Today I got my stitches out! Woo!
I feel so much better both mentally and physically.
Keep reading for the inside scoop on surgery recovery, including some detailed descriptions and a few innocent photos of a very tired me. You’ve been warned!
Some things about recovery and the surgery that I recall:
They actually depict the process of anesthesia in movies pretty well. I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about the administration of the drug, as it’s through the IV in your hand and not the mask they put on your face. However, the mask being put on my face in the operating room is the last thing I remember in about an eight hour span, so I can understand where people might get that idea.
Anesthesia has pretty awful side effects (in general for me, but at least everyone I’ve talked to has had similar experiences). The obvious amnesia feeling isn’t all that bad. Interesting facts, I called Amber right after I woke up to tell her I loved her and remembered that, and I did remember the nurse’s name that I said I would (the one that set me up with the IV and said I probably wouldn’t remember her. I told her I’d make it a point to. Success.) The bad side effects are the nausea that typically just leads to dry heaving due to being unable to eat or drink anything before the surgery and the ridiculous fatigue that makes it near impossible to stay awake any of the day after it’s administration.
The dead look in my eyes in these pictures I’m gonna post is because I was legitimately so fatigued that I can’t even recall the pictures being taken. This is the same point at which the IV needles were taken out and I said to the nurse, “You hurt me. It’s not your fault, but I just wanted you to know.” after she took the one in my right hand out. I was told that I also responded to her suggestion of using the restroom with “I just did.” and she just was like, “No , honey. That was eight hours ago.” That’s apparently the only semi-funny/weird things that I said in that hazy period though (as I slept through most of the rest of the day and all). I remember that I kept falling asleep while trying to text people checking up on me and trying to watch funny videos, but not much aside from that.
I stopped taking my prescribed Percocet about three days after surgery because although it’s a very excellent pain killer, I’ll admit, I didn’t like the way it made me feel. It was a certain kind of wooziness that was similar to being pretty buzzed. I don’t drink to get drunk or buzzed on the rare occasion that I do drink, so I definitely wasn’t enjoying the feeling post-op. I will also note that it can lead to a false sense that your body is better than it is. It’s not. Don’t let it lead you to believe you can’t still pull the shit out of your stitches just because you can’t feel it. You can. (Luckily, I’m a logical thinker and knew this so I didn’t do this, but at times I do believe I was a bit rougher on my body than I should have been due to that false sense of security).
I opted to keep my body cleaning to a local point with just sitting in the bath and spot cleaning to my best ability. I didn’t want to shower without the doctor’s permission, and I’ll be honest, the surgical stitches and what it looked like with drains and all poking out of holes in my flesh kinda freaked me out. While it’s all very exciting, seeing the trauma that my body had been through was just kind of rough. It felt better to just clean around the wounds and re-wrap the wounds as fast as I could. It also felt physically better to have them wrapped.
On that note, having the stitches and drains removed was great. The nerve sensation still exists in my right side, but I lack most feeling in my left. (I can tell you this based on how painful the stitches being removed was on one side versus the other) The drains being removed is awful just like everyone warned. Feeling it snake its way under the skin and hit that exit wound is bleh. The only part that I’d say actually hurts is when it exits the skin, but the rest feels really, really weird.
I also found out my annoying autonomous nervous system (aka subconscious nervous reaction) is what makes me tremor and a side effect of that is called hyperhidrosis. It’s where anything that makes me nervous makes me sweat. It’s pretty awful, but it’s interesting to know it has a name. It’s become fairly normal to me being as that I always ask my dentist for paper towels to ball in my fists, knowing that my palms sweat like they do.
Surprisingly, I’m healing rather slowly. That’s a strange thing to be told since I’m usually the exact opposite and heal very quickly. Though, in all honesty, I’ve also never had something so intensive and invasive that I had to be put under anesthesia coupled with antibiotics and the like. The doctor mentioned that he possibly should have given me a bit more of the antibiotics, but that I should be fine. I just have to go back for a second check-up on Friday to make sure everything still looks okay. Also, with how much better I feel without stitches, I really think my body may have been having a very adverse reaction to them.
Overall, I’m very happy. The result is where it needs to be. I just need to be careful for a little while longer, which is expected.
For anyone curious about the great surgeon as well, his name is Dr. Sherman Leis. His office is about 2 miles from my Philadelphia apartment, which is awesome. he’s been doing trans* surgeries and care for over 30 years and is a pretty awesome guy though he can be a bit strange at times. He operates out of Lower Bucks Hospital, which has an awesome staff and is super nice as well.
Also thank you to my wonderful fiancee, Amber, and my friend, Kayla, for taking good care of me while I was t-rexxing it.