Ever since I saw my surgeon last Tuesday to have the castings for the molds of my lower jaw done, I’ve been walking around with my surgical package, feeling a little overwhelmed as I go from appointment to appointment and dutifully handing over the envelope which has become increasingly battered in it’s frequent review.
In the past week alone, I’ve donated 2 units of autologous blood, been to see my dentist and my surgeon, had an appointment with the attending doctor at the hospital for the day that I’m there (I think he’s going to become mine and Tay’s family doctor, we’ve only been looking for years now and I’ve reduced my standards in a family doctor to just being able to speak clear English) and then today I had an appointment at the Pre-op centre where I gave more blood, had an ECG and had my anesthetic consult. I’ve got three band-aids from today alone, have been poked and prodded more times than I care to count this week and have given enough blood that coworkers are commenting on how pale I am these days. I’m not sure if the paleness is due to losing 2+ units of blood, or if it’s just because I’m tired. VERY tired.
At the anesthetic consult today, the doctor that was meeting with me explained what would be happening next Thursday after I’ve been given my anesthetic for my surgery. She told me a number of things that, according to her, weren’t meant to frighten me, but rather INFORM me.
Such as, once I go under, the anesthesiologist will be inserting a tube into my nose that will help me breathe.
The tube will be there during the duration of the surgery, which will take approximately 4 HOURS, maybe longer.
And my jaw? That’s currently all in one piece? Yeah, that’s going to have a SAW taken to it, but only a small one, so I shouldn’t worry. The anesthesiologist held her finger and thumb about an inch apart as if to reassure me. Sorry, I was too hung up on the word SAW to be reassured.
And then, when I wake up from my surgery I’m not to be frightened, but the tube will still be in my nose to help me breathe. In fact, it’s going to be there overnight and I’ll be carefully monitored because I’ll be in ICU. Intensive Care. The place where the only noise you hear is the soft beeping of machines and the whispers of staff.
Um, yeah, me over here? You can label me informed but also add in big block letters TERRIFIED to that label.
I suppose I had subconcsiously been aware of the fact that the surgery would be extensive and that a saw or some other terrifying tool would be used – I mean, how else would they do it? – but I didn’t even THINK that they’d be sticking a tube down my nose and up till now, I was merely curious to know if my work insurance would cover me being placed into a private or semi-private room. Never even thought that I’d be in ICU.
I’ve spent most of today trying not to think about it and failing miserably. So now I’m reduced to just breathing. In and out, deep and steady. Over and over again. Just breathing.