Since RomeoLola asked about my experience during the actual surgery, I thought I’d answer her questions to set her mind at ease (and maybe a few others’ minds too) in this update. Plus, include answers to other questions from others as well. From what I can piece together from my “crew” and actually remember myself about the surgery (before, during and after), here’s how it all went down, what I felt, and other helpful tidbits….
Since my husband & I were scheduled for back-to-back surgery days, and Dr. Harley was much better after being ill, we BOTH saw Dr. H around 10:30-ish the morning of MY surgery (3/17/16) for our pre-ops. BTW...Dr. Harley was never admitted to the hospital, nor did he go to the ER. He told me himself that he went to an Urgent Care and got medication & rest. He looked wonderful, and really only coughed when he laughed or chuckled. The man must have a great immune system to bounce back as quickly as he did!!! Anyway, back to the issue at hand, my/our experiences....
After Dr. H went over everything with us, and answered questions for my husband & also showed K pictures of a few men who’d also had the procedures he was having, we were given prescriptions for all of our medications to fill before surgery. Upon leaving his office, we dropped them off at a CVS a couple of blocks away, went back to our rented chalet for a few things, picked up our meds from CVS, and were back at Dr. H's sometime before 1 pm.
Once there, I ingested the pills in the tiny plastic medicine cup handed to me, gave my husband a smooch & off he went to do whatever he needed to do before the doctor was done “refurbishing” my face. Dr. Harley, his awesome nurse Kellie, and I went into his "operating" room where I sat down in the patient’s chair and he sat on his stool and proceeded to draw an "instructional map" on my face and neck and we chatted, well, “I” chatted!!! LOL!!! Of course I was nervous and talking ninety to nothing about anything and everything (trying not to move my jaw of course) while he drew away --- I'm sure the poor man felt more like a workhouse hostage than a doctor at that point!!
After my facial art was done, he injected a series of what I believe to be some sort of numbing serum into my face at various locations. I'm not gonna lie, it hurt like "H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!!!" Now THOSE SHOTS did what the pills had thus far failed to do----THEY SHUT ME UP!!! I don’t think I said another WORD after the first shot!!! The pain was like what you experience at the dentist’s office, if that gives you any indication of what you’re likely to experience. If you do well with shots at the dentist, then this will be no big deal for you. If you are like me and DON’T do well with them (meaning your nerve endings are pretty sensitive to pain), then you simply concentrate on breathing through the pain and riding out the next 45 – 60 seconds of your life----which is also not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things!! Kellie sat next to me the entire time and offered moral support by putting one of her hands over mine and rubbing that same arm with her other hand. She was very comforting, and I appreciated it!
At some point during the shots & arm rubbing, I nodded off, and all I remember during my “time in the chair” is feeling a little bit of pressure on my face once or twice (no pain at all), but mainly, I just slept. Therefore, I did not hurt during surgery, nor did I wake up during the surgery. In fact, I have never been in pain at all since those pesky, but necessary shots!
Honestly, I cannot remember HOW I got to the escalade after the procedure was through. Plus, I don’t know if K picked me up, or if he brought along R (our housekeeper) to help, or what!?!? For all I know, those two could have laid me down in the middle of a big ol’ sheet, pulled the corners together, and dragged me like a sack of dirty laundry out to the vehicle. However, I was lucid enough to realize I WAS in the vehicle and that someone had to have taken "after" pictures of me with the bandages on my head, because those pictures ARE on my cellphone, and it looks like I AM in the front seat of our SUV lookin’ like some sort of Jacob Marley Christmas Carol character understudy.
At any rate, I slept a lot the 2 days, and don't recall eating anything other than being force fed a few bites of pineapple smoothie “stuff” and being woken up to down more pills. Come to find out, R & her husband (God love 'em both) had listened to my HUSBAND (who is NOT a medical doctor, mind you) and gave me 2 pain pills every 4 hours per HUBBY’s instructions, which were NOT Dr. H’s instructions on the bottle, but we’ll get to that later. While that's the most SOUND two days of sleep I've ever had, I'm just glad I’m STILL alive to tell the tale!!!
I’m told that after I got back to our rented chalet, I kept telling R and her husband over and over, “Don’t let K see me! He can’t SEE me like this!!” What was going through my mind, but I didn’t HAVE the ability to articulate in my “drugged up state” at the time, was that I did not want my husband to see me because I was worried he’d be too afraid to go through with his surgery the next day, and I did not want to scare him with my “look”! Had I known they were overdosing me, I would’ve said something along the lines of, “Go fetch a priest to administer ‘last rites’, and may God have mercy on your souls for listening to my well-meaning, but idiotic husband instead of READING the freakin’ medical instructions people!”
The next day, when they loaded me into the SUV to go back to Dr. Harley’s and get my head gear off, all I remember is sitting in the back passenger’s seat and facing out of the opened car door telling R and her husband not to buckle me up and to move back because I had to barf and did not want to throw up on her cute sandals. At first, I think they thought I was kidding. However, they finally realized I was about to blow like “Old Faithful” and ran for cover so I could 'get on with it'. Again, and I don't mean this is a unkind way, but had I known they could have potentially ended my existence with the amount of pain medication they were giving me, I would’ve soaked them from head to toe in puke!!!!
