Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Enforced Rest

Never let it be said that I'm lazy. Knowing that I was due to have my wisdom teeth out today and will have to rest for a few days I packed the workouts in on the two days available to me.

On Monday I put myself through a full-body circuit workout that felt hard, hard, hard. The sweat was streaming off me and the shoulder work felt much more intense than usual. Towards the end of the workout I took a look at the 8kg barbell I usually use for those particular exercises. I found myself looking at a 9kg barbell. That would explain a few things! I'm normally pretty good at catching when someone has put a weight back in the wrong place. Not that day apparently. Still, I would never have attempted the squat/lift/stepback move with a heavier weight otherwise, so I was well pleased.

After work I went out on another hot Wellington evening and ran 7km. Just lately it seems that all the runs I expect to be bad turn out to be blindingly good. In this case, with Taranaki and circuit-session fatigued legs, I had a blast. Hello quad and glute muscles, nice to see you taking part in our runs again! I kept the run flat, but I couldn't keep it slow.

I sorta lived to regret the two workouts on Tuesday morning during Dee's RPM class. It didn't help that she chose a series of very difficult tracks. Blast the Speakers for a track 2 anyone? Turn It Up for track 5 and Night Train for track 7. It wasn't until track 5 that I managed to shake my legs into a state of awakeness and actually cox them into a bit of speed and some dial.

By the time I got to Body Balance at mid-day my hamstrings and glutes were telling me all about the sets of leg press and all the squats of the day before. As I mentioned in an email to Sarah, I was hobbling like a hobbled penguin. It was, however, an unexpectedly lovely class. I arrived early and got to lie on my mat for a while listening to the music and the sound of rain falling outside the open window for the first time in ages. I was feeling great until the class (and the hurting) started. My back was still locked up from Saturday, my quads just weren't going to do any more, and my hamstrings badly needed at least three repeats of the hamstring track.

All that pain seemed minor however in the knowledge that I was finally losing four redundant teeth today. I was feeling ok about the operation, despite reading about the side effects, until I started reading a few studies questioning the value of having wisdom teeth removed when there were no obvious problems with them. Sometimes Google is not my friend!

For some reason I had a brilliant night's sleep last night, although that might have had something to do with the disrupted sleep of Monday night. Hamish decided to lock the cat door exit to try to catch a cat that has been coming into our bedroom at night and stealing our cats' food. As a result we were waking up constantly to let our own cats out as they scrablled at the door. By 1.30 Hamish decided to give up and opened the door again, only to have Tissy bring a live mouse in a few minutes later. She chased it around the hallway then brought it into our bedroom. At 2.30 I managed to catch it and throw it out the back door then it was back to bed to beg for some sleep, given that I had to be up in three hours' time. Yep, that might have had something to do with the good night's sleep last night!

The surgery was taking place at the Southern Cross Hospital in Newtown, and everyone was absolutely brilliant. I had two wonderful nurses and a very comfortable private room to myself. I got a special red band on my wrist as an alert to remind the anaesthesiologist that he needed to give me cortisol via drip, and he visited me before the surgery to reassure me. Given the horror stories I've read about the ignorance of some American specialists I was a bit anxious to make sure the correct procedures were followed!

On our way down to theatre the nurses covered me in a HEATED BLANKET. Heated blankets are the bomb! Once I was on the operating table I got a very lovely sedative and then that was it - I was out without even realising it. I had some interesting and pleasant dreams under the anaesthetic (unfortunately I can't remember the exact details) and then woke feeling very warm and cozy. That feeling lasted a few short moments before I registered the pain in my mouth, and then the post-anaesthesia shakes started up. The nurses got me a second heated blanket and wrapped another one right around my head. Bliss! As always once I was awake I was really awake, so I lay there blinking at the Filipino nurses from my cocoon until it was time to go back to my room.

It was about that time that I worked out that I could open and close both eyes simultaneously, but I couldn't blink my right eye. This was, in the context of potential facial nerve damage, a little disconcerting. One of the nurses phoned my surgeon, who was already pulling someone else's teeth, and he was quick to assure me that this was just a normal side effect of the local they'd given me. I wasn't quite sure I believed him but I was prepared to wait and see. Certainly all my pain was on my left side of my face. My right side was completely numb.

Back at the room I lay around watching television until Hamish arrived. An hour or so after the surgery my ability to blink suddenly reasserted itself, which was a great relief. Once I'd shown I could move around on my own, drink some water and eat some icecream I was allowed to leave. I spent all afternoon moving from the sofa to the study and, with the exception of one small nap, have felt disconcertingly full of energy. I suspect I'm on a cortisol high. At the anaesethesiologist's recommendation I doubled my 1.00pm dose of Hydrocortisone, though I only took my usual 5km tonight.

I have a major case of chipmunk cheek on the right side of my face and the left is catching up. The surgeon did say that the right lower tooth was the most difficult to remove, and that's where the swelling is. My left side of my mouth hurt pretty much from the moment I woke up, and the Tramidol and Panadeine have only really taken the edge off. Still, it's a steady ache that I can deal with. My right side of my face has slowly regained sensation and is now also sore, but not as sore as the left. Twelve hours after surgery I have a slight numbness where my cheek is all swollen, so I suspect that will eventually come right.

When I got home from the hospital I drank a glass of chocolate milk, which I don't normally allow myself, and it was fantastic. I ate some yoghurt a little later in the afternoon and for dinner I had soup. Unfortunately I was silly enough to eat a corn chowder for dinner and then got a bit freaked out about all the bits of corn I could imagine catching in my back teeth or getting messed up in the wounds.

The string from one of my stitches is bugging me a bit, but I can open and close my mouth ok and am generally happy. I expected my dodgy jaw to completely seize up but so far so good. I haven't even really had any bleeding.

I'm a heap better than I thought I'd be and I'm very relieved. Now I just have to get through to Tuesday for my follow-up appointment. One of the nice parts of the day was the nurses commenting on my wonderful tan and, when they put the monitor on me, on my low heart rate. Thankfully my blood pressure registered as reasonably normal. Given the stress I was feeling at the time I expected it to be sky high. It was certainly at the high end of normal, but that's where it tends to run anyway thanks to the Fludrocortisone and a family history of high blood pressure.

I'm just not quite sure how I'm going to survive the next couple of days at home without going stircrazy. You guys better all get blogging because I'm going to need the reading material!


Sass said...

Yay for surviving! Your process sounds a lot fancier than mine but then again, I didn't need to go under general and I'm presuming yours was part of health insurance too.

I just had a funny mental pic of you having exercise-deprivation dreams and waking up H by cycling your legs and woo hooing in your RPM fashion;p

Pip said...

Hehe, if I had any exercise dreams I'm sure they would have been good ones. I'm actually thinking it would be nice to go and sit in the spa, though right now I'm going to settle for a hot shower.

Calyx Meredith said...

I was a total chipmunk for a week after my wisdom teeth were removed. One thing that felt wonnnnderful was when my mom took one leg of an old pair of stockings and put ice packs in. She put a knot in the middle to keep the packs apart and then tied the contraption around my face. So soothing for both sides at once! Hope you don't need anything like that - but I don't tolerate meds very well and needed some relief! Heal quickly. I bet your bike misses you!

Pip said...

Healing well but being sensible as I've still got a bit of swelling and pain - mostly from the stitches. I'm going absolutely insane though. My energy levels are through the roof and I'm more than slightly manic, even after a two and a half hour walk today. My poor husband is going to be dragged around Wellington on a big errand running mission tomorrow. He's not going to know what hit him!