Most teenagers first experience with survey is generally when they get their wisdom teeth out. Let's just say that I over achieved a little bit and it wasn't my first or second or third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh surgery. It was number 8. I'm only counting the bigger surgeries here. I've had like 75+ smaller procedures over the last four years. You could say I know my way around the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh operating rooms right now, I suppose and they still don't issue frequent flyer miles. I could be in the Bahamas by now!
So unfortunately, because my wisdom teeth were bothering me and one of them had partially broken through the gum before getting stuck, they had to come out. They were also a threat to my "perfect oral hygiene", which I didn't dare jeopardize. I have enough issues! That led me to make the surprisingly difficult decision to have all four wisdom teeth extracted. An appointment with the oral surgeon showed that I was at a high risk for complications, so my surgery needed to be done in the hospital. The morning of surgery, my mom met me at the hospital and we went through the process together. After the standard vitals check, I was sent to the playroom to wait. Finally, I got a room and that's when everything kicked into high gear.
One nurse accessed my PowerPort, while an oral surgery resident did a physical. Of course, my stubborn port decided not to give us a blood return, so I asked them to get the blood they needed through a butterfly needle. This made then giggle because I was essentially telling them what to do, but hey, I know my body best! The anesthesiologist agreed to use my port provided that the medication went into my system and he would use the peripheral line as a last resort. I was cool with that and he was definitely one of the best anesthesiologists I've ever had. Because I'm allergic to so many painkillers, we agreed that to use the one that I have the worst track record with, but he can easily reverse the effects of the medication if need be. He wasn't losing me today. Dr. C wheeled me off the teal operating room and on the way, we dropped my mom off at the waiting area.
Once I moved over to the table, we started talking taekwondo (which everyone knows is like my favorite thing to discuss), I had the surgeon and the whole OR staff in giggles, because several of them have martial arts experience. I was the high rank in the room! They opted to skip the heavy gases so that they could try and prevent post-op nausea which worked really well. After a few minutes of having the bubblegum mask over my face, I was sound asleep.
When I woke up, I was in horrific pain. The local nerve blocks of marcaine didn't do anything for me. The most they did was numb my lower lip (sort of). It really wasn't helpful. I spend a fair amount of time crying until the anesthesiologist came and gave me two 40mg doses of ketamine. After that, I was able to get some sleep. Then they added some dilaudid and Tylenol and I was even more comfortable. I even managed a short nap.
When I woke again, I was crying again, and so the anesthesiologist paged the pain management team that knows me super well. I actually didn't even know that they had been paged, but when one of the pain team nurse practitioners came, she emerged through this pack of people and I swear to God it was like God had sent her to rescue me. She quickly got to work talking we oral surgery and getting me admitted. In the post anesthesia care unit (PACU), my neck and clavicle because cold to the touch and started mottling, a sure sign that CRPS was in town. Fortunately, just about everyone of my medical providers witnessed it.
God has given me some of the best friends to help me through my toughest challenges! Round number..... oh wait I lost count, today. Guess who gets their wisdom teeth out and ends up getting admitted? Me. Everyone has been so great though. Even though I'm in a ton of pain, I'm taking the win this round.
Meg: 1 Surgery #8: 0
Once I was moved to the floor, I told the nurse that I could be a bit apneic from dilaudid (but my sats stayed above 70% so I was pretty happy), I warned her that I can also get super bradycardic, and she told me that it was so wonderful to know all this information in advanced. We talked ports, as my nurse had battled breast cancer a few years ago and had experience. It was kind of nice to have someone who could relate. A low dose ketamine infusion, torodol, IV Tylenol, and dilaudid managed mg pain so well. I was pleased.
When I was asked if I was ready to go home, I was confident I could manage my symptoms on my own. Of course, being the stubborn person I am, I refused to take the narcotics prescribed to me, because they make me so sick for a month. But I'm surviving. The next day, I woke up, started doing homework and studying to prepare for Monday's midterm and a week of doctor's appointments.
Breaking out of this place and I'm so excited! 2nd shortest admission on record! Closing the book on my 34th admission in 4 years. Homeward bound!
Thanks to my amazing team at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, the surgery went smoothly, everyone played nice, and I could the pain management care that I so desperately needed to get through. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
P.S. How to not eat any Halloween candy: Get your wisdom teeth out a few days before. Works like a charm. Tried and tested
I am a 20 year old junior at the college of my dreams. I am studying Emergency Medicine and Communication Rhetoric and minoring in the Administration of Justice and National Preparedness and Emergency Management certificate. At some point, I want to go and get my paramedic certification when my health allows. I have several chronic illnesses and this blog and website serves as a place for me to share my journey fighting CRPS and my other conditions. I hope that this blog can also serve as an outlet for raising awareness for rare diseases. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment; I'd love to know what you think!