Well, I'm sitting in a room-with-a-view at Emory right now, waiting to be discharged. Originally, we thought we would be staying at least until tomorrow, maybe even Saturday. But my surgeon is very "aggressive" with getting people out of the hospital because "healthy people get sick in hospitals." And even though I'm still in some pain and feel like total crapola, I cannot wait to be in my own home. Here's a rundown of the last few days' events...
Tuesday morning we checked in again at 5:30am. Got called back for pre-op and then waited... and waited..... and waited until they finally called me down for my angiogram embolization. Got a little Versed before I went down but as soon as we got to the OR I did not feel relaxed or "dissociated" from the situation at all. But I didn't want to go under anesthesia because of the risk and also because I really kinda wanted to watch on the screen if I could. So I stayed awake, the worst part was numbing my groin (that's where they went in) and it was really just like pressure. I could see the monitor most of the time. Pretty cool stuff. Long story short: there was nothing to embolize. All of the arteries were really just to small (this was a good thing, really). So that was that.
Stayed here Tuesday night, talked to my surgeon about things like the vascular surgeon that would be on standby if they might need to graft my carotid..... you know, just in case. Got taken down to pre-op at about 7am, gave me something to "take the edge off" and that is all I remember. Woke up in recovery with a shooting pain in my leg and a pretty sore throat. Let me just say, I've never been more grateful for the "just in case" scenario. Again, I'll make the long story short: the tumor was pretty "stuck" to the wall of my External Carotid Artery (goes to the face) but came off pretty easily from the Internal (supplies blood to the brain so this is pretty darn good). But... in order to get the tumor out, they had to basically cut out a chunk of my ECA and part of the split with the ICA. They tied off the ECA (this is not something I will ever notice) and then took part of the femoral vein in my left thigh to piece between the common carotid and internal common carotid. (You know, blood supply to the brain is pretty important.) So... yea. The surgery took about five hours with all of that crazyness.
But the most frustrating part of this whole thing for me right now is that I have lost some function in my tongue. It's a possibility that the nerve got clipped in the process when the vascular surgeon was doing his thing but most likely it is just taking some time to recover from being stretched out. This makes it really hard to talk normally and even swallow water and eat food. I can do it but it just takes a lot of effort. And then add to that the scratchyness from the tube that kept me breathing and... it's not a pretty picture for my throat right now, inside or out. SO... my surgeon paired me up with a Speech Language Pathologist to help me work on some exercises for speaking and swallowing and then to also kind of prescribe a diet that will be easy for me to work with. She wants me to work on overarticulating and I couldn't help but sympathize with Eliza Doolittle.
I'm certainly not the picture of a fair lady right now but I am SO GLAD to go home.
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