Swelling From Surgery

December 2 2013 I had my parotidectomy surgery on November 20th, and at first I didn’t notice any swelling because I was totally numb, so if there was any swelling, the pressure didn’t bother me.  After 5 days the pressure from the swelling felt like it was going to pop my stitches.  I Googled swelling after surgery and what I read on more than a few websites was to use ice to help with the swelling, so I did, and it did help.

There is a tube sticking out of my neck that drains the fluids into a little bulb that is squeezed to create a vacuum.  The fluids were red at first, but then it turned pink and day by day it turned a lighter shade of pink, and after 5 days nothing came out, it was empty, but that was when the swelling started.  I think the swelling was preventing any fluids from coming out.  When I started using ice, fluid started coming out, but it was a dark color of red, much like the blood you see at the bottom of frozen meat.  When I stopped using ice, the fluid turned back to its pink shade, but not much is really coming out now.

My stitches seem to have turned white around the top and along my ear, but it is still black on my neck, but it is turning white.  My partner says that it looks like it is healing and there won’t be much of a scar at all.  I am sure there will be a scar, but it won’t be noticeable along my ear, but more on my neck.  If I grew a beard it would basically cover the scar up completely, but I’m not into growing beards.  For one, it itches like crazy and two, I am sure it would still be stubble after a month.  I don’t grow hair very fast on my face.  I can literally go for a whole week and it just looks like stubble, as if I haven’t shaved in a couple of days.  I can only tolerate it for one week, I have to shave because the itching drives me insane lol.

I will see the doctor on Friday to have the tube removed from my neck.  I really look forward to that because this tube is driving me crazy.  I keep accidentally pulling on it and that hurts like hell because it is stitched onto my neck.  I can see that it has been pulled out a little bit, but not too much.  When I first came home from the hospital after surgery they put tape on the tube on my shirt, and that tape only lasted for a few days and then I had to toss it.  I didn’t have any of the same or medical grade tape to keep it on my shirt, so I just let it hang loose, big mistake.  Last night I had the bright idea to use the packing tape that I use to tape the labels on the envelopes when I sell keychains and earrings on Etsy.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of that earlier.  It would have saved me a ton of pain.

The numbness is still there and it drives me crazy lol.  It is starting to go away so that’s good.  I was worried that I would start feeling pain again if the numbness went away because I ran out of the Percocet that the doctor gave to me after surgery.  I have prescription strength Ibuprofen, but I also have something that my regular doctor gave to me for the pain that is just as good as the Percocet, that is Tramadol, but I only take 1 pill twice a day unlike the Percocet which was 2 pills 4 times a day.  I do seem to be doing good without the pain meds though.  Occasionally I will feel what seems like I am being stuck with a needle multiple times in one spot, but it goes away after a few minutes.  It doesn’t hurt bad, but I expect there to be some pain considering my face was opened up and stitched back together after 4 hours.  No biggie.

So anyway, that is my update.

Parotidectomy Surgery

parotidectomy surgery

Yesterday was my parotidectomy surgery to remove the entire parotid gland on the right side of my face.  It’s also known as the saliva gland.  There were several stones that were blocking the path which caused the saliva to stay in my gland causing it to stretch, which hurt like a mother trucker.

When I woke up in the recovery room I was totally confused.  I had no idea where I was or how I got there.  I felt like I had been in a car accident, like a Mack truck crashed into my face lol.  That’s a bit severe, but you know what I mean.  I had trouble waking up too.  You know how when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before and people are forcing you to wake up and your body is fighting you and you can barely open your eyes?  That’s how it was waking up in recovery.  I wanted to wake up, but I was having a hard time.

The nurse came over to me to talk to me.  I asked her what happened, why I was here because I was still confused, but then the memory of what happened started coming back to me.  I said oh wait I remember.  She asked me why I was there and I said to remove my parotid gland.

The doctor came to me and was telling me what he found.  The cat scan with contrast told them that the stone was 1cm which is pretty big, but it wasn’t just 1 stone, there were 3.  After the surgery, he told me that it was the size of his pinky finger tip, you know the part of the tip that has the nail and he held his fingers up to where the finger bends.  That was how big it was.  Plus he said there was a lot of infection in the gland.  He sent it to the lab.

He wanted me to come back in 7 days to remove the tubing that is sticking out of my neck into a ball which collects the drainage, and I just called them to make that appointment, but this doctor is only in the surgery clinic on Friday’s and he won’t be there next week due to Thanksgiving.  She wanted to make the appointment for December 6th and I was like whoa, I thought I only had to have this for 7 days.  I asked her to ask the doctor to call me to tell me what to do.  Since he is only in the clinic on Friday, I hope he calls me this Friday to tell me what he suggests I do.  If I can just come in as a walk in and have them remove the tube then that would be fantastic, otherwise I will have to wait until December 6th to have it removed.

