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Friday, July 17, 2009

Hi! I'm here to have my face cut up...

So, for those of you who are avid readers of my blog (I love you guys!), you will know that I was recently the victim of an assault, during which my nose was broken. Well, yesterday, I went into hospital to have it repaired. Surgically.

This may seem relatively trivial to some. I mean, so what, it's a little surgery. It's not exactly a heart/head transplant. Well actually, it was! Behold, the new me:

On a more serious note, even the most simple surgery which requires me going under complete anaesthesia is potentially life-threatening for me. I have a fantastic little disease called malignant hyperthermia (MH). Just reading that first paragraph on wikipedia makes it sound very fatal. It's genetic and basically means that if I am not given the correct anaesthetics, my body starts to burn off all its possible energy and I end up cooking myself to death. Charming, isn't it?

Apart from being able to instill terror in the hearts of anaesthesiologists everywhere, there's no real perks to having the disorder. The only way that this disorder can be diagnosed is by having a biopsy done on a leg muscle in which the remove a massive chunk of your leg, put it into a special solution of chemicals and watch it twitch and fizzle. They then confirm that you have it. I had the biopsy done when I was 5. I only learned yesterday that in order to avoid giving me anaesthetic, the doctors just doped my little 5 year old body with tons of Valium and then hacked away at my leg. Am I the only one who finds that irresponsible...?

This time round, no Valium was required. But it would have been appreciated. Instead, I was given the safe stuff (I don't actually know what they gave me) and I was the first to be operated on, so as to ensure that the machines were all clean and devoid of normal anaesthetic. The operation (I keep thinking it's spelled with two 'p's...) entailed repositioning my septum (the cartilage that separates your nostrils from one another) and removing part of my turbinates (wafer-like bones in your sinuses that are necessary for heating and cooling air as it enters and leaves the body respectively), which had been damaged when their quiet existence was rudely altered by a firearm. Behold, my x-ray!

Sorry, my scanner can't really cope with the contrast very well, so I had to draw the bits in...Anyway, I awoke in the ICU after the op was over with a mass of memories that I'm still not sure didn't happen. Someone explained to me that apparently with MH, the attacks can take place up to 24 hrs after the surgery is over, so there is still a danger, even if you've made it through already.

But I survived! I then spent the next day drifting in and out of consciousness in the ICU, being attended to by a fantastic male nurse called Presley. After reading his name take I made a mental note not to say 'Hey! Like, Elvis Presley!' as I was sure that he'd probably been hating his parents all his life for giving him that name. Instead, I thought 'Hey! Like Elvis the penguin!'.

Throughout the day the nurses checked my vitals, took my temperature using an ear-gun-thingy (usually, just as I was drifting off to sleep) and occasionally checking my blood sugar just for fun (I'm not kidding. This morning I woke up and the nurse literally said, with great enthusiasm I might add, 'Shall we check your blood sugar? It's not necessary, you're fine, but let's just do it anyway, shall we?'). Every now and then Presley would swing past to make sexist comments like 'These work so hard and they go and spend all your money...' while looking at me knowingly. I tried to make like I was woozy from all the drugs.

At various times I was also accosted (but in a nice way) by the catering lady, who came around with a menu to ask me what I would like to eat for my next meal. For the record, the Greek salad has no feta and came with a grand total of three olives. But otherwise, hospital food wasn't bad!

I was also visited by my parents, my cousin and my pal Dave! Duncan (cousin) was most unimpressed that nobody had brought me chocolates for him to help himself to. So I sent my mother to buy some, which she did, and he helped himself to. The nurse ended up taking it in the end. I wasn't really in the mood for chocolate anyway.

Eventually, I was permitted to return home. My dad picked me up with some clothes (the underwear they give you in the hospital is amazing! It's so stretchy! But very uncomfortable...) and I was whisked off home after a few goodbyes. Now, I sit at home, wrapped in a blanket, tissues stuffed up my nose and happy to have had a bath. I'll keep you posted on my condition...

Don't read further if you do not want to be scarred.

You were warned! For the record, when you are in ICU, no matter how coherent your speech and how much effort you put into proving that you are quite capable of moving around by yourself without dying, they will NOT let you go to the toilet. Instead they will bring you a little jug-thing into which you must now relieve yourself. Being a male, I'm sure this was easier for me than, say, for a girl. However, peeing at such a funny angle, into a vessel that is filling rapidly and could overflow into your bed at any time is scary! It's even worse when they give you one that doesn't have a lid! It's so much more risky! You could spill at any time!


  1. I'm glad that you're alive and reconstructed! Hope to see you soon! :)

  2. Nice head-plant. It hink you shouldcut down on the painkillers.

  3. Hey does your new nose make whistling noises when you breath in and out?

    I wish I had one of those...

    Imagine your every awkward silence filled with giggling and watching people trying to control themselves to be polite.

    Not to mention being able to whistle with your mouth and nose at the same time!!! you could make music!

  4. As a man of science, you may now join Tycho Brahe as an ethmoid bone flasher.

    I am extremely happy to know you have come through all the harrowing events from ammo to anesthesia.

    Shall we call you "Nostrildamus"?

  5. My dearest darlingest luke. I am so glad you are ok. Love you xxx

  6. at least they didn't stick a catheter up there to help you pee. those things are vicious. but i appreciate the difficulty you faced, and commiserate accordingly with you :)

    but besides this, i too am most glad you are ok :)