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July 30, 2013 / Ang

The Reality Check

Last week I was convinced that the surgery to remove my salivary gland stone would be the simplest procedure in the world. I thought it was silly that I was being put under anesthesia – after all, the stone was RIGHT THERE. And I honestly thought I would be eating normal food again the next day, enjoy myself at Idlewild (didn’t happen because of rain thankfully), and have fun with friends dancing in Ohio afterward. Yeah, that’s not how it happened.

I was apparently freaking my friend out. Before I laid down under the comforter on her futon-turned-bed that she had set up for me she literally looked at me and said, “Go to bed. Seriously. You’re freaking me out.” Apparently I had gone practically catatonic or something. And then the next morning I struggled to even eat an omelet – something I had been surviving on the previous days after my surgery. It got really frustrating, there was pain that seemed new, I couldn’t take my pain medicine or I wouldn’t be able to drive home, and I couldn’t eat.

Well, it kept up. Yesterday I called my surgeon to schedule my post-op appointment to have the stent removed and brought up that I was having trouble with the pain, it was in my jaw bone now not just the gland/incision area, I was struggling to open my mouth.. The resident blew me off. Hours later there was still no phone call, and the surgical center called. I told the woman how I was feeling when she asked, and she told me I needed to be seeing someone because I shouldn’t still feel that way. So I called the surgeon’s office back, the resident got back in touch immediately that time, and then basically said that I was overreacting and it was perfectly normal and fine that I couldn’t hydrate just to keep trying.

Yes, I’m serious. The resident told me it was fine that I was having trouble hydrating and just to keep trying and ignore the pain, that maybe I should try motrin. I have a feeling that he never looked at my chart to realize how bad an idea dehydration is for me.

So I called my PCP to try to see them, and I was told to call the surgeon at first. I went, “I tried that. The resident is blowing me off, but I’m having trouble hydrating. I’m lucky if I’ve had half a liter of water in the past two days compared to the two liter minimum.” And I was told to head to the ER for fluids. My stepdad was a bit of a jerk about it, but having him there led to getting pain medicine I couldn’t have otherwise.

I spent my afternoon getting two liters of fluids pumped in, being put on an antibiotic (which you think the surgeon would have put me on initially in the first place), and getting a prescription for a stronger pain killer. I was finally feeling up to eating when we got home, but I still couldn’t really open my mouth – so I went with my dinosaur egg oatmeal. Yum.

So what have I learned? Dinosaur egg oatmeal is always the solution – it doesn’t need to be chewed, you don’t have to open your mouth very wide to fit a spoonful in, and it’s yummy and fun. Residents are sometimes jerks – the ER doctors think the incision looks inflamed and if he would have bothered to see me instead of blowing me off as paranoid he would have seen that. I should never ever plan on being productive right away after surgery again considering the fact that I can barely eat and I can’t drive while I’m on the pain killers. Oh, and I should probably start giving procedures that even seem tiny and harmless the credit they deserve for apparently being intense. Also, salt water rinses feel good – and the warm water loosens up the muscles that are angry with me and don’t want to let me open my mouth.

PS: You get cravings for real food a LOT when you can’t actually eat it very well.

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