On that Thursday, the day after I came home, I did a more thorough reading of the seemingly too many pages included in my discharge packet. On one page, I was told to schedule a follow-up appointment with the surgeon for the week after. On a different page, I was told to wait a week and then schedule a follow-up appointment with the surgeon. My pain was so minimal that I was willing to wait a week before scheduling that appointment. Meanwhile, on Friday morning, just 2 days post-surgery, this was the face that looked back at me from the bathroom mirror:
Man, I thought the bruising I experienced from the fall was ugly enough, but it was no match for the bruising I got from the surgery! This was much more bruising and much darker, but it did not last as long as the previous bruising had. Meanwhile, ever grateful that no one would look at me like I was crazy, I donned my mask whenever there was a chance I would see someone (even in the communal lobby when I went to check the mail). I did manage to make an appointment with my mechanic, who was crazy busy as it was, and learned that the check engine light was on because I needed to replace a camshaft solenoid (whatever that is!) to the tune, with tax, of almost $165. When it comes to vehicles, it’s been my experience that anything maintenance is always going to be costly, so I actually was almost pleasantly surprised at that cost only being that much.
On the Wednesday that marked a week since I’d left the hospital, I called to schedule my follow-up appointment. While I suspected I had gotten dissolvable stitches, I could still feel them in some places. I also had a place on the left side of my lower jaw that felt like the stitches had come apart and when my tongue ran over that space, I could tell that it felt different than the rest of my jaw. When the person answered my call, I explained that I was calling to schedule a follow-up appointment with my surgeon. The response I got was something to the effect that they normally don’t schedule follow-ups for the surgeons. I explained that I had paperwork from the hospital stating in two places that I needed to follow up with the surgeon, and that I had concerns about the stitches that hadn’t dissolved and the potential hole in my flesh where the stitches did not hold the spot together.
I finally got a scheduled appointment by phone for 3:30 PM on Friday, November 18th. About an hour later, I got a confirmation text of the scheduled appointment – same date but at 3:40 PM. It’s become obvious to me that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing from having two different sets of instructions for when to schedule a follow-up appointment, but I decided I’d stick with the 3:30 PM time because I don’t mind being early somewhere, but I get anxiety if I’m not there a few minutes early, never mind late. It was supposed to be another 45-minute drive, so I left home at 2:30 PM. Since I was heading to the same town as the hospital, I did feel like that much of my driving felt a little bit more familiar. My GPS got me to the address on Eighth Street with about 7 minutes to spare (again, construction, one-way streets and school buses). I pulled up, to the address but was concerned, because the numbered building was merely a duplex house with no signage. I pulled out my paperwork and realized that it was I who had erred, that I’d let the GPS default to Eighth Street but the address I wanted was on Eighth Avenue. I corrected the information in my GPS and it reported back to me that I was 8 minutes away (so I would arrive at 3:31 PM). Of course, the GPS does not take into account the traffic, road construction and school bus continual stops. At 3:35 PM, I started calling the main phone number, wanting to alert someone that I was just a few minutes out but was on my way. I kept getting the message telling me to leave a message for a return call. After getting that same message three times, I dialed the main number and tried a different option from the menu and managed to get a live person. I was informed that I was already late, and I needed to get there before 3:45 or I would lose my appointment time. (It was another not rude but certainly not nice person I spoke to – perhaps that’s a qualification that employees have to have before they can be considered for a job?)
I got there at 3:41 PM and registered. Because I’m a bit anal-retentive, I had extra copies of every piece of paperwork I had been given since entering the hospital, so I save them time and cost by needing to make their own copies. I didn’t have a very long wait before I was called to go into an exam room.
Less than 10 minutes later, a man of obvious Asian heritage entered my room and introduced himself as Dr. Kim. I was expecting to see my surgeon but agreed to allow him to look inside my mouth. There was, indeed, a place on the top of my left jaw that had pulled apart and he said that what I could feel was a bit of a metal plate that was used to help connect my jaw. I obviously couldn’t see it, but I was pretty sure it was about a 1″ length that hadn’t closed correctly. Dr. Kim said he would give me Novocain and re-stitch it for me. And then the real fun (hear that word with sarcasm) started.