Thursday, 7 August 2014

Orthognathic Surgery Day!

The day had finally come for surgery! I woke up at about 5:30am as I had to check in at the hospital by 7am and I didn't want to be in a rush. The hospital is only a 5 minute drive away from my house so I was very lucky to live so close.

The whole family (Mom, Dad and my sister) came with me because I was feeling really nervous as I'd never been in hospital before and I'd certainly never had surgery. We checked in to the Admissions Lounge at 7am and then took our places and waited for me to be called.

I was soon called by a nurse to do my Pre-Operative Assessment, which just involved filling out a questionnaire with the nurse and having my blood pressure, blood sugar levels, weight etc taken. I was then sent back to the waiting room to be called again.

The next person to call me was my surgeon and the rest of the theatre team. We discussed the procedure, which is called Forward Sliding Sagittal Split Osteotomy, and they checked that my splint fitted on to my teeth correctly. I was then sent back to the waiting room again.

The third person to call me was the anaesthetist who had a quick chat with me to explain the anaesthetic and to double check that I had no allergies or other medical problems. I then went back to the waiting room for the final time and waited to be called for my operation.

The final person to call me at about 9:15am was the nurse who would take me to be prepped for theatre. A few others were called at the same time so we all walked together to the Arrivals Lounge where we were given our hospital gowns to put on. After that it was just a waiting game as people were called individually for their operations. The last photo I took before my operation is just below.

After about 45 minutes waiting (in which I have to admit I cried a little as I was so scared) a nurse came with my surgical stockings and the 15 hilarious minutes that ensued as he tried to get them on me definitely took my mind off the operation ahead of me.

He then walked with me to the anaesthetist's room and left me with another team of nurses there. I got into the bed and while the team got everything ready one of the nurses chatted to me to calm my nerves. Her little sister did Geology at university so we had plenty of things to discuss and at that point I didn't feel nervous at all, just ready to have the operation. As the nurse said to me, "you can just dream of rock formations."

The anaesthetist inserted my canula (something I'd been dreading but didn't even hurt) and said he was going to start putting the anaesthetic through so to count to 10. All my friends had told me they had got to something like 4 before they went under so I started counting and got a bit worried as I got to 7, 8, 9... When I reached 10 I thought it was absolutely hilarious that I'd counted all the way to it and nobody else had so I started laughing to myself (somewhat maniacally) and that must have been how I went under (attractively) as I was out like a light and that's the last thing I remember.

The next thing I knew I was waking up in Recovery and feeling very sick indeed. I was gagging and retching, which was my worst nightmare with my jaws wired together, but the nurses ran an anti-nausea drug through my IV and I dozed off again. When I woke up again I was begging for a glass of water but I was told I wasn't allowed one until I was stable and had been moved to the ward where I would be staying.

I was excited when they started wheeling my bed off to the ward but once I started feeling the (tiny) bumps of the floor I began to wish they wouldn't move me ever again. The slightest bump felt like my hospital bed was being pushed down a flight of stairs. I dozed off again en route however and woke up a few hours later in the ward where I would spend the next 3 nights.

Mom and Nic (my sister) came to visit me at about 2:30pm and although I was very groggy I can remember them being there and wrote a few messages in my trusty notepad. The first thing I wrote in fact was, "Don't cry, Mom. You'll set me off and I can't cry like this." Just as they were leaving at 4pm my surgery team came along and were very surprised and impressed to see me sitting up in bed drinking water through a syringe. They ought to have seen me an hour earlier before I was given a syringe; I had been drinking from a cup without spilling it all over myself. Below are some of the photos my sister took for me during the visit.

Between the visiting hours I had a short nap and played on my phone. This was the first point at which I really realised my jaw was WIRED shut rather than banded as most people's are. I think it was wired because my jaw had been moved so significantly but I found it difficult to find any accounts of people being wired after jaw surgery and practically none who had had the same procedure as me in England, which was my main motivation for writing these posts as hopefully I can help others who are in the same position I was in.

The nurses helped me change in to my own pyjamas, which were shorts and a button up shirt so I could avoid putting anything over my head or near my neck. Then they helped me walk the 10 metres or so to the toilet but even that knocked me for six and I practically fell back into bed feeling awful. Of course this was the exact moment my whole family and boyfriend arrived for visiting hours so they had a very boring visit.

Had my first round of liquid paracetamol through my IV drip and it really helped numb any pain, although there wasn't really a lot of pain around my jaw anyway, just stiffness and soreness.

The next entry in my diary was at 10:17pm and I've recorded that my drains were steady at 45ml on the left and 140ml on the right. I also had my IV flushed twice, had steroids run through, antibiotics run through ("horrific"), liquid paracetamol and fluids hooked up. The antibiotics really hurt me because they syringed a fair amount (maybe 25ml?) into my canula but the pressure of them pushing on my vein made me cry every time. Other than that the canula was okay even if it did feel a little strange.

I signed off after that to read my book and try and get some sleep.

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