Read Bob's Story

Chapter 4

An Unnerving Experience

The events of my surgery day are stored vividly in my memory.  I recall arriving at the surgery center, talking to the reception workers, and filling out paperwork.  Never having surgery meant not knowing what to expect that day.  Having had 21 surgeries since this; it’s all “old hat” to me now.  I was nervous while lying in the Pre-op area and waiting to see my anesthesiologist and surgeon.  They both speak to you and get your consent before your visit to the operating room.  It was about an hour wait in pre-op before being taken back to surgery.  Once I did go, I remember the most incredible feeling as my bed was rolled to the operating room.  I had been given me some of the drugs which are part of the anesthesia cocktail.  It felt like nothing in the world was wrong or could go wrong.  Complete ecstasy.  You don’t always get those drugs on the way to the OR, but I think they sensed my nervousness, so they injected them a few minutes early.  I was thankful.  I remember coming out of the anesthesia.  Waking  as they were removing the intubation tube from my throat, and choking for a few brief seconds.  The staff was talking to me.  Asking me to wake me up; open my eyes.  After that rough first few minutes, I regained my faculties fairly quickly.

Upon leaving it was a bright sunny summer day.  I could hardly see anything between the blinding sun, bandages, and anesthesia.  There was no pain.  I soon found out how difficult sleeping with an incision on each side of your neck and one on your forehead was going to be.  You sort of just lie there like a mummy.  Recovery was fairly fast.  At first the swelling was severe; lasting several days.  When the swelling was at its worst, there was some pretty intense pain from all of the pressure. I remember taking ibuprofen, and then seeing serous fluid actually leak out of the pores of my cheeks as it relieved the swelling.  It looked like my cheeks were crying.  Little teardrops everywhere.  That’s how much pressure was being exerted on my skin from the inside.  Once that swelling went down, I was well on the way to recovery.  I returned to work about five days later.

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