January 11, 2021

I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon today. It was mainly to check the healing of my port and lymph node incisions, which I’m happy to report are healing “very” well (doctor’s words). Since this was the first time I’ve had a chance to talk to him since my surgery, I took the opportunity to ask a couple of very important questions. First and foremost, when can I wear deodorant again? I mean, really. One incision is right under my armpit and for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been using deodorant only on one side. Thankfully, I’m not doing manual labor, so it’s not gross, but it’s weird. Seems I’m clear to use “a little” unless it becomes irritating. Yay! Small victory.

My second question was more of a confession. I wanted to know how to avoid the embarrassing recovery phase next time I have surgery. See, I have constant sinus issues and the morning of my surgery, I had been having a lot of sinus drainage. I was intubated and when I woke, I immediately had a hard time breathing because of the drainage left behind. I’ll avoid being specific, but for hours I struggled to cough up or swallow down the phlegm in my throat. Full disclosure, choking is probably top of my fear list. Needless to say, the longer the feeling persisted, the higher my anxiety went. At one point, I started a cough that sounded more like a high-pitched dog bark. The recovery nurse consulted an anesthesiologist, and I was given a breathing treatment and steroids to help reduce the swelling in my throat. FINALLY, I was able to go home. It still took me three days to be able to eat and drink without fear.

My surgeon didn’t know all the details, but I laid it out honestly for him. I know it was mostly me. I admitted that I wouldn’t have been surprised if Xanax was the next thing they were going to give me in recovery. But I want to be prepared for next time. Sadly for me, it appears they can’t just suction all the crap out of my throat after surgery. Sadly, I’ll need to be intubated for the next surgery as well. But thankfully, he listened. And not only that, he put in my chart details that made my experience sound medical and normal. There’s also a note to discuss with the next anesthesiologist. Victory!

Listening is really an underrated skill. Sometimes, just hearing what someone is saying can do wonders for lessening a burden. I’m still thankful I won’t have surgery again for months, but in the meantime, I’m thankful I have good doctors.

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