Honestly, barfing like I did is NOT normal for me. It HAD to have been due to being given tons of unneeded pain medication and thae fact that I hadn’t eaten much of anything. FYI…my husband, the non-face sweller, did not HAVE this experience AT ALL since he was given the correct dosages --- only AFTER Dr. Harley, noticing how strangely incoherent & spaced out I was, EXPLAINED to them that they were supposed to give me pain medication ONLY if I asked for it---and NOT the maximum amount every few hours until either the bottle was empty or I was DEAD!!! Well, maybe he didn't say it JUST like THAT, but you get the gist....my inner circle let me down...as in almost "6 feet under" down!!!
Understandably, I don’t remember much of anything from the point of me getting sick on the way to get my head gear off to actually getting back to the chalet. However, I do recall that once the head wrap came off, I felt relieved!
After my VERY contrite inner circle of drug pushers STOPPED the madness, I was finally able to eat mashed potatoes and a few days later on the way home, I even had a broken up Hardee’s biscuit covered in sausage gravy to soften it up a bit....which I think kick-started my facial swelling!!!
I’m now controlling my OWN drugs and feeling no pain, but I’m finding the swelling to be a HUGE challenge for me and I’ve had to change my eating and icing habits. Since I REALLY dislike being left in my husband’s “healing dust”, I’ve been icing my face about 4 times a day with frozen bags of peas and using the Thera-Pearl face mask (AKA frozen face mask) about 3 times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Now, I KNOW the mask makes me look like I’m some sort of potential bride material for Jason from the Friday the 13th movies, but it really sucks when your face is almost the exact size of Charlie Brown’s as he’s being flown past the grand stand at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, so I’ll keep on wearing that creepy little axe murderer mask!! LOL!!! Plus, it’ll be a little “pay back” for my husband for instructing R and her husband to unknowingly almost DO AWAY WITH ME last week!!!! I’m wearing it to bed tomorrow night when he comes home!!! LOL!!!!
I’ve found that icing down my face more frequently and cutting out salt are atarting to bring the swelling down. I am drinking as much water as I can stand and eating Sugar-Free Jello doused with light Reddi Wip, Simply Jif peanut butter and natural Smucker’s grape jelly sandwiches, and grilled egg and cheese sandwiches. Also, yogurt, blueberries and pineapple. I use just a little bit of cheese to flavor the egg & cheese grilled sandwich and a light smearing of mayo, plus a pat of unsalted butter to brown it off with. Since I’ve never had to watch my sodium intake, and mainly eat what I feel like eating, and just watch portion sizes; having to eat as low sodium as possible is torture for me!!! Portion control has always worked for me, throwing that mentality out of the window and begin to THINK in terms of food composition is a struggle. I’m scared to eat anything other than the few items I listed, because I don’t want my face to inflate to inhuman proportions if I unknowingly eat the wrong thing.
Today marks one week since my surgery and it's also the first day that I feel like I'm seeing “myself”, or some semblance of the face I am accustomed to seeing, and this makes me happy and relieved. Honestly, I’ll be devastated if I wind up looking like someone else other than myself (a few years younger and/or rested). I think my husband was thinking the same thing. I texted him today with the picture of me with my hair down (pictured above) to see what he’d say. He texted back with, ‘I see the swelling is going down and you still look like MY ******!’ It’s a play on my given name that only HE calls me, and which lets me and everyone else know how special I am to him and how he wouldn’t give me up for the world --- even after all these years. As aggravating as that man is, he definitely KNOWS how to put my fears to rest with two simple words that carry more meaning for me than the phrase ‘I love You’ does.
Anyway, my husband is looking GREAT and doing well, and QUITE pleased with himself and his results!! However, because he is such a “Manly Man”, he doesn’t want anyone to know he had face work done. Since he’s on the road all the time, no one should really suspect a thing. However, his mother can’t keep a secret to save her life! So, THAT is at the crux of why we are being so secretive with BOTH of our families. If it were just me having this surgery, then it would not be an issue. I’m a former beauty queen, and in my neck of the woods, the discovery that I've had plastic surgery would not be given much thought. However, for HIM to have it, well, it would be the “talk of the town” and his mother would exacerbate it by blabbing it to any warm body close by—and he deserves better than that!!!! While I have posted a few pictures of him, I will probably remove them in about a month to 6 weeks. Also, I may remove my full photos and only show the bottom portion, but I would certainly share full photos via Real Self e-mail. It just depends on how things evilve outside of the RS community. Hopefully, I can leave all the photos up as that has been my intention from the start.
Maybe some of what I’ve rambled on about will be of help to others, as will these latest photos. The procedure with Dr. Harley was a wonderful experience and no one should have any fears about following through with it and using him as your surgeon. Watch out for the swelling. I like the Thera-Pearl products for the facial swelling. As well as, the frozen bagged peas. I also recommend looking into a pillow system. It sure has helped me stay upright at night. And…I think the fresh pineapple & pineapple juice and blueberries has helped keep our bruising to a minimum. So, all in all, I really have no reason to complain about the healing process, such as it is. It could always be worse, and I’m grateful that my husband is progressing so beautifully too....even if he DID have a hand in me potentially being killed!! PLUS, the generous ladies on the RS community have been a blessing to me and I'll continue to be a link in this chain of support for others. What a gift this community has been and continues to be!!!! I'll probably post again when my stitches come out on Sunday night. My brother is a retired nurse and he's coming over Easter night and taking them out for us! I just LOVE my big brother...he's waaaaaay too good to me and I'm thankful that he is!!!