Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oooo! Two things I learned today that I just remembered:

1. The person with the suction is occasionally the most important person in your life.

Visualize this: Your Intrepid Correspondent, lying in the Comfy Chair at the oral surgeon's office. I'm leaned back, neck hyperextended, and I'm just *barely* not tearing the arms off the chair because of the lidocaine injection. (Note to future doctors: the feeling of lidocaine being injected is not a "pinch". Quit using that word.)

Suddenly it strikes me that I have sixteen gazillion instruments in my mouth and I can't swallow. Worse, the spit is building up horribly at the back of my throat, but I have to keep my tongue out of the way, so I'm afraid that I'll choke.

And in swoops the assistant with the suction catheter. She was gentle, thorough, and seemed to suction me every time right *before* I needed it.

I am going to go over and over her technique in my head later, once it's not all swimmy, and try to improve my own suctioning skills. There really is a skill to it, and she was good. Very, very good.

2. Remind patients not to look at their own incision sites, especially when those sites are likely to look like somebody drove a coal-fired locomotive through a huge mass of charred Jello.

It's scary, and I knew what I was looking at, mostly. If I have to show a patient a horrible incision site, I am *so* gonna do it next when we have plenty of time and they have plenty of meds on board.

Now to figure out how in hell to brush my teeth. Hm.

8 comments:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Waiting patiently with you for news about the biopsy--hugging from SF.

June Cleaver said...

Sending all my positive thoughts your way that it's just an oddly constructed fatty tumor or something equally annoying, but also equally benign.

Also, when I was 24 I had my tonsils removed due to near constant strep (forgot what type they called it but I'd get abscessed tonsils). Anyhoo, my best friend for the week was...freezie pops. Ya know those things in the plastic sleeve you freeze and then push up, sort of like a popsicle. Kept me hydrated, gave me a hit of sugar and numbed everything. Maybe Nurse Ames would be willing to deliver some with her next Lortab drop-off.

Feel better soon, Nurse Jo.

June Cleaver said...

Oh, and as far as lidocaine goes, I swear I'd rather be injected with battery acid. I have ruptured discs in my lower back and frequently get epidural injections/blocks. I have to be heavily sedated, not because the injections themselves are so bad, but because I can no longer tolerate being awake for the lidocaine.

The doc thinks I'm "sensitive" to it, for some reason. Damn right I'm sensitive to it, because that stuff hurts like hell.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine said that medical personnel call things " a bit uncomfortable" because they can't spell "Excruciating".

Hope you feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for the Cap'n to be an awfully, awfully, boring little guy.

I'm glad he got most of it already ... hopefully, whatever's still there is sufficiently boring that it can stay put.

I hear what you're saying about keeping control of your own airway, but that said, I've found that oral surgeons don't offer the sleepy-sleepy lightly, and that if they offer you the chance to go out, you'd probably rather be out for whatever they're got cooked up for you. Ditto on the opiates, although I'm torn, because I have significant nausea problems from even a single T-3 and puking + mouth wound = NO FUN.

The mouth- very well enervated, and highly vascular ... things we tend not to fully appreciate on a day-by-day basis.

For blog requests, I always love a Max picture!

Molly said...

god i hate the dentist telling me Novocaine is going to feel like a "pinch," and i hear lidocaine injections are more painful.

Fingers crossed that this is the end of it.

messymimi said...

You think like a great nurse, which you are. You turn everything into a chance to learn and improve your own technique.

pita said...

Last year I dislocated my jaw by yawning. Yep yawning. I went to doc in a box to see if they could help because I really did not want to go to the ER. I swear I almost broke my jaw trying to scream when they gave me a shot in the jaw to numb it up. Just a pinch my bony butt! Ended up at the ER to get it shut. They gave me the happy drugs :)
Between getting my wisdom teeth taken out, a gum graft, and the surgery after the dislocated jaw, I have really come to appreciate vicodin with a benadryl chaser. I woke up itchy from the surgery. First thing I tried to mumble through the bandages was itchy. Thankfully the nurse understood my groggy hand gestures.
Get a little kids toothbrush for brushing your teeth. It will be easier to control and less likely to hit the incision. That's how I kept from messing up the graft area.

For a giggle, here's a mental image for you: after the surgery, they bandaged me up with gauze covering my ears since the incisions were that far back. Then I had a wrap going around my head, under my chin, like they used to wrap heads for tooth aches. Because of the swelling, I looked like a chipmunk on a water polo team.