Monday August 31, 2009

I’ve been waiting to write this blog until the experience of John’s surgery was over, and there’s a reason you’re just now seeing it. Technically, the ordeal isn’t over … more than a week later.

This whole thing started nearly a month ago when John was kept up with horrible teeth pain. He had a feeling he knew what was up, considering he had been told for a couple of years that his wisdom teeth were coming in wrong. The pain started during the first weekend of August and he got an emergency appointment the following week with his dentist, who confirmed that the problem was impacted wisdom teeth. One definitely had to come out and really the recommendation was for all four to be pulled. Several factors made it to where they couldn’t be pulled in the dentist’s office so John was sent to an oral surgeon who confirmed the diagnosis. The entire process of getting to the dentist, the oral surgeon and getting the surgery scheduled took more than a week, during which John dealt with a lot of pain and we both were on pins and needles wondering what would happen.

Surgery was set for an eternity away, Aug. 21. John was nervous and I was nervous for him. A quadruple wisdom tooth extraction is far from serious surgery, but there were two issues at hand: A) John has never been “under” before, making it all new to him, and B) he has a tendency to have the opposite of the average or normal reaction to many medications–or, he has twice the normal amount of side effects. Neither possibility sounded terribly appealing to either one of us!

We both took Aug. 21, Friday, off from work and I had John to the surgeon’s office by 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes early (amazing considering I was involved, I know). I took my laptop with the expectation of waiting several hours and having to do it alone. When we arrived at the office, we were guided through the take-home kit and the homecare instructions. All pretty simple, but I think it was still a little overwhelming for John. The surgeon’s office was incredibly helpful and the take-home kit included a water bottle (which he couldn’t use because they had accidentally been given the wrong kind…the kind that provides suction when you drink, which is a no-no after this surgery), gauze to stuff in his mouth until the bleeding stopped, take-home instructions and contact information for the doctor’s office.
Here’s all the “loot” we got

They took John back for the surgery and I politely greeted the other person waiting in the taiting room. Mike was actually a really nice, interesting fellow and we chatted until it was time for him to take his friend home. Then I started talking to the receptionist, Wendy. I never even took my laptop out of the bag.

In what seemed like no time at all, the doctor was coming out to tell me the surgery went well, better than expected. After about half an hour, I went to the car and John was wheeled out in a wheelchair with his head wrapped in an ice pack and mouth filled with gauze. The nurse helped a very groggy and disoriented John get in the car and we were on our way. I dropped off his prescriptions at the pharmacy and discovered it would take
nearly 2 hours to fill so I took John home. I went back to the store to get him food he could eat (tough since most wet, soft foods are sweet and he doesn’t like sweets!) and got his medicines. He had a wide variety of food including blueberry frozen yogurt, jello, and pudding. Here’s a bit of what my husband “feasted” on all weekend (including the drugs!)
 

Upon arriving home, I figured we were in for the day and that John would just go to sleep for most of it. I was wrong on both counts! We noticed something was suddenly wrong with one of our cats. Missy was running  around the house in a panic, walking sideways and trying to get to something on her back. She wouldn’t let me examine her and John was in no position to help so we agreed she needed to be seen right away by the vet. I think it was the sideways walking that really had us concerned.

The vet examined her and she was clearly in pain. The problem was, there was no outward signs of injury. He thought maybe she had been attacked or bitten outside and gave her a shot to help with swelling, healing and pain. He sent me and Missy home with instructions to keep her inside, quiet and to watch for signs of infection, etc. She went home and slept the rest of the day, woke up Saturday acting almost completely normal. We still kept the cats in all weekend as a safety precaution, but we thought all danger had passed.

Well, back to John. Remember how I said we figured he would go home and sleep all day? Well, also remember how I said he tends to have the opposite of a normal reaction? The poor guy was up all night with no real sleep (dozing at the computer for 10 minutes doesn’t count!) until after 7 a.m. Saturday. He slept most the day Saturday but was doing well enough on his own that I went to church on my own Saturday night.

You might be wondering why there are no funny pictures of John at this point. I was too busy Friday dealing with my two patients to care about a photo then. I figured there would be plenty of chances! Truth be told, he never looked that bad, except for when they first brought him out in the wheelchair. He swelled some, but it didn’t look like anything but as if he had put on a few pounds. His beard hid any bruising.

We thought John would be well enough to go back to work on Monday but he actually felt worse on that day. So he went back to the doctor and learned he had an infection, which had prevented the clots from healing properly. This meant more antibiotics, more prescription pain medication and still no work because as a machinist, he wouldn’t be able to perform his duties.

John ended up being forced to miss all this last week. He was cleared by the doctor to return Friday for a one-day work week, but his workplace sent him home because they had concerns about his health after being on so much medication for that long of amount of time. It turns out, they were right. He’s spent this last weekend going through mild withdrawal symptoms such as grogginess and just feeling “blech”.

It’s now Sunday night and we expect he’ll return to work tomorrow. He still aches, but it’s nothing regular strength Ibuprofen can’t handle. He still is eating pretty soft food and is craving nachos of all things. We both look forward to when he is back to his old self.

Missy, on the other hand, is still having issues. I took her back to the vet last Friday for her annual shots and checkup. The vet checked the sore spot again and it was better, but obviously still very tender. We have instructions to keep her quiet and watch her to see if it gets better. If it doesn’t, the next step is x-rays, which we would like to avoid both because of the cost and the trauma for Missy.

So through it all, the Smith family is coming out OK. It’s been an interesting week to say the least but at least it gave me something to blog about!

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