Friday, April 06, 2007

Post-Surgery Report

They were running a little behind when we arrived, but he got in just about 10-15 minutes after his scheduled time. I went to get a coffee, came back and leafed through a magazine for a bit and by then he was pretty much in recovery. We had been asked to arrive at 11:10 a.m. but he wasn't called in until noon. After that, the entire procedure was about 15 minutes and he was in the recovery room within 20. Another 15 minutes and they were ready to release him to my care. They gave me the medications (pain reliever, antibiotics, antiseptic rinse) and an audio cd of instructions to listen to, then had me bring the car up to the front door and they walked him down.

He looked rough as the nurse escorted him to the car - the look on his face said it all: it was worse than he had expected. He had a sling around his head holding ice on each cheek to help limit the swelling, tousled hair, and a very sore back (apparently normal from the paralyzing drug used during general anesthetic). After a brief initial conversation about the process, he said "I really don't want to talk," so we drove the 25 minutes home in silence. Probably best, since the gauze packing meant I could hardly understand a thing he said.

All in all the surgery went fine. He was sitting up in good spirits for the first couple hours at home, playing the new Zelda video game and catching up on his fluids (he hadn't been allowed to eat or drink anything for 12 hours prior to surgery). He had his first dose of pain reliever and ate broth. juice, a yogurt drink and some pudding.

3:00 pm I am glad the video game has his focus because he's not complaining about anything other than the gauze packing at this point. With the sling around his head, he looks like a '50s advertisement for a dentist. :-)

At that point, I drew on all my memories of how my mother cared for me during illness and pretended to be strong even though I had a million questions and would rather have had a doctor beside me through the night to assure me I'm doing everything I can to relieve my son's discomfort.

But there's only so much one can do when they've cut into the bone and cheek muscle in four places to remove teeth.

Around 8 pm, his temperature soared and the pain increased. The stretchy sling holding the ice around his head made him more comfortable but his body heat meant the ice packs melted faster than the spare packs could re-freeze. Today the left side is very puffy. His temperature finally broke about 4 am.

Overall, he was not groggy and his appetite was fine. He only had a brief bout with nausea but it settled quickly. Throughout the evening he enjoyed juice, jello, pudding, smoothies, Ensure and Friday morning ventured into scrambled eggs and tiny pieces of canteloupe.

He's taking pain meds and anti-biotics and it is a bit of a circus as I try to help him irrigate the incisions with the prescribed antiseptic rinse.

It is nice to have him ask for me to be close, to give him a backrub and adjust his ice packs. God knew what he was doing when he created families.

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