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Day 1: Successful Surgery!

Mon May 21, 2012

Heading to the Hospital  Cutting was scheduled for 8:30am, so Kristi and I arrived at about 6:45am to go through the admitting process.  I was in my socks & gown and ready to roll by 8:00.

I had swore to myself I’d try to remember as much as possible until the anesthesia, but to be honest, it’s just a blur.  I remember being wheeled into the surgery room, requesting margarita-flavored gas (with salt around the mask), and then….

The next thing I remember is being in recovery and trying to understand why my tongue felt pinched and attached to the right side of my mouth.  It occurred to me that perhaps my tongue had been accidentally stitched to the inside of my gum line!  I pinged the nurse and wrote my concerns on my trusty note pad.  She seemed as alarmed as I was at first, but after consulting with the doctor she determined that part of my tongue must have gotten caught under the splint.  She asked if I would attempt to pull it it away, which I was able to do.

Edward Scissormouth  With my tongue free to roam around and explore the inside of my mouth, I realized there was a LOT of hardware in there.  I felt like my tongue had been thrown into a silverware drawer.  At this point, I’ve got the orthodontic hooks and brackets I came in with, plus a lower splint attached to my bottom teeth, and two screws in my gum line to hold it all in place.  It occurs to me that I should probably avoid being in proximity to large magnets for a while…

Swelling  Just after surgery, and there really isn’t any swelling evident yet. The white bags hanging off the sides of my head are ice packs, presumably in anticipation of swelling. The surgeon said that I should expect swelling to increase over the next 72 hours, and then begin to decrease. He said that a good portion of the  swelling should be gone in 7-14 days, but would take a few weeks to fully resolve.

Pain  Yeah, there’s pain at this point, but not as much as I expected.  On a scale of 1-10, I was at a 5-6 when the morphine wore off, and at a solid “4” when the morphine was online.  For reference, I consider a “4” when I feel pressure and some pain, but not enough to distract me. A “5” is enough to distract me. A “6” is enough to keep me awake. A “7” is when I consider taking hostages.

Food (in a matter of speaking)  After  I got some rest the nurses brought a variety of liquids (chicken broth, tea, water, Italian Ice, and cranberry juice).  I was really only in the mood for water. I thought I’d prefer a straw, but my lips were too weak to make that work.  Sipping from the cup worked best. Later, they brought some Ensure in a juice box. The littler straw worked better, and I was able to get some of that down before going to sleep.

Sleep (in a matter of speaking)  I did sleep, but it was only 30-40 minutes at a time, mainly because the nurses were diligent about coming in to check on me every hour. I think I got in about 2.5 hours starting at about 4am.

Drooling  I read on many other MMA recovery blogs that I should expect a lot of drooling because of the trauma to the mouth tissues and irritation from the stitches. I’m happy to report that hasn’t been the case for me. In fact, it’s been a little bit of a battle keeping my lips moist, since my tongue can’t protrude past my teeth. I’m not sure why my case is different, but I won’t look a parched horse in the mouth…

Tommorow  The surgeon will drop by to tell me how it went and to check up on me. Looking forward to a less drowsy/painful Day 2!

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