Total Pageviews

Featured post

New Review

Always nice to get a positive review for one of my books and even better when it comes from another 'ex-pat' Burtonian!  Carol post...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

It Started With A Snore - Part 8

So, as I said previously, we arrived at the shiny new Foundation Hospital clinic early on the appointed Saturday morning. I must admit to approaching all of this with a degree of trepidation, as there is a limit to how many times anyone wants bits chopped off them and I seem to be pushing the ceiling of this quite hard at the moment.
Parking myself on the operating chair, I was immediately surrounded by nurses and the man himself. I decided to alert them straight away to my status as a fully paid-up Wimp and to warn them that I had no intention of watching any of the proceedings at all. They seemed pretty happy with this and we commenced a series of local anaesthetic injections into the back of my mouth. This was a bit hit and miss. Essentially, the Consultant put a series of shots in, waited a bit, poked the area with something sharp and, if I reacted (which I did) had a few more goes with the local. Eventually we both agreed that we seemed to have numbed the area sufficiently and he set to work with, what I assume was, a laser.
Now, I’m afraid that I can’t give you chapter and verse about this as I had my eyes tightly closed throughout but my sensation was one of two lines being ‘drawn’ diagonally down either side of the back of my throat (the overlong uvula presumably). There was a short break between each one, as there was only a relatively brief window of opportunity before the gagging reflex kicked in as a consequence of my tongue being held down and out of the way by a spatula. There was no pain, just a dull sensation. Then came the final bit where the ‘limiting’ of the palate presumably took place. I was aware of a much more sustained sensation travelling slowly across the area laterally and this time there was some pain. I clenched the chair and hoped this would be over soon and was assured by the Consultant that “we’re nearly there”. Seconds later, I was told that it was all over. “Do you want to see it?”, he asked. I weighed this up. On one hand, I really could do without any more gore. On the other, I had the natural human curiosity of wanting to see what had come out of me (it’s the same instinct that makes us look in a handkerchief after we’ve used it, for no apparent reason). I looked down into the kidney dish and was immediately struck by 1. How much of it there was and, 2. The fact that it was the sort of pink favoured by a certain girls’ doll. This wasn’t just pink, it was PINK. I had never really thought of my innards as being powder pink. It really didn’t seem masculine enough.
Wheeled gratefully back to the comfortable lounge area, I was given some time to recover. Before I could go home, I had to demonstrate that I could swallow a drink of something and then I was given a supply of pain-relief tablets and warned that I would have an excruciatingly sore throat for one week and a moderately painful throat for another week but should be ok after that. This seemed unlikely at the time, as I couldn’t feel a thing and was congratulating myself on how much easier it had all been than I expected. By the time I got home, I was beginning to see what they meant. They had warned me to avoid any hard foodstuffs for a couple of days and we were casting round to think of what I could eat. My wife came up with the bright idea of (amongst other things) microwaving a tomato so that it was mushy and edible. Seemed a good idea until I tried it. I had no idea that tomatoes were so acidic! It was like pouring sulphuric acid down my throat, so we gave up on that idea.
The prognosis proved to be exactly right. The first week was diabolical and pretty miserable, whereas Week 2 was just like having a very bad sore throat. After two weeks, all was normal again and (touch wood) has remained so ever since. I do still snore (they never promised that would stop) but I rarely have occasions when I awake in a blind panic, unable to breathe. My wife tells me that my snoring is nowhere near as loud as it was, although my companions from the walking weekend (see I was a stranger and ye took me in) are not convinced about this.
Would I recommend the procedure to anyone else? Well, the alternative, in my case, would have been spending every night attached to a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure) machine. On the whole, I think I prefer to have had a couple of weeks of pain and discomfort, as opposed to a lifetime strapped to one of those, but it is clearly an individual choice and you need to consult with your Specialist to see what he/she thinks. I don’t know if my ‘limited palatoplasty’ will be a permanent solution or whether my ‘girl’s bedroom’ pink innards will grow back and set about trying to suffocate me each and every night again. All I can say is that, right now, just over a year since the operation, everything seems to be fine.
Night, night.