I had an operation yesterday to place two drains in the tumor on my jaw that are bigger and more stable than the previous drain. One is bent like a big check mark ✔ and the other has a shallow curve like a gentle smile ⌣. The first drain had been placed in me under local anesthesia in an examination room, but these two were done under general anesthesia in the operating room and I don’t think I fully grasped how major a procedure it was until it was over.
Apparently the anatomy of my neck and trachea had made for a difficult intubation and I awoke in the recovery room with a terribly sore throat that has now largely subsided. In the ambulatory unit, I was able to speak and smile pretty normally because the swelling hadn’t yet really begun. I knew I was still under the effects of the anesthesia, but I nevertheless felt pretty capable and so was surprised when I repeatedly dropped things: Walking to the main lobby, I dropped my file folder and my documents spilled out, then a little while later, I dropped my umbrella. A few blocks away from the hospital, I dropped my jacket. I was also walking more slowly than usual. That evening, I shopped for soft food, and I was disoriented enough in the supermarket that I had difficulty with the otherwise very simple task of opening my two nested canvas shopping bags wide enough to place my purchases therein. (True to my Levantine and Caucasian origins, I picked up ḥummuṣ and yoqurt, and true to my primate origins, I picked up bananas.)
So here I sit with an ice pack pressed to my face much of the day because of a mouth so swollen that I’m having some difficulty opening it wide enough to eat. Also, an unexpected and unfortunate consequence of the surgery was significant nerve damage, so I now have virtually no sensation in my lower lip and my chin, something which has compromised my speech and my smiling. I’m still woozy from the anesthesia too, and while I sit in front of the computer, I sometimes feel as if I’ll abruptly lapse into sleep.
Unfortunately, I had to decline some social engagements yesterday and today. Although the sensation in my lip will take a while to return, I expect I’ll be able to attend some local meetings this weekend.