Modified Radical Mastoidectomy, Round 2

Yesterday I had my mastoid surgery. There was a brief moment in which it seemed the surgery might not happen. My dad was supposed to pick me up at 8am but the car (which was actually MY car that he was borrowing) broke down as he was on his way to get me!! Of course I went into full on nervous breakdown mode. I tried to call a cab but the local taxi company wasn’t even open yet and the other place I called said they didn’t service my area. I was about to start knocking on neighbors doors and begging for rides when I thought to have my dad ask our mechanic if he had a spare vehicle. Amazingly the mechanic had one and was willing to let us use it for the day! He said that he wouldn’t do that for just any customer but he considers my dad a friend. How sweet is that? So I was driven to and from the surgical center in a vehicle with a Yankees sticker and an NRA sticker on the back. And the keys were on a rifle bullet keychain. (It’s funny because I’m a Red Sox fan and a vegetarian.)

We managed to get to the surgical center at 9, which was only 15 minutes late. Everything went as usual- the check in and paperwork, the changing into hospital clothes and then the sit-and-wait. My dad stayed with me until it was time to go into the operating room.

At this place they have you walk into the operating room and climb into the table on your own. It’s kind of an odd feeling. Last year when I had the same surgery, I told the anesthesiologist that I was nervous and he gave me something that relaxed me the second I was on the table. I wish I’d told the anesthesiologist the same thing this year because it took a lot longer for me to go under this time. I was aware of being strapped to the table and aware of the sensation of the anesthetic creeping through my veins. I got that familiar buzzing sound in my head… and yet I was still awake. I did finally lose consciousness but it seemed very slow.

When I woke up I felt like I was coming out of a dream, except I couldn’t remember a thing. My mouth and throat were so dry I thought I was suffocating. I was really freaking out about not being able to breathe. My lungs felt like I had just run up 3 flights of stairs and I couldn’t catch my breath. Also I was really hot so I was fighting to kick off the blankets. There were 4 nurses around me trying to calm me down. Luckily I didn’t punch anyone. On top of everything, my ear was really sore! I was so annoyed. I wanted the nurses to fix everything- help me breathe, cool me down, make my ear stop hurting. So irritable!

After a few minutes I came to my senses and calmed down. I drank all the water and had two ice pops. My dad came in and sat with me while I gathered myself.

When I was home later, I was trying to get comfortable on the couch and I started crying again. Dave sat with me and held my hand while I wept for a few minutes. We watched the news, but I kept crying because the stories were all so sad. Then we found some comedy to watch and that helped me stop crying.

I expected that it would be a rough night because I remembered last year I had a really uncomfortable night on the couch that first night after surgery. Fortunately this time was different. I managed to create a structure of pillows to support me so that I could relax fully and not worry about rolling onto my sore ear. Of course I had the huge bandage on so no matter how I put my head there was a little discomfort. I woke up a couple of times during the night but just enough to adjust my position a little and then fall back to sleep.

In the late morning, Dave took my bandage off. There was a lot of blood on the gauze that had been behind my ear. You’d think after all I’ve been through I’d be ok with seeing my own bloody bandages but I’m not. I felt a bit like I was going to pass out but with some deep breaths and a cool washcloth to my face I got it together. Dave said the incision looked good. My head was happy to be released from the bandage.

Today I took it easy. Just hung out on the couch with my cat and my iPad, watching movies. I haven’t taken pain meds since last night. I am pretty excited about that and wonder if I will need to take them at all. My ear is tender and throbbing inside but the pain is not unbearable. I hate how the pain meds make me feel woozy and sleepy but if I try to sleep I can’t get into a deep restful sleep.

So that’s the update of for now. I’m sure I’ve been posting too much about ears so will make my next post about something more exciting.

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