Thursday, I had surgery to remove a “branchial cleft cyst” from my neck. It was on the left side of my neck and was pushing out the muscle. Nobody knew it was there, except for me, and that was only because I sometimes pay attention to things. One of the things I had been noticing was that my face was “puffy”. It wasn’t where it had been. Usually, when I smile, I have “dimples” and “brackets” on both sides of my mouth. The bracket wasn’t on the left at all. It was filled in. I looked haggard, as well (in my opinion). I had a puffy spot just below my jaw on the left.
When I went to my regular doctor, he sent me to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor). We agreed in October that we’d watch it and see if it changed. It did not, so in December, he sent me off to have an MRI. That was the beginning of the whole thing. The MRI showed this lump…it was about 3.5-4 cm, I think. I’m not sure as I wasn’t measuring it. The doctor read the reports, looked at the pictures and decided that he wanted to biopsy my thyroid too, as that showed a nodule on it. That came back negative (YAY ME!), but we still needed to do something about the lump in the side of my neck.
When I saw the doctor in January, he got things going and we scheduled surgery for February 3rd.
I was scheduled to have my pre-op tests (EKG, etc) on the 1st, but that didn’t happen as planned. I got to the hospital, was checked in, but they didn’t have orders. They couldn’t get in touch with the doctor’s office because we had had an ice storm Monday night and nobody was in the office. No big deal. We just went over my medical history, then I left. I was told to return at 8:00 am on Thursday.
Thursday came and I went to the hospital with my husband. I got there, they took me to the back, put me in a room and had me gown up in the typical hospital gown. Then they came in and tried to start an IV. The one nurse stuck me once but the vein blew. She tried a second time and the other vein blew. Then she called in reinforcements, who tried on my arm. THAT vein blew! (I was dehydrated, which didn’t help). They finally got the IV into my left hand (thank you, not the right!!), ran the EKG (normal!) and then had me take one last test (apparently, if you’re a female, no matter how old you are, you get this test).
The anesthesiologist came in, talked to me and told me how things would go. Then his assistant came in and gave me my first “shot” into my IV. I was coherent until about 9:45 when I think they came in to take me to the OR.
The next thing I know, I’m waking up in recovery, being sick (thanks to being extubated) and listening to the nurses talk to the guy across from me who was fighting to lay on a hip that they had just replaced. I went back to sleep because they gave me a dose of something to prevent me from being nauseous and slept for another hour. When I woke up, my doctor came in and talked to me. He was able to get the entire cyst, without taking my tonsils (that was a concern, that the cyst had compromised my tonsils) and I was going to be fine. The only thing he said was that he’d had to cut a nerve in my face, a ‘sensory nerve’ and he thought it would have affected my ear. Surprise…not my ear, but under my chin. I now feel like I’ve been hit with a huge dose of Novacaine. Right now, the numbness moves around from my incision to the side of my jaw and back to underneath my chin.
The surgery was “outpatient” surgery, which meant that I got the time in the OR, plus 23 hours in observation. I spent the night, quite restlessly, having my blood pressure taken, getting an IV infusion of antibiotics, sleeping through various programs on television and annoying my nurses. I had a lovely young lady from Nepal who was my night nurse. She was sweet and very kind. She took pictures of the snowfall that we had Thursday night and showed them to me when I woke up at 4:30. I was awake off and on from 4:30 until 7:00, when my husband showed up with my clothes. The nurses came in and told me that my doctor wouldn’t be in to see me in the morning as he was snowed into his house (6-8 inches of snow fell Thursday night. Texas isn’t used to that!).
They discharged me and I was free to come home. We got here about 9:00, after leaving around 8:00. I was very happy to get here. My cat was waiting for me–he missed my lap, apparently!
There are no restrictions on my activity. I haven’t taken a single pain killer since I left the hospital. They would have written me a prescription for oxycodone, but I didn’t want it and don’t need it. I just have to get used to having stitches in my neck and the numbness, which I hope will go away when he takes the stitches out on Tuesday. I’m off from work all week, and will work on sleeping (yes!!), and getting re-hydrated. I know that part of the problem with the blown veins was me, but I’ll work on that.
Now to move on to bigger and better things!!