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sleepy, happy surgery day

January 29, 2010

I’m working on a thorough explanation of my day, but for now I’ll sum it up.

Mama, Jonathan, Jamie, and I got to the hospital around 10am this morning. After a lengthy pre-op I went into surgery about 1:20pm. I had two really amusing anesthesiologists, plus three friendly doctors (or two doctors and a resident – I’m not sure), and several nurses. They used a local anesthesia along with calming/relaxing drugs. They also put cocaine (no lie) in my nose so they could stick a camera tube into my throat at different points during the surgery. Cocaine is evidently good for shrinking your nasal membranes… I was aware of everything which made the process really interesting – and not scary or disgusting at all. They answered my questions and only gave me a few times I couldn’t talk or swallow. I was really impressed by Dr. Klein’s experience that became evident as he was explaining things to the other two doctors.

I was wrapped up like a bug in a rug (or a crazy person in a loose straight jacket). My eyes were covered to keep the light out, but Dr. Klein did move the towels long enough to show me the gortex they were putting in my throat. They cut through the skin and moved the muscles aside to get to my thyroid cartilage. I think they ended up cutting a little bit of the muscle away for easier access. Then they removed a 3mm x 5mm piece of cartilage to make a window to my right vocal cord.

At this point they began testing pressure in different places to find out where they would eventually put the implant. I would count to 10, hold a low eeeee sound, occasionally a high one, and shout. We eventually settled on shouting “heads down, stay down” which is our flight attendant emergency evacuation command – and probably the only thing I’ve ever really shouted. He would tell me to speak and we would all comment on the results. Sometimes it was raspier, sometimes it was clearer but with an obvious strain. I did get one that was a slightly higher tone, which I told him would be fine with me if it was the best one. The one we eventually settled on was basically like my voice except clearer and louder. One of the people in a more distant part of the room even commented that it was definitely the loudest one.

They finally got it in place and stitched me back up. There is a drain under a bandage, but they said I didn’t bleed very much so the drain will probably come out in the morning. I listened as they instructed the resident (?) on how to do a stitch that will allow the drain to be removed and not have to put another stitch in. Like I said, it was a really interesting process.

I spent about 2.5 hours in recovery mostly dozing and being given medicine. My room wasn’t ready and eventually they took me to another room. I feel like I have done an inordinate amount of waiting today (along with my mama, Jamie, Jonathan, my Uncle Norborne, and Charity who stopped by but I couldn’t see her cause I was still in recovery.) Other than that it’s been a great experience. It is a very calm, friendly environment here.

I talked a lot when I first got in the room and told what I could remember before I forget all the details. Now my neck is sore. The nurse finally brought me some apple juice, broth, and medicine so I’ll probably sleep soon. It’s been a long and wonderful day.

I have been surrounded by love in person and via phone, facebook, email, and skype. God continues to be good to me – as He always has been – and I feel so very loved. My mama is spending the night here at the hospital with me, and we expect to be discharged in the morning when the doctors do their rounds.

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