Surgery

8 Apr

I actually managed to sleep pretty well last night, which these days means five hours without interruption. It may be because I was exhausted from not sleeping well since the accident, or it may be that I started taking Vicodin to ease the pain.

When I awoke, the swelling in my face seemed to have subsided a little bit, but I was skeptical that the improvement was enough so that the surgeon would be able to work on me. Shortly after I had finished changing the dressings on my wounds (a rather laborious process due to the large number of abrasions), my ride arrived, and it was time for me to leave for the surgeon’s office.

When I got into the surgeon’s office, a man whose position I don’t know (but he certainly wasn’t the surgeon) had me confirm that I was on an empty stomach. He then seated me in a chair, put a mask over my face, and put me on laughing gas. I had never been on laughing gas before, and I didn’t find this pleasant in the slightest. This was partly because it gave me a sharp pain in the top of the head. Furthermore, the man tried to make small talk with me while I was on laughing gas, and I found it more painful to talk while on laughing gas than usual. I suspected that this was because I had adapted my jaw motions to minimize pain since the accident, but that the laughing gas didn’t allow me this level of control. I’m not much of a small talker to begin with, so I was thoroughly annoyed with this man, and I considered responding to him with a string of expletives. I thought that I could get away with it because I was under the influence of the laughing gas, but my better judgment prevailed. The man eventually realized that I had stopped answering his questions and saw the pained look on my face, and he shut off the laughing gas. As he did so, the surgeon walked in, and told him to put an IV in my arm.

The next thing I remember, I had woken up with my mouth wired shut and the surgeon was telling me that he hadn’t quite been able to get my bone to stay in place without wiring my jaw. He told me he wanted me to come back so he could look at my mouth in a week, and one of the receptionists asked me if 1:15 next Wednesday would work. I knew that I had class at that time, but I didn’t think I’d be able to communicate this fact, so I just agreed to come back then.

My friend drove me home, and I was actually alert and comprehensible enough to direct him to my house by a different route than the one that we had come by. He saw me into my apartment and left me with a container of oatmeal that he didn’t want and that I hoped to be able to drink through a straw if I prepared it right. My friend left, and I went to bed.

Just short of two hours later, I was awoken by my cell phone. It was somebody calling from the oral surgeon’s office, needing to know my father’s date of birth for insurance purposes. I did my best to answer the question, but she became frustrated when she couldn’t understand me at first. I did eventually get the answer across, but it strikes me as terrible judgment to have called in the first place given the circumstances. She should have known that I was recovering from anesthesia, that there was a good chance that I’d be resting, and that my jaw was wired shut. If she really wanted to know the answer, she could have contacted my parents (whose information I had provided for insurance reasons) instead; they would have been happy to answer and easier to understand.

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4 Responses to “Surgery”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A corollary « Shock and Jaw - May 14, 2009

    […] but if they were going to wait five weeks before submitting the claim, did they really need to call me for insurance information just two hours after the procedure, while I was still sleeping off the […]

  2. Bills and such « Shock and Jaw - June 10, 2009

    […] I’m hoping that the oral surgeon’s office will bill the remaining balance to my other insurance. I shouldn’t need to remind them about my second insurance, seeing as they called me for information about it while I was still sleeping off the anesthesia from the surgery. […]

  3. Loose ends, Part I « Shock and Jaw - June 16, 2009

    […] time after I returned from my oral surgery, I found an x-ray of my mouth among the things that I had carried home from the surgeon’s […]

  4. Progress « Shock and Jaw - April 10, 2010

    […] charge of $500. (It is perhaps worth mentioning that this wasn’t the same billing person who called me a mere two hours after my surgery and expressed her frustration at my inability to clearly communicate my insurance […]

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