Jody’s Jaw Journey – Part V

Once the staff was informed I was staying, they started coming in to see me. My blood sugar was checked and was high (not surprising considering all of the sugar from the juice). Someone came in with needles and told me they were going to give me two needles in my belly. One was a shot of insulin and the other was a liquid blood thinner to help protect me from getting any post-surgery blood clots. I wasn’t happy about getting a shot of insulin, since I manage my blood sugar well with oral medication, but hey, if you were going to give me a shot in my belly anyhow, now is the right time to do it.

Another person came in with the cup of 3 Tylenol and a larger styrofoam cup with a lid and a straw. Eeech! The larger cup had thickened water in it. I got the pills down and handed that cup back to the attendant. I (nicely) said something about not being able to enjoy the thickened water and also, I didn’t think a straw was a good idea since I had stitches across my entire lower jaw.

About 2 hours after that, just after lunch, an attendant came in to tell me that they were going to start me on a painkiller. Now, I hadn’t asked for one, even though, when asked, I did say my pain was pretty constant at a 6 level, even with the Tylenol, but trust me, I wasn’t going to turn it down. She told me that I would be taking oxycodone, with which I was quite familiar. Oxycodone is what I was prescribed after I’d had my teeth removed prior to getting dentures, and it basically replaced what used to be called Tylenol 3, which was Tylenol with codeine. I didn’t want it for pain as much as I wanted it to knock me out and give me some real rest. The good news, in addition to that, was that I was now allowed to have non-thickened liquids (I may have said aloud, “Thank you, Jesus”). I immediately asked for a large cup filled first with ice, to the brim, and then filled with water, no straw needed. I guzzled so much of it that it gave me a case of brain freeze, and yes, I’d do it again!

Shortly after that, another attendant came in with a little cup of what looked like mouthwash and a plastic bin. I was supposed to gently swish it from side to side over my lower gums and then very gently spit it out. I was told I would have to repeat the process after I ate dinner. Not a biggie to me.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful. I was offered assistance with a sponge bath, but I declined. I’d taken a shower on Monday morning and didn’t think I’d gotten that dirty, plus I had a shower in the bathroom and was perfectly capable of bathing myself if I needed to. (Also, I know they are professionals, but I have body issues and prefer not to expose my body unless absolutely necessary). Meanwhile, I kept watching the clock, wondering when Dr. Rohloff was going to show up and let me know how the surgery went and what I needed to do and what I could expect in the next few weeks. There was a TV in my room, for which I had the remote, but I watch so little TV anymore that I wasn’t really interested in it. The pain pill didn’t make me drowsy, nor do much for the pain, but I got my Kindle out and would read a couple of chapters, then turn it off and close my eyes for a bit.

The three Tylenol tablets were dispensed every 8 hours, the pain pill was dispensed every 5 hours, my blood sugar was checked every 8 hours, and I received two liquid blood thinner shots that day, though I can’t remember how far apart they were. Donna, next door, was still coughing, but not as often and with a much drier cough, meaning not much of the continuous hacking. No one ever looked inside of my mouth or asked me if I had any issues. While the staff was amazingly kind and caring, I honestly could have been a patient with absolutely no recent surgery because no one seemed concerned about the fact that I had just had surgery other than to give me blood thinners and dietary restrictions!

Meanwhile, I spent much of the day awaiting a visit from my surgeon to talk to me about the surgery and anything good and/or bad associated with it. I didn’t totally give up on a visit until after 9 PM. By that time, I was back in the chair instead of on the bed, finding it much more comfortable once I realized it had a footrest like a recliner. I also had a pretty view out of my 8th floor window, at least until sundown. I sat there, feet propped up and blanket wrapped around my bare legs, dozing off at times and at times just resting. This was my view:

It was around 10 PM when my next dose of a pain pill was brought in. I actually turned it down and said that it wasn’t having any kind of effect on the pain, so I didn’t see the point of taking it. The (cute and charming) male nurse said that he could double the dose, since it was just a 5 mg. pill, and he nudged me into understanding that I had nothing to lose by trying it. So I agreed to the double dose.

And then, I slept. Sitting up in the chair with my feet propped up, a light blanket covering my legs, I slept. I slept for about 4 hours without waking for any reason, and when I woke up, I felt like a different person! I stayed in that position, still resting but not sleeping. When the (cute and charming) nurse checked in on me about 4 AM, I gave him a thumbs up sign and said, “Thank you. I slept.” He asked if I needed anything else, and I told him that I would love to have a cup of coffee but I doubt that the kitchen had any ready that early. He said he could get me coffee and asked me if I wanted 6 oz., 10 oz. or 12 oz. Of course, I went for the 12 oz. size, with 3 creamers. Oh my gosh, one sip and I wondered if I could get some coffee upon entering heaven, because it was heavenly good! When the nutritionist came in around 6:30 AM, I asked for 2 cups of coffee (thinking they would be small) and a bowl of grits. Now, suddenly, I couldn’t have grits, however! I ended up ordering oatmeal, and it was as bad as the coffee was good. It was very sticky, and the texture felt like it was only half-cooked. I took two bites, pushed it away, and prepared my two fairly large cups of coffee to enjoy, which I did. Meanwhile, with the uncertainty of discharge, I had to order lunch and dinner at the same time. Now being able to have regular liquids, I ordered some chicken broth, but when I asked, was told I could have neither crackers nor a plain piece of bread to put into it to add some texture. I was going to have the baked tilapia but was told that it would still need to be pureed. Seriously, tilapia is a very flaky fish and falls apart with the least amount of pressure to its flesh, but they still had to puree it? No thanks. (Fortunately, I would not be staying for lunch or dinner!)

