Sunday, June 23, 2019

A look back: June 22-24, 2018

Friday, June 22:  Another sick day from work, and back to the doctor's office I went.  Once more, it was "Nurse K.", but this time, she sent me to the hospital complex to get an MRI of my head (I still don't think she had a good understanding of what was going on).  I mounted a weak argument that I shouldn't have to make a second co-pay since the first visit was essentially worthless, but lost that argument (and the $30).  A couple hours later—and still driving myself around Greenville—I arrived for the MRI.  I was also to get a blood draw.  As the young lady with the needle approached, I saw the words "Student Phlebotomist" on her nametag.  However, she did a masterful job drawing some CCs out of my arm.

The MRI revealed that the last remaining tooth on my lower left was absessed—badly—and needed to be surgically removed and cleaned out.  (The wisdom tooth in that corner of my mouth partially broke off, and the rest of it removed, about 25 years ago.  The one upshot of this was that it made removal of this absessed tooth easier.)  I got a call from the doctor's office instructing me to go to the hospital emergency room across town, where they "were waiting for me," and I would be checked in with surgery to occur the next day.

Travel bag in hand, I drove next to see my wife at work and inform her of these developments.  Some of my co-workers were mildly surprised to see me; some thought I was doing better.  I then continued my drive to the hospital emergency room, where I parked the truck and went inside.  The time was approximately three o'clock in the afternoon.

The emergency room was a zoo.  (Aside:  It appears that many people travel to the ER in packs, as there seemed to be 4-6 co-travelers with each person who seemed to be needing medical attention.  Maybe this was a cultural thing, but here I was, by myself.)  Although I brought my Kindle and something else to read, the combination of pain and impatience was rough.  It was around 6:00 when I was finally attended to by somebody with medical responsibilities, and I was shunted into some sort of triage room.  A blood sample was taken again—this time by a nurse, who mangled the job.  Somewhere after 9:00 I was moved to another "preliminary" room where I was inclined to think I would be just temporarily, before getting my anticipated hospital room.  Consequently, I sat in a chair, not bothering lying down on the bed, thinking I would trouble somebody to have to change it later.  [During this part of the experience, I noticed police were with another patient down the hall who seemed to object to his presence there.]  Bad call on my part:  I wasn't moved to a hospital room until nearly midnight, when I collapsed, tired and still in pain, shortly thereafter.  It turned out to be a miserable night's sleep, as (by my estimate) a majority of the nurses on the floor needed to visit me, at regular intervals, to ascertain some element of my health.

Interlude:  Two things would normally have been much closer to my attention this week had I not been distracted badly by my jaw.  First, while I mentioned to Jennifer that Nathan had asked about marrying our daughter, we never really "discussed" it.  And I never got back in touch with Nathan.  Second, Jennifer had been in regular communication with Ohio and was realizing that her mother's health was declining.  She had asked for time off the following entire week but had procrastinated setting a specific time to depart. 

Saturday, June 23:  Somewhere along the line I had informed Jennifer that I was having surgery this morning, and while I did not see her prior to the surgery (indeed, I hadn't seen her since I left her desk the day before), she made plans to get to the hospital.  Since our truck was in the parking lot, a couple ladies from our church brought her to the hospital so she could leave at her leisure.  Things moved at a little better pace today.  I was wheeled, bed and all, to the room where I was prepped for the surgery, and in my first adult experience with general anesthesia...

Hours later, I roused and discovered Jennifer in a chair by the bed, reading.  I also discovered a tube coming out of my neck whose purpose was apparently to drain whatever needed draining from the surgery location.  I felt better, but awkward.  A meal arrived, consisting of things not normally classified as "solids."  I ate it slowly, but heartily.  Jennifer eventually left.  Another similar meal arrived at suppertime, which was similarly eaten.  Later that evening, I realized if I swished water around in my mouth to try to remove the odd "taste" that was there, some of it would come out the tube on my neck.  So I didn't do that again.

Skill learned:  Walking around the room with an IV pole that had a device on it that was plugged into the wall.

I would learn later that Daughter #2 passed her driver's test.  By SC law, a driver's ed. teacher could administer the test and complete the paperwork, but to get the actual license, this had to be taken to the DMV.

Sunday, June 24:  After another night's sleep punctuated by regular nurse's visits, I awoke feeling better and awaiting dismissal from the hospital.  Being Sunday, my wife and kids were at church, and while she would have come and gotten me whenever I asked, the slow pace of this dismissal procedure left me wondering which would happen first:  church gets out, or I get out.  After receiving paperwork and some prescription pain meds, I was dismissed shortly before noon; the next 45 minutes or so were spent on a bench outside the main doors reading the newspaper.

I came home and plans were discussed.  Jennifer would leave for Ohio on Tuesday rather than Monday, and would take the children.  Monday would be spent taking our daughter to DMV and attending to a variety of other "things you have to do before leaving town on short notice."  I would be going back to the oral surgeon—this time at his office—to have the tube removed on Monday afternoon.  I was told this would take about 15-20 minutes.  I would also plan to go to work on Monday, since I was already feeling a lot better.

I actually went to the Sunday evening service, even with this gauze-covered tube-thing on my neck, which elicited a nice amount of sympathy.  I didn't bother dressing up to my usual Sunday standard and sat in the back.  I also didn't play my cornet, either; the thought alone stimulated pain at that point in the recovery.

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