Monday, 14 June 2010

Post-Surgery Update

Just thought I’d make a quick update before posting a proper report on the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Selangor Branch Open Day which took place on World Environment Day (5th June 2010).

I’m back from the brink after undergoing a bone graft at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang. I had a piece of bone grafted from my chin to my upper jaw. From the Chronology of Events below, you can see what a troublesome youngster I must have been and imagine the kind of trauma my teeth must have suffered:

1987: Broke both front teeth trying to execute a stunt I watched the lion dancers do during the Chinese New Year. Teeth duly crowned.

1993: Broke both crowned front teeth in a skateboarding accident in which I crashed into my friend David and smashed my teeth against the back of his head. Teeth crowned for second time.

1995: Chipped the re-crowned front teeth falling off my racing bike after getting hit by a motorcycle while cycling home from school at high speed. Teeth crowned for the 3rd time.

2000: Cracked both front teeth again at the SPCA when a Doberman I was trying to guide into his kennel bucked and hit my lower jaw with the top of his head. Remedial work to crown carried out.

2003: Found my front teeth in pain after a night out at the pub. Discovered that infection had set in – teeth cracked at least a week ago, not sure how. Antibiotics administered and remedial work carried out to crowned teeth.

2009: Left front tooth broke while having a cold drink outside the SPCA. Consulted my usual dentist, Dr. Thomas, and opted for a dental implant as temporary dentures inconvenient and right front tooth not trusted not to break if bridging done.

2010: Bone density probe conducted. Upper jaw is on strike and has had enough. Trauma from various accidents has resulted in there being no intact bone left in upper jaw. Upper jaw so perforated that the insertion of a dental implant would shatter the whole jaw. Bone graft advised. Advice accepted. Buddies duly informed. Family kept in the dark so as to spare them unnecessary worry.

My buddy Sheela P. was recruited to drive me to the hospital and back on the date of the surgery, 10th June. I was put under general anaesthetic at 0745 hrs and woke up sometime around 1530 hrs in immense discomfort in the ward. Was informed I puked copiously upon regaining consciousness. Was too groggy to care. Sheela made a timely reappearance when I came around and attended to me and pushed me around in the wheelchair without complaint. Turned down all offers of food from the hospital orderlies as none of the food offered was suitably meatless. Kept griping about wanting to go home and wanting to go to the SPCA this weekend. Updated my Facebook status via ‘Berry and accepted, with much gratitude, a phone call from That Special Someone, who wanted to make sure I survived the surgery. Was put on yet another round of IV drips although what I really wanted was potato chips and Coke.

Persuaded a very tired Sheela to go home at 1930h as she had been waiting with me the whole day. Sheela left only after Vegan Eugene and Mary agreed to come and pick me up. Nurses informed me that they were not authorised to discharge me from hospital. Requested to be removed from IV drips. Started walking slowly up and down the ward to persuade the nurses (and myself) that I would not faint if allowed to go home.

Walked to bathroom, showered, changed back into my t-shirt, jeans and trainers and requested again, with much restraint and courtesy, to be discharged. Informed the nurses that if I could do all that on my own without fainting, they could trust me not to faint when I got home. Nurses looked at each other and at me with disbelief, shook their heads and proceeded to get the papers signed to allow me to go home. Hurray! I may be a vegetarian and a teetotaller but I still kick ass!

Collected my medication from the hospital pharmacy, paid my bills, and walked (somewhat unsteadily, I must admit), to the cab stand to wait for my buddies at 2100 hrs.

Vegan Eugene and Mary spotted me from half a mile away thanks to the size of my swollen face. Reached my Bachelor Pad around 2230 hrs, very relieved to be home. Proceeded to clean the Bachelor Pad and feed the Rowdies, who were very curious about my bandage and were extra gentle around me.

Curiously enough, despite the discomfort I am in, the pain wasn’t as bad as I was told it would be. It could be that I have a high threshold of pain. After all, I don’t know many other people who have fallen asleep in the tattoo parlour while their backs are being tattooed, or anyone who could remain relatively cheerful and talkative while undergoing a root canal operation.

The subsequent few days were pretty awful, maybe because I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I didn’t bounce back as quickly as I thought I would. My face ballooned to twice its size, making simple tasks like putting on a shirt close to Herculean. I spent most of my time on housework and trying to complete some files that I brought home from the office, because outdoor activities would increase the risk of infection. I had to miss the Casualty Evacuation Workshop at the MNS Urban Nature Centre. I had to miss helping out at the SPCA for a week. I had to miss my friend Ainul’s wedding and my buddy and partner-in-crime Amarjit’s farewell party. I couldn’t swim, cycle, skate or play football. I guess this is how restless the Phantom of the Opera must have felt, confined to his little hideout in the lake under the opera house, not being able to come out and party. I guess I could qualify as a chronically tone-deaf counterpart of the Phantom. There were moments when I felt as though I was never going to get any better.

I did, however, develop my own method of changing the dressing on my wound. It involved laying surgical tape, gauze and ointment out on my palm like an open-face sandwich and slapping everything onto my chin in the general location of the incision. Unconventional, but it has worked for me so far.

I don’t intend to be out of action for long. Next week I will be back at work, doing what I love best – serving some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Next week I will be back at the SPCA, guiding the new volunteers and helping the animals stay clean and healthy. Next week I will have parties to attend, friends to meet up with and assignments to complete. Powered by soup and mashed potatoes, I will be ready to take on the world again.


Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
Thank God everything went well. Hope you get well soon. Keeping you away from SPCA will not help you to recover faster.

