happy I found your blog!

  3. @ HEather: So when is your surgery? As for the primary book, it made me laugh when I started humming the words and tune but it worked! :) Good luck on your surgery - Do you have a blog?

  4. I AM a nurse and I think your wife is better than me! :) I do not have high hopes for my husband being a good nurse, however. :) Hopefully he surprises me.

  5. @Alyssa: There is something about looking at someone with a truly miserable and huge face (not to mention huge lips, sorry eyes, and a wired mouth, etc) that brings out the best nurse in everyone. Your husband I am sure will be surprise you! :)

  6. You were right. He is being very good! He had surgery a few months ago so I made sure my care of him set the bar high! Luckily, he hasn't forgotten. And the kids aren't too scared either. My trusty companion dog, however, must have smelled that something was amiss and wouldnt lie with me until I showered off the " injured smell".

  7. Glad to hear that you are being 'supported'! :) Funny things about the dog! :) Glad to hear things are going well!

  8. Are you in utah? I am having Cameron Egbert do mine and was wondering if they were related!