About 10 AM, a person I wasn’t familiar with (which made me assume he was a doctor) came in with a bunch of paperwork, which was passed on to me with the statement that these were all of the papers needed for my discharge. I wasn’t surprised by being discharged. I’d already gathered up most of my belongings in preparation. I got out of the hospital gown and into my own clothes, then sat down to read all of the discharge paperwork. I was expecting someone would be coming to get me – with the standard wheelchair – to take me down to the lobby. I read the paperwork again, including the fact that I needed to be out by noon to avoid an additional day’s charges. 11:30 AM came and I’m still in the room, bag packed and ready to go. At 11:40 AM I stripped the bed and pillows of linens (hospitality training never fully dies, I guess) and at 11:50 AM, I grabbed my bag and left the room.

I found the elevator, took one to the first floor, and ended up in the main lobby of the hospital. I asked at the desk how I could get over to the emergency room area because that was where I was parked. Guess what? You can’t get there from the main lobby except by going outside and going around the building to the ER entrance. Fortunately, because of the size of the hospital and its parking lot, there were courtesy drivers to take people where they needed to go because the main parking lot was across the street, so I requested one. Mr. John took me around the building (it took 4 minutes driving time, so I’m glad I didn’t opt to hoof it!) and I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw my car. I tipped Mr. John $3.00 and went to my car, unlocked it, threw my things inside and climbed into the driver’s seat. At that point, my mind repeated the words, “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”

The check engine light, of course, came on and stayed on and all I could do was hope that I would make it to the drugstore to pick up prescriptions (pain pills and mouthwash) and home. My mechanic’s garage is just a little over a mile from home, and if worse came to worse, I could get towed there using my AAA, so I just wanted to make it home. Thankfully, mid-day traffic wasn’t too bad and I was at the drugstore about 45 minutes later. I waited at the drive-thru window. When it was my turn, guess what happened? If you’ve been paying attention, you probably guessed that I was told the pick-up wasn’t ready yet and I should wait about 20 minutes.

I got my prescriptions after the wait, got home, grabbed my belongings and walked in the door. Belongings got dropped on the floor of my bedroom, coat hung on the doorknob of the front door, shoes kicked off and slippers acquired, a large glass filled with Brita ice cubes and cold Brita water was also acquired. and my butt hit the recliner. The rest of Wednesday and all of Thursday was resting, doing a little bit of reading, watching some movies (in pieces on Amazon Prime) and napping if I could. By Thursday morning, I was able to treat the pain with Tylenol and only took the pain meds at bedtime for Thursday and Friday to make sure I was able to sleep, and even weaned myself back to two doses of Tylenol, one when I got up and one mid-afternoon.

I assumed the worst was over… (and you know what assume does, right?)

11 thoughts on “Jody’s Jaw Journey – Part V

  1. At least you had a pretty view while you were in the hospital. (I try to find the silver lining in all situations.) Of course, a cute and charming male nurse does not hurt, either. 😉

    I read with bated breath about your drive-thru pharmacy experience. I did not think about the waiting times thus far because my mind went straight to the car’s check engine light. That was a nice twist!

    I was happy to see you made it home and all was well until I got to the end. Now that is what I call a cliffhanger ending! So well written, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The staff (especially Mr. Cute and Charming) who coddled me, the buttered grits I had for breakfast on Tuesday morning and the view out of my window were the positive things to be said about my hospital stay!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I misunderstood the timeline here – clearly the view was autumn weather. Glad to hear you made it home safely – WITHOUT the help of proper discharge procedures. What’s with the thickening agents? Never heard of that before.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This entire situation played out until December 1st, and as it turned out, there was quite a lot to write about (hence the multiple posts and why it’s taken me so long to write them all out). As for the thickening agents… I don’t know why they even exist – I merely hope I don’t even have to have them again! I’d learn to swallow medications dry if that or the thickening agent in a liquid were my only choices!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ‘The prescription of thickeners reduces aspiration risk in people with dysphagia and helps prevent common complications, such as dehydration, pneumonia, reduced quality of life and economic burden’ – well of course! It’s to prevent liability. ha ha gross

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As were the shots of liquid blood thinners and the ongoing doses of maximum strength of Tylenol. I don’t agree with hospitals being so ‘proactive’ with pre-emptive treatments that might not be necessary. But yes, for liability reasons as well as the high prices they charge insurance companies for each treatment are reasons to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Girl, I kept shaking my head in disbelief! I have had quite a few surgeries and this just blows my mind at how you were treated. I mean yes, I am glad they were very kind to you, but …. ! Glad you made it home OK! And I may have “smacked my head ” at your last line.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It took me a while until I was able to just shake my head and roll my eyes at this whole fiasco. I wasn’t angry, just relieved to walk out of there not losing my sh*t at all of the insane things that happened. And yet, there was more to come…


  9. Oh would totally understand being angry! I am curious, did the hospital send you a survey to fill out about your stay? I always get them. I would have been real honest with it if they did.

    Liked by 1 person

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