I'll Be Back.
October 21, 2019
“Your bone is bleeding.” There’s nothing like coming out of surgery to those words! My heart sank: really, another complication? I even had a vision in the midst of the procedure that this was the turning point for which I have been waiting — though sensed immediately that something had not gone quite right by the technician’s strained expressions as she sat me up. My nose, roof of my mouth and lower jaw also burned intensely, even though they were not supposed to be operated on, which seemed strange and somewhat alarming.
After his jarring opening line about my bone bleeding (never something I had contemplated to be possible), the doctor reassured me that while the surgery had not gone as expected, everything will be alright eventually. He explained that a bone chip from my jaw had unknowingly exposed a nerve, which resulted in blood consistently streaming into the bone — and now flooding out, when they opened up my face. These issues can be fixed, but no attempts worked today, so the surgery could unfortunately not be completed. All effected areas have been sterilized and left to drain (please don’t ask me how that works, or offer any further medical rationale or guidance) — and back I go tomorrow for yet another shot.
My entire face is red and swollen; I honestly look as if someone blew me up like a puffer fish. Speech is currently all but impossible, somehow worse than my pitiful attempts at mumblings prior. And I cannot get the smell of cutting through bone out of my nostrils, which is strangely reminiscent to that of burning hair and altogether eery. But I am neither as sad, nor as frustrated as I would have expected from another ‘failed’ or unsuccessful procedure that prolongs recovery.
Why? Because I trust this doctor fully. And that gives me a blessed sense of comfort I yearn for and lack in many aspects of this medical journey. From our initial phone call, he has explained in detail what is happening, going so far as to draw my face, its bones and nerves by hand today to ensure that my non-medical mind understands the breadth of specific damages caused by my accident, how he discovered this heretofore unknown and undocumented complication, which areas he worked on during the surgery itself, what the plan is to remedy the bleeding and inflammation from trauma, and why it should all work out — hopeful, but not guaranteed.
Also, the asphalt that was or is still lodged inside my lip (depending on the degree to which hardworking healthy cells have broken it down) and mass of heavy scar tissue that has formed around it continue to apply significant pressure upon my teeth and jaw, as to already further change the shape of the mangled mess that is my mouth. He advised swift action there, so I am now adding that to the endless list of priorities!
After anxiously being anesthetized to “The Winner Takes It All,” which transported me to a blissful moment singing ABBA at the top of my lungs in the back of a pedi-cab racing through London this summer, the first thing I recall hearing when they finished was a beloved upbeat line from one of my favorite songs in Hamilton: "You'll be back, soon you'll see… You'll be back, time will tell.”
I am beginning to believe that maybe I will be back… just not today, and likely not even soon, but perhaps in good time.