Friday, October 17, 2008

On My Way

Gonna make this quick.
Had the final of my final pre-op visits today. Dr. SpecialistExtreme went over the nuts and bolts of the procedure in fairly good detail. It appears there isn't much in the way of access that won't leave a nice nifty, and long, scar.
("Grampa,where did you get that scar on your face?")
He said that basically he will have to open about a quarter of my face, slice through the jaw, lift up, blah,blah,blah.
The process is expected to take anywhere from 4-12 hours, depending on what they find when they get in there.
I'll be asleep,anyway.

There are risks. Most notably, blood clots that may form and lead to a stroke, or *worse*. I let you fill in that blank as I don't want to think about it. Can't afford to.
But he did say that it was imperative that I quite smoking NOW prior to surgery. Something about clogged lungs,etc... that would complicate surgery. No smokes for two weeks prior. Need time for the lungs to clear.
OK. So I'm about two days behind on that. But the last butt was snuffed an hour ago, and I have no more.
I was expecting the week long hospital stay to be the start of my cold turkey attempt. So much for that plan,huh?

Something about signing that last consent form today made the whole thing really sink in psychologically. Before then, it was all just a swollen jaw (that I was only aware when I looked in the mirror), a series of pictures and scans, and some groovy fun time away from the mill drinking all the beer I wanted.

Now, it's real.

I've never had surgery before, and somehow I think this would be easier if I had a few training surgeries. You know, some easy every day stuff: tonsils, appendix, vasectomy, torn ligament, or something else less threatening.

Not this doozy type of thing that nobody has ever seen before in a place that they really would rather not go. (yeah, I finally got the truth. They've never seen this before. I'm gonna be a research/study case for future generations).
Hell, I'll volunteer for a castration if they will take it in trade.

Oh, well.
Life goes on.

Enough of that....

Catching a flight in a few hours to the great state of Georgia for some deer huntin and Dad time. He needs to see me, and I need to get away for a bit to forget about all of the above, and hopefully kill something big.

Don't mean to sound all Freddie Krugerish, but something about disemboweling a fresh carcass awakens the senses. I know I'm on top when somebody else's blood is on my hands.
I like the scent of fresh meat in my nostrils.
The understanding of where it came from, and realizing that it could be, and someday will be, me laying there,instead.
Someday it will be, because we all take our turn, in one way or the other, at the bottom of the food chain, where we no longer decide where or how we lay.

"From Ashes to ashes..." as they say, but some of us will provide a great pot roast, some burgers, steaks and sausages along the way.

Internet time will be sparse for the next week, but I'll be around sporadically.


Allan said...

We'll be praying for you, Gino.

Hammerswing75 said...

May your aim be true (and your doctor's). Good luck on the first and may God be with you on the second.

Jade said...

Gino - It's going to be tough to keep from smoking while you are out hunting, especially if others around you are smoking, but keeping your lungs clear is of vital importance.

Dan had blood clots develop after his knee surgery, and when he started moving his leg again they broke off and traveled to his lungs. His only obvious symptom was it was difficult for him to breathe... small movements would cause him to nearly pant, he said it was like someone had spread cheese cloth over his face. When we got him into the ER, his pulse/ox was low and they found 7 pulminary emboli in his lungs. He spent a week in the cardiac unit on blood thinners, believing that if he moved the wrong way he'd throw another clot and kill himself.

It was the most frightening thing we've ever been through.

OK, I'll end the mother-like rant here and just say take care of yourself and be careful.

...and since you have to stop smoking prior to your surgery anyway, you might as well take the opportunity to quit all together. :)

Guitarman said...

Our Journey seems to be one never ending string of firsts. God Bless. How is it you live out West, cheer for the Bears and hunt out East?

Gino said...

allan: thanks

ben: already flubbed a shot. forgot what rifle i was carrying.

jade: yeah, the clots. got me a little scared when he spoke of the possibility.
this should be my final attempt to quit.
been puffing since i was 15.
the idea that its over is a little hard to accept, but i'm looking forward to it.
plus, i have a great substitute i may talk about later.

guitarman: i'm proud native son of chicago, dragged to CA when i was toddler. 20yrs ago, parents split when dad got transferred to GA, providing me with a nice vacation home.

Jade said...

I'm glad your surgeon brought it up, because it seems like the topic is glossed over as a standard "by the way, there is a risk of clots" every time I've heard it mentioned - we had no idea what sort of signs to look for... Dan diagnosed himself by searching on the web.

If it makes you feel any better... Dan developed clots because he was so incredibly paranoid about ripping apart the work they'd done on his knee that he tightened his leg brace to the point where his upper leg was nearly purple... and he was stuck in bed for a solid 3 weeks (quite literally - only got up for the bathroom and that was it for three solid weeks) The lack of movement combined with cutting off the blood flow caused the clots.
Moving your limbs & getting mobility as soon as possible will help prevent clots.

Dan's family is from Chicago originally as well - he lived there until he was 8.

Good luck with your hunting. :)