Maxillofacial Surgery | Operation Day | Beginning Recovery

For those of you have been keeping up with my unexpected salivary gland tumor process…I finally received a new operation day and things happened pretty quickly once I did. Before I knew it I was heading into Broomfield Hospital on the 5th August for my pre-ops and blood work.

The Pre-Op included the usual height, weight and blood pressure. They also talked me through the process for on the day, what happens when I go in, how many hours or days I should be in hospital and I could ask any questions…of which I had plenty. I wanted to know how long I was going to be under anesthetic, how long I should expect to be in Hospital for, fasting before the operation etc. I was then expected in for 11.30am on the 11th August for my actual operation!

As usual, if you prefer video content please scroll to the bottom of this post for the Youtube video (yes I was crazy enough to take the camera with me to record as much as I could)

Operation Day

Now I was beginning to get nervous, I was able to have a light breakfast until 7.30am and could then drink water until 11am. Saying goodbye to my girls was the hardest part but I did so confidently, I felt like I could have squeezed them and never let go.

We got to the hospital, Ricky was allowed to stay with me in the waiting room but when I was called in he wasn’t allowed any further so spent the day in the Hospital foyer. I was first on the list because my Surgery was expected to take the longest and things moved a lot quicker than I expected.

I had bloods taken again, was given my gown and stockings. The Anesthetist came round to see me and go through what was going to be happening, we talked through any concerns I had regarding being put to sleep and the possibility of sickness afterwards. The chances of me being sick after were quite high as after my epidural I was sick, after the C-Section I was sick and I get motion sickness, this meant they could manage it better by giving me some anti-sickness through the cannula upon waking. Thankfully this helped and I wasn’t sick.

The Surgeons then came round to see how I was feeling and go through everything again, this is when I also signed consent forms. Shortly after this someone from the team came and called me down for my operation!

The Operation

I walked down with one of the medical team who tried to make general chit-chat but because I was nervous at this point I was pretty quiet. The anesthetist who saw me previously was in the room when I got there and I was instructed to lay on the hospital bed. They then began trying to find the best place for my cannula, this proved difficult because I have such small ‘pin-hole’ veins I’ve now been told several times! They were trying both hands and one eventually got it! Then I was given the oxygen mask and had to take some deep breaths, I started feeling rather light headed. They constantly checked how I was feeling and then let me know they were starting the medicine through the cannula that would send me off to sleep. That’s all I remember.

Recovery

I don’t remember waking up, in fact, I don’t remember much of being in recovery at all. Apparently I kept drifting back off and I had low blood pressure which could have contributed to my time in recovery because I was actually there for 2 hours. I remember the nurse who didn’t leave my side telling me the surgery took longer than expected and I’d been down for 5 hours. When they were happier with my blood pressure and I was more alert they felt comfortable to move me onto the ward.

They took me up to the ward and I saw Ricky holding the doors waiting for me and I lifted my arm to wave, I just remember feeling extremely tired and a heaviness; I couldn’t really lift my head. I could talk but only very slowly, my mouth felt dry but I was so pleased to see Ricky! He wasn’t supposed to stay for long because it was outside of visiting hours, but knowing he’d been there all day waiting for me and that there had been a complication somewhere along the line they let him stay with me for longer.

In short though, I went down for my operation at 1.15pm, I came out and onto recovery at 6.15pm. I left recovery and was brought up to my room on the ward at 8.15pm. I don’t remember what time Ricky left, it was quite late and I fell asleep.

Recovery Continued

However, I didn’t get much sleep at all because my blood pressure remained low the nurse staff were coming in every 30mins then every hour to check it and do my observations.

The Doctor also came to see me because they had realized I couldn’t move the right side of my face and it was drooping down. They were most concerned for my eye as it wasn’t blinking, so it could have dried out and effected my vision. To prevent that from happening they put Chloramphenicol in my eye and then taped it shut (as you will see in the video). This made it even more difficult to get some sleep because I could fee my eye lid pushing against the cotton bud they’d taped over it trying to open, it was a feeling my body just needed to get used to in order for it to sleep I think.

I’m so thankful for the care I received while I was in the Hospital, it was amazing. I saw so many Doctors and a facial physiotherapist who gave me some really helpful tips and advice before I left. At the moment, there’s no explanation as to why my face isn’t moving because when they tested the nerves with their various tools and machines the results show no nerve damage which is a great thing. The facial physiotherapist seems to think that because the tumor was a lot bigger than initially thought (they last saw it on an MRI I had done over a year a go) that the nerves were probably stretched, poked, prodded etc. Hopefully they just need time to heal and recover from the ‘shock’ of the procedure.

Going forward, I’ve got to give it six weeks and see what happens. If there’s no improvement in my face, in particular my eye then I’ve got to go back in. I’ve also got to have stitches removed and an appointment in a couple of weeks to discuss the histopathology results where they run tests on the tumor once it’s removed to try and determine how it came to be.

Should be interesting, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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