December 7, 2010 (the night before surgery): anxiety set in at high levels !!! So bare in mind, pre-surgery you can't eat or drink anything after midnight....I am a mother of two terrific kids so I allowed them to select where we had dinner because I was not up for cooking. For dinner, we went to McDonald's...yes you are reading this correctly / my last meal and it was at McD's!!! I had a crispy honey mustard chicken wrap, small fry, diet coke and splurged for a caramel sundae. On a good note, my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew met us at McD's so we got to spend some time together before surgery. Now, as I am looking back...I would have definitely selected an "all out" last meal pre-surgery
I'll add without getting too personal...the hospital where I was to have my surgery gave me a list of "To Do's"... the night before and the morning of surgery: wash all your bed linens, shower/bath with this special anti-germ rinse from head to toe, fresh laundered clothing, wear comfortable clothing - okay seriously who has that kind of time leading up to surgery to wash their linens and laundry several times in additional to everything else required, not to mention I had finals for three college courses, office work and make sure my kids had everything they needed ??? I was forced to tackle the mountain high pile of laundry to get to my comfy clothes :(
I barely slept...tossed and turned (I think I even hit Craig a few times during my restless night), I kept asking myself was this the right thing to do, the severity of the surgery, the risks, the costs, all of the above and then some.
December 8, 2010 - get up at 4am: shower to disinfect (LOL) per the hospital instructions, be at the hospital by 6am for check-in. Craig, Kayla and I arrive...my Mom met us at the hospital; they almost immediately called me back - forcing me to say a very quick good bye which was very difficult! I remember kissing my husband and him hugging and holding me tightly telling me everything was going to be okay and he'd be there for me when I woke up.
The surgery was scheduled for 8am....and the procedure was expected to last five or more hours. As they were preparing me for surgery, the usual stuff; vitals, tests, questions, meet all the team, etc...well then came blood work - let's just say my veins did *not* cooperate!!! as usual !! They put me in this vacuum seal warming unit to raise my temperature in hopes to improve my veins...and after much time, finally my veins cooperated. (I'm wishing I had one of those warming units at home) I'm always COLD!!!
As I met with the doctors, nurses, etc. I became more and more nervous about everything...they asked a ton of questions and then my family medical history...and here's where all kinds of "alarms" went off...I can thank my brother for that (love him dearly) As a young child, my brother was diagnosed with MH - Malignant Hyperthermia, and while I don't understand all the details I do know it is an inherited disease that can cause rapid rise in body temperature and severe muscle contractions when an affected person receives general anesthesia... Well let me tell you... I then had the privilege of meeting and having on board multiple doctors and some of the best so I'm told. The doctors explained to me, even though I have had general anesthesia in the past and did okay with mild side affects, that often MH can be triggered without any warning at anytime.
I vaguely remember coming around... I was confused, in extreme PAIN, pressure, severe headache, unable to open my mouth, barely open my eyes, felt as if I could not breathe, could not communicate, nose bleeds, and then there was the swelling. It was the strangest feeling I have ever experienced! Okay, so if you can imagine your mouth being banded completely shut, bandages on your nose to stop the bleeding, extreme swelling from my eyes down to my throat...wouldn't you freak out and feel as if you can not breathe?!?!? I remember Craig coming to the recovery room and standing over me...I must have looked pretty bad; I will never forget the way he looked at me. The doctors and Craig told me the upper and lower jaw surgery went well and I would remain in ICU 1-2 days and then be moved to a surgical recovery room. Craig stayed at the hospital with me the entire time.
I want to pause for a moment and thank each and every one of you that visited the hospital, that prayed for me and my family, and the love shown to us - I am eternally grateful!