Ellen Whyte said...

Geez Ee Lynn for once in your life sit still for a day or so. You've been ill recently and you're going to fall to pieces if you push too much. SIT! STAY! Will call you later today.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Had no idea you had surgery. Sending you well wishes for a most speedy recovery! Remember you must take care of yourself. You will be of no help to those (human and furry)you serve if you don't allow yourself some down time.
Take Care,
P.s. I've got one mini dental implant myself and have another to go. Highly recommend them/much less hassle than a denture piece or crown!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Salam, Abang Zawi! Yes, Syukur Alhamdullilah, I am okay. I trust the animals at the SPCA are fine and that the other care providers are doing the right thing for the animals. It's just that I miss my usual activity-packed weekends.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Ellen,
I am SITTING and STAYING! Sheesh you are almost as bad as That Special Someone. We should be worrying about the impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident on the oceans of the world instead. I am fine! See you this weekend!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Mutt,
WOW, you are still reading my blog after all these months? Thank you very much! I wish you had a blog/URL link so I could reciprocate your kindness. Did you have to do a bone graft for your implants too, or could they be screwed onto your jaw just like that? Sometimes I wish teeth were like Lego and we could take them out, clean em, fix em and snap em back on. That would save us a lot of sick leave days.

Pat said...

Hello dear,

Sending you a cyber hug and hoping you're feeling much better.

My eyes nearly popped when I read your post. I've only been away from the net for a few days, and look what you've gotten up to!!!

Yes, you've received some good advice here in the comments, and I hope you'll listen, and behave! For just a few days lah - so that you'll be fit and strong, and ready to take on the world again!

Take care, my friend. And be good. Please.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

At least you can still blog! Wish I could be there comforting you...I make a mean avocado juice. Yours will be special - with extra TLC. Get well soon. har har har *winks*

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Pat,

Cyber Hug gladly accepted, thank you! You should come over and see how much weight I've lost in 4 days! I look like a spider monkey now, all but for my swollen face!

I am back at work, and telling my colleagues my big bandage isn't so bad because the external incision is quite small, but the stitches are all on the insides of my mouth, on my gums. You should see how quickly they back away, saying they don't want to see the stitches! But the surgery site is not even bleeding so much anymore!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Kitties-in-Sydney,

Thank you for the virtual avocado juice! I need both the calories and the TLC! My kitties are taking care of me but they will always welcome other cats. Funny -- I've made them go against their territorial nature by fostering so many cats over the last 5 years that they don't bother hissing at the newcomers anymore.

Emily said...

Wei Ee Lynn,

I know you are at a young and variant age NOW, but dont push your body over the limit especially since you are doing a meatless round...

Love you enuf to voice it out to you NOW even though we have yet to meet. Take care now..

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you for your concern, dear Emily. I am obeying my body at the moment and sleeping a lot, which in turn makes me feel unproductive, but I figured the world could take care of itself for at least a couple of days.

mamasita said...

Yeay! Yes you will..Ain't no mountain high enough to keep you like a Phantom of the Opera for long! Come on..hurry up and get well!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Datin Mamasita,

I'm trying, I'm trying! Ye Gods and Little Fishes, it's taking me an hour just to eat a small bowl of mashed potatoes. I'd end up becoming a real phantom all right if I don't get more food in me.

Thank you for your encouragement!

Ade said...

keep up the spirit, EL!!!! Take care and God Bless.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Ade,

Hey, I didn't know you have a blog too! What fun! I'm blogrolling you. Thank you for your kind words! I hope to make a full recovery in a few days. Much love to Meagan and Moeira and best regards to hubby!

Unknown said...

So you didn't stay put! Take it easy , friend and rest. Now, let me think. How do I tie you down???

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Keats,

You called me soon after I woke up in the hospital! By evening, I was feeling bored and restless and wanted to go home. The nurses also decided that there wasn't very much risk of me getting into scrapes at home as long as I stay indoors and am not the one driving within the same day. I am getting better now! Thank you!

Angie said...

Should't you be resting? As it will help you heal faster. Running around, cleaning house and all isn't going to help.

Hope everything is better now.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Hi Angie,
Thanks for your concern! You are right, the day after I did a lot of housework, my face swelled up and it bled at the stitch site. I slept like a pig for the subsequent 5 days and felt much better.

louis said...

Hello CO'78,

I trust that by this time most of your discomfort has disappeared. My good wishes for your recovery are belated because i have been away until today and am just catching up on the blogs I read.

Anonymous said...

Yup still read your blog as often as I can. Also read a few of your friends (Chair Speaks, Katz Tales, Keats etc.) No blog of my own at the moment --my life not too exciting to blog about hence why I read other blogs! : )
Re: implant-was lucky they just had to screw it in. Have 1 more to be done in about 6-9 months will let you know if graft needed then or not. Hope you are feeling well!
(totally agree on Lego teeth-start developing it you may be onto something there...)

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Louis,
It's so good to have you back! I trust you had a good holiday. Alaska... WOW! Can't wait to read all about it.

Thank you for your concern. I am recovering really well, thanks to friends who turn up at my door with fruits, soups and ice-cream!

Stormy Heart said...

Goodness - and people call me a tough broad. You certainly do have a high pain tolerance, that's for sure! Glad to hear your are recuperating well from your surgery. Keep taking care of yourself, and let your Special Someone take care of you too :)

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thanks, Colleen! I've missed you! Let's both be tough broads together! Love the kitten on your profile pic. Whose kitty is she/he? Love to your guinea piggeh!