Just so that we're all perfectly clear on this, I will eventually move from the surgical obturator to what's called an "interim" one, and then, in about a year, to a "permanent" obturator. The function of this particular widget is not only (I found out today) to keep me from schnozzing stuff and make me intelligible when I speak, but also to help remodel the tissue in the...well, whatever cavity that is now. Oral cavity, still? Maybe.
Anyway, this surgical obturator is also supposed to help remodel healing tissue as it heals. If I'm to wear anything practicable, the muscles in my mouth and throat are going to have to learn to deal with something that's always there, and the tissue surrounding that *thing* will have to get used to it.
Some of what's in store for me today became clear when I popped the newest obturator out of place simply by swallowing. Turns out my tongue is a little too strong for your usual obturator molding. Who knew? (Don't answer that.)
I also had a nifty little insight that was brought about by talking to Nurse Ames and Beloved Sister and Friend Pens, among other things.
This has been a hard week. I'm not going to lie to you: since last Tuesday, I have cried every day. Some days I've barely gotten out of bed. I've been alternately barely functioning and not functioning at all, filled with hopelessness and self-loathing and wishing everything were different.
I realized part of why that was today: My last clear memory, my last clear, day-long memory, is of the Monday before my surgery. Thanks to the wonders of modern drugs, I have spotty amnesia from Monday night on, and feel totally disconnected to what I do remember of my recovery time after surgery.
So, basically, I woke up a week ago and it was like waking up immediately after surgery, except I was all alone, and I felt okay. Except for the whole missing-bits part, and the now-what part, and the survivor-guilt part, and the body-image-fuckup part.
I remember going to the grocery store on Tuesday, and having a really weird time there. I remember clearly sitting and praying with Ginny The Inappropriate Chaplain in the preop holding area, with my mom and sister and Pens there, and having argued with her that that was breaking the rules, that there were too many people in there. I remember riding to OR 2 on the gurney, and having a nice conversation with the nurse who was pushing me. I remember sliding from the gurney to the OR bed and being strapped in and joking with everybody.
I remember waking up to the most gorgeous arrangement of pink stock and roses and carnations, and seeing my boss at the end of my bed in post-op, and texting the Brother In Beer that everything was well, it was all done, and by the way, while I was under the influence of Dilaudid, would he marry me?
I remember how good iced tea tasted when I dribbled it down my throat that night, using a straw to swallow about a dribbled cc at a time. I remember seeing the doctor and reassuring him that I was well enough to go home.
After that, things kind of fade. And I woke up on Tuesday and was alone, and hungry, and I felt okay, except there was this *thing* that, I noticed suddenly, wasn't helping me talk very well.
You've seen the rest.
I was going to spend the evening taking pictures of The Cavity and the obturator, so you all could see what's what, but I've decided instead to watch "Blazing Saddles" and eat leftover quiche.