Vampire Fighting and Mouthy Wounds
Updated: May 14, 2021
Surgery, regardless of type, is always an ominous affair. The variables at play are numerous and just the shifting of one can alter the course of what follows for forever. Like most people, I had concerns that are usual and reasonable such as the effects of anesthesia, losing my voice, and becoming incapacitated in any way after recovery.
I had a Thyroidectomy last week. I am not so unusual as approximately 150,000 of these are performed every year in the U.S. according to Physician Weekly. I am lucky enough that I had an extremely skilled surgeon that had performed a couple thousand of these before she got to me.
Knowing that I was in good hands did little to curtail my growing concern though.
I joined a private group on social media for folks that have had or will be having a thyroidectomy. It had been recommended to me by my sweet friend who had also had the surgery. She did beautifully with hers and was very encouraging. Her one voice did more to soothe me than the hundreds of folks in the group. My hope was that I would be similar to her although we had our respective surgeries for very different reasons.
I was curious though. I wanted to know what others had gone through that had the same thyroid disease as myself. Given that I had been in hyper-drive for years, in hindsight, this may not have been my best move. Being hyper brings with it a myriad of symptoms such as racing thoughts, high anxiety, heart palpitations and so forth.
I have to admit that I was horrified by some of the poor souls on that page. They often seemed to have doctors that only tested certain hormones and not others, regardless of how their patient was feeling. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if their doctors are simply lackadaisical or if their insurance is balking at total care.
The images that filled me with pulsating fear were the post surgical ones. It seemed as if for every "good" looking incision that was posted, there were three that looked as if their heads were cut nearly the fuck off. There were so many folks with extreme bruising, bloody gashes and bulbous swelling. As my heart cried for them, my fear held me tightly within its steely grip.
My imagination went into overtime and I began questioning my decision to do surgery instead of radiation. The one thing that held me back from just killing it with radiation was that I had nowhere to stay for the week or so that I would remain radioactive. Also, just a small part of me was a bit miffed that I would not gain super-human strength, an uncanny sixth-sense, or glow in the dark.
On surgery day, I was quite beside myself with anxiety. The staff were incredibly kind and reassuring, trying their best to calm my frazzled self. I worried less about dying than about what kind of gash I would have after it was over. They told me they gave me some medicine that would help me "not to care."
I don't know if it was my years of being a party-girl or if it was my suffocating apprehension that seemed to fight this elusive "not giving a shit" feeling. They wheeled me into the surgical suite and I was clear as a bell. I remember saying, quite effusively, "Hey guys, I'm still caring. I care. I am caring a lot."
I awoke in recovery, muddle-brained and wobbly. I got to go home that day but my get up and go seemed to have got up and went somewhere without me. My throat was sore, I could barely whisper, and I wanted to go back to sleep in the worst way imaginable.
The bandage on my neck was smallish, no much larger that one of those large band-aids. I had to wear it for twenty four hours before removal. I asked my husband to do the deed as I wanted him there in case it shocked me into swooning. Pre-surgery and post, I had many visions of how it would look. The most disconcerting was it possibly looking like a second set of lips, swollen and purple, that would taunt me with their mirror likeness of my loud mouth.
Although I love my imagination as it allows me to create truly awful things for entertainment, it is also my personal demon, riding on my shoulder and poking me with its trident of discomfort.
He gave me the a-okay and I finally looked at it. Something new with your body can feel discombobulating in general. Something this close to my brain, the area most preferred by guillotines and swords, did make me a little nauseous at first glance.
So far, I am doing well. I got my voice back by the next day but am waiting to really belt out some show tunes for another week or so. It seems like a perfect incision that will fade with time and until then, I can continue to don fabulous scarves and ridiculous jewelry.
Or, leave it for the world to see and regale them of that time I fought with a vampire and won.