Sunday, April 27, 2008

the one with no links

Tomorrow I'm going in for my fourth (FOURTH!) surgery in just over a year. The x rays showed nothing remarkable: no inflammation, nothing out of place, and no explanation for why I've still got extensive numbness. I can feel a loose something or other in my chin though, and I still have swelling on the left side of my face, it's sensitive to touch and it aches from time to time.

My surgeon initially stuck to his usual "wtf are you worrying about?" stance, and talked about waiting and being patient and bla bla BLA, which I am all for, but I also want to be HEARD.

This is concerning me and while I'm waiting, I wouldn't mind doing some non invasive shit like maybe seeing a neurologist because this is about nerves and my surgeon knows what a nerve is, he isn't a neurologist.

It was a LONG consult, almost forty five minutes, and by the end of it, he was less I'm The Brilliant Surgeon and more Ah Yes, You May Have A Point.

Maybe because I mentioned that in each one of my previous three operations, a fairly significant error has occurred.

Operation one, my maxilla was set crookedly. It was visible, it should have been checked, but the team relied on their experience and my surgeon still didn't give me the visual once over when I said "uh, dude?" while still in the ICU. When that godawful plate was removed from my wired up teeth, allowing for even more visual clarification of Holy Shit, That's Not Right, his nurse said nothing was wrong. I saw my surgeon the following week and he STILL didn't notice it until after he'd deemed me as "perfect!" and I again said "uh, dude?" while pointing to my off kilter grin. Before that, my concerns were ignored and I'd most likely been considered to simply be an overwrought patient.

That glaring fucking error was fixed three weeks after the initial surgery, and for an entire nine weeks following that, at each follow up appointment, I asked when the dissolving stitches would, you know, DISSOLVE. Each time I saw either him or his nurse - and I saw them A LOT because he'd already screwed up MONUMENTALLY so was being veddy veddy attentive this time round - was told, be patient, they'll dissolve.

I ended up cutting most of the stitching out (fercrisake) myself, which was something I could only do progressively as the swelling subsided enough to give me greater access, and then finally when there was stitching I couldn't get to because my own gums HAD GROWN OVER IT (and, uh,yes. This paragraph should probably have carried a MAJOR "eww, ick, oh my GOD" warning. My apologies, sportsfans), they cut the rest out and told me "oh yeah, there was a problem with the supplier, this suture won't ever dissolve.". To which I replied, "No shit?".


The third operation, my last, the surgeon didn't follow my instructions because the surgical team didn't read the part of the notes that said "Dermal fat graft".

I was given a fat injection instead, an operation that carries NO medicare rebate and costs upwards of 2.5K, and while it temporarily repaired the dent in my face, it also left me with a bigger, permanent dent in my upper thigh which is kinda gross, man.

The worst part of all these episodes was the feeling of not being listened too.

Which, for reasons involving a tragic childhood with a ton of neglect, boo hoo, is a feeling fraught with emotion for me.

So fucking forgive me if I was a little bit nervous to be told AGAIN to be patient, it may take up to eighteen months for the numbness to go, ESPECIALLY when I was initially told it would be six weeks, then three months, then six, then nine, then twelve.

And because of those previous experiences, I don't want to go home and wait if I feel like no one is taking my concerns seriously.

The prof has reassured me that there is no way a nerve could have been cut. He saw the it at the time of surgery, the surgery itself doesn't threaten the nerve's integrity, so he has every reason to believe it's still intact. He's never had anyone take this long to regain feeling though, so has no real idea why it's happening to me, though he kind of air thought that, if it's NOT a case of sit and wait, that maybe one of the plates has moved or some bone regrowth has got in its way or idea idea or idea.

So two plates and five screws will be removed from my chin tomorrow morning. The plate in my left cheek is going to be examined and if it looks even slightly hinky, it's coming out too. It's only coming out if it's hinky because the plates are titanium so your body kind of grows bone around it, so removing plates isn't a simple case of Undo Screw, Remove Plate. It usually involves a lot of scraping of bone away to get to the plate, which, in true shutting the door after the horse has bolted style, eww alert. Sorry.

And then we wait. If there is no improvement after three months, then I got to a neurologist and bla bla BLA.

And in celebration of this latest surgery, I amended my will last week (which is ANOTHER story ENTIRELY involving The damn Lawyer. Men, jesus) and have arranged for Daniel to stay overnight at a YB's house, and he'll be spending Monday and Tuesday in childcare this week too.

My very good friend, Enn, offered to take Daniel too, but her mother just got out of a nursing home and has moved in with her, and she requires care around the clock AND there's the twelve year old son who needs to be fed watered and taken to school too. Throwing my high energy toddler into her household? Would feel like a crime against humanity.

What a great friend though, to honestly and sincerely want to take on another responsibility amidst all her own.

*wells up with emotion*

YB works at the childcare centre and lives VERY close by, but best of all, she LOVES Daniel ("I know I shouldn't have favorites, but I LOVE him"). She wouldn't tell me how much to pay her for an overnight stay - and I think she'd do it for free because she keeps saying "we're friends, of course I'll help out"- but I can't NOT pay her. I just can't. Daniel is being delivered (by his most likely teary mother because I could die IT HAPPENS) to her at 6am tomorrow, she's taking him to work with her, bringing him home to stay, and then taking him in again in the morning, so fifty bucks is insulting, while a hundred I simply can NOT afford, even though it's the usual going rate for a standard overnighter without all the added extras. Seventy five is a good halfway between what I can just afford and what I really and truly can't, but it looks so messy with all those mismatched notes in an envelope, when sixty in the form of a neat 3 x twenty dollar bills looks neat and tidy. But sixty is also bordering on insulting when eighty is also out of my league.

Mostly, I'm as scared as all shit and am NOT going to clean my (filthy) floors today because I'd rather spend what could be my last day on this earth with my son. The plan: shower first, then train, train train, and train. And possibly MacDonald's for the play equipment, the lousy coffee and the chocolate dusted, frothy topped baby cappuccinos.


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