}

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Recovery mode

Sometimes recovery from something like surgery takes longer than expected. When it’s major surgery causing problems, it can be quite debilitating. But when it’s something relatively minor that’s causing problems, that can be quite surprising. As I’m now finding out.

I haven’t felt well the past couple days, and it took until today for me to put the pieces together: I’m still in recovery mode from my periodontal surgery. This has never happened to me before, which is why it took me two days to figure out.

What I noticed first was profound fatigue: I’d get up in the morning after 8 or nine hours sleep and feel like I got two, maybe three. I eventually woke up, more or less, but the weariness didn’t leave.

Then, today, I started feeling pretty yucky, similar in some ways to the way I felt when I had the Terrible, Awful Cold: 2015 Edition, and I thought it might be a relapse/new affliction. And then I remembered back to Tuesday.

I said that the surgery on Tuesday hurt a lot, and boy oh boy, did it ever. But I’d forgotten that at one point the periodontist was using a tool to scrape—rasp?—the tooth, and he was holding the outside of me head so he could apply more force. I was aware at one point that he was also pressing against one of the glands in my neck, and that hurt. At the time, I was a bit preoccupied with possible other (and much worse) pain, which is why I’d forgotten about it.

When I left the office, I also felt strange, kind of lightheaded, for lack of a better word, and I was a bit disoriented; I left the bottle of Savacol on the reception desk (and had to buy one later). I need to bathe the affected area for one minute, twice a day, as part of my post-op treatment, so it was important. And I forgot it.

Yesterday, that feeling returned, as it did today. This puzzled me, and I was still thinking it could be a new cold (because I felt the same way when I had the cold). But Nigel put it in perspective: Anaesthetic, he reminded me, just fools the brain into thinking nothing is happening, but the trauma of surgery is still actually happening, and the part of the body being operated on still experiences the trauma. He’s absolutely right, of course.

Add to that the fact that this surgery was the most intense of all of them, and also with a great amount of pain, both actual and feared, and it was a far more traumatic experience all round than I’d realised at the time. No wonder I was feeling off colour for a couple days afterward.

It all came as a surprise because I didn’t experience anything like this with any of the previous surgeries, so it never occurred to me that recovery would be slower. But, then, previous surgeries weren’t as big a deal. I can’t remember how my recovery went after general surgery (or whatever the term is for when they operate on your innards…), but I think it may have been kind of similar.

Still, the main thing about all this is how unexpected it is. If I’d experienced it before, I doubt very much I’d be mentioning it, even in passing, let alone blogging about it. But it was a surprise, and it’s coming at a terrible time, when I have so much work to do.

Yet, there it is. I’ll get through it and recover (no sign of infection, by the way). Next time, I’ll know better, but for now, I guess I just have to muddle through while I’m still in recovery mode.

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