During surgery, they intubated me to help me breathe.  When I speak now, it’s with a lower volume and a softer tone.  I’m sure it’s temporary, but I kind of like it lol.

Dr. Trang at Kern Medical Center did a wonderful job with the surgery.  He made sure that my nerves weren’t damaged and the stitches are beautiful and I know it will heal nicely so you barely even notice them.  Scar cream is a bit on the expensive side, but I will use some of that to make the scar go away.

2013-11-21_13-07-57Anyway, he prescribed 2 medications for me.  Keflex which is an antibiotic and Percocet for pain.  I have never taken Percocet before so I don’t know if it’s addictive or not.  I hope not because I don’t like to have any vices.  It says it’s Oxycodone/Acetaminophen which is generic for Percocet.

I told my aunt that I was taking Keflex which by the way I’ve taken before.  She told me that it will cause a yeast infection (YIKES!) so I need to eat at least 1 yogurt a day.  My yogurt of choice is Yoplait.

I fortunately don’t have any pain and I am not as exhausted as I thought I would be.  I mean I’m not laying in bed feeling sorry for myself.  I actually have my normal amount of energy if you can believe that.  My partner said that it looks like the hole in my face is already starting to fill up.  I don’t know how, and I certainly can’t see it filling up or what it would be filling up with.  I’m positive that everything will go back into place and the scar won’t be too bad and everything will be fine.  I don’t have any worries.

Here are a few more pictures.

Growing Old (un)Gracefully

Do you mind if I vent for a few minutes about something that has been bothering me?  Of course you don’t mind, I mean, that’s why you’re here right?  To listen to me venting, I mean, that’s what a blog is right?

I don’t know what it is but the older I get, the more of a prick I become.  I don’t know why.  I mean, it could be me or it could be people constantly pushing me to becoming a prick day in and day out.

I’m constantly being pressured to do something I don’t feel comfortable doing and eating foods that I don’t want to eat for one reason or another.  No means no right?  When you say “oh no, that’s not what I want to eat” that means that’s not what the f I want to eat, does it not?  It doesn’t mean, keep pressuring me because I can’t make my own GD decisions.  It means I don’t fricken’ want it so stop GD asking me!

Oh sorry where was I?

Oh yeah, I’m going through some weird stuff with my body right now and I’m just constantly irritable because of the constant pain I’m always in.  I’m only 40, turning 41 and I feel like I’m in my 80’s.  I feel twice as old as I am.

My back is in constant pain because I have degenerative disc disease.  Do you know what that means?  Well, it’s really self-explanatory, my discs are degenerating.  It’s really simple.  Take a marshmallow and flatten it a bit.  Ok that is what the discs look like that are cushioning your spine bones.  Now, press on it and flatten it some more so it’s really thin.  That’s what my discs are doing.  So if my discs are thinning out because they are degenerating what do you think is happening to my bones?  It’s a constant pain from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep at night.

I’m losing my eyesight.  I don’t know if this is normal but all of a sudden it’s like something clouds my eyes, both of them, not at the same time obviously.  I have to rub my eyes to get it out and it’s fine but it’s constantly coming back.  My eyes aren’t that great to begin with, I mean, I’m having to look through the bifocal part of my glasses to read as I type this which isn’t a good thing since I should be able to see with the top part.

Apparently I’m also losing my hearing because every time people talk around me they are talking so low that I can’t hear a word they are saying.  I feel like I’m being left out of nearly every conversation.  I feel like yelling “SPEAK UP” but then I’m afraid of how crazy I must sound so I just ignore people who are talking and think about something else and just nod as they talk.

I have really bad carpal tunnel syndrome too so either one or both of my hands are either numb or pins and needles at any given time, usually all the time.  I can’t open jars anymore on my own, oh no I need help with that.  I have these muscles on my arms and I can’t even open a jar or a can without help.  I have a one-touch can opener because I can’t even open a fricken’ can of tuna on my own anymore.

I have people asking me if there is something wrong and asking me why I’m so irritable, and this from people who are older than I am.  It’s like, you of all people should be more sympathetic knowing how the aging process goes.

I’m only 40!!!  This isn’t supposed to happen to me!!!  I mean gawd, I’m like 15 years old on the inside but 80 on the outside.  I really hate this.

Despite this I try to be in a good mood but I have people constantly irritating me and making me feel like I have no basis for being irritable, like I’m making up the problems or something for attention then they look at me like I’m being a drama queen.  I don’t want that kind of attention, I just want people to back the f up and realize that I’m just trying to live a normal life without all of the complications that life gives me, I don’t need them adding complications by treating me like I’m nuts.

Wow you know I feel so much better now.  Thank you so much for helping me get through this.  Now GET OFF MY LAWN you dirty sonsabitches!  LOL just kidding…