Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sans Tonsils

So, I did the deed today, 11 years after ENT Dr. Angus Phelts
suggested I do it. Post Abscess #1 he explained there was a 30%
chance I would get another one. Traumatized enough by needles in the
throat and my first surgery (when said needles failed to open said
abscess), I heard "there's a 70% chance you won't get another abscess."

Flash forward to a month ago (you Losties in the crowd feel me on that
line don't you!) and the telltale symptom began to manifest: throat
pain that makes you realize how many times a day you swallow, and
therefore how many times a day you would need to spit. I knew I would
face the horse needle in the throat again, it was only a matter of
when I would be trudging to the ER to man up and do it. Sure enough
when the time came my female ER physician brought with her a gaggle of
female nursing and medical students to watch, and I certainly hope
they were aghast at what they saw, and awestruck by my male toughness
at getting through it (only one tear fell, okay maybe two). With some
relief from the needle, a consult to an ENT, and a prescription for
antibiotics in tow, I made my way home from the site of my child's
birth, which made me ridiculously grateful the whole dreadful time I
was there ironically.

A few days later I'm in a patient's room waiting to meet Dr. Keith
Jackson who upon his arrival was of course asked the aforementioned
percentage query. His response: after Abscess #2, chance of Abscess
#3 becomes 90% (how badly did I want to respond "Whoa
Nelly"......badly, but I refrained). So there was really no decision
to be made, and the surgery was set, and more antibiotics were
prescribed for when I finished the first course curiously? It soon
became apparent that the abscess wasn't completely gone, and in fact I
was informed post op today by Dr. Jackson that I had them on both
sides of my throat pre-surgery (and this after 3 courses of
antibiotics folks)!

The surgery went well after I had some brief panic about the fact that
I would be getting narcotics post op. The anesthesiologist assured me
this was standard operating procedure even for people with addiction
problems, but I called Christie just so it wouldn't eat at me until I
went under, and she basically held my hand through the phone and put
me at ease. It later made me realize how my sobriety is not just
important to me, it's utterly precious, as precious as my own child,
and I had to fight back tears of gratitude so I wouldn't have to
explain to my nurse what my deal was.

Post op in the recovery room I was big time nauseous, and they did
indeed squirt some nebulous narcotic juice in my mouth before I even
had time to ponder it. Shortly thereafter in walk Stacy and Hollis
Bone, who then preceded to entertain the nurses taking care of me. As
one of the nurses was explaining my future of having difficulty
swallowing, Hollis chimed in and recounted how he had once swallowed
his missing tooth. Seriously, out of nowhere this came, so we all
need to be careful what we say around him now because the search
feature within the little database in his mind is getting much faster
these days.

The ride home was tough and I did vomit, but once I made it to my bed
and slept it off, I was decent. In fact right now I can honestly say
the pain doesn't compare to the pain of having the abscess, but
weirdly I'm just as randomly irritable as I was when after I had my
first surgery.......not that any of you are suprised by that. Right
now I'm vertical, eating bread, and drinking a melted but marvelous
vanilla Chick-fil-A milkshake, and I can't complain. In fact, this
blog post was about doing precisely the opposite, and is there a word
that captures being grateful that your grateful?!

No comments: