We flew out of Logan Airport at 11:30 am on Monday, changed planes in Chicago, and were settled in our room by 6:30 pm Pacific time. (Jet lag is affecting us even now.) On Tuesday we hung out instead of sightseeing like we planned; my partner especially was sore from all the walking and hauling luggage and stress of travel. It felt good to take it easy. We did go out to buy a new charger for my partner's cell phone (he'd left his at home) and a few other essentials. At 4 pm we took a cab to Dr Brownstein's office. He gave us some papers with information about the surgery, showed us what the drains looked like, and looked at each of our chests. He was easygoing and friendly, and I liked him even more than I had when I met him at True Spirit 2002. We met his daschund Frank and I was very impressed by the huge, plush, yellow and purple throne that he uses as his desk chair. The whole meeting took maybe 20 minutes, and then it was back to the hotel. We ordered delivery from an Italian restaurant and went to bed early.
On Wednesday my partner and I were up at 5, downstairs at 5:30, and in the cab we'd called the night before at 5:50. My partner needed to be at the surgery centre at 06.15 to prep for his 7:30 surgery. We got there just before 06.00; the door was locked, but a security guard let us in. We signed in at the registration desk; when they called my partner, we gave them the cheques for the surgery centre and anaesthesia fees, and my partner signed a couple of things and they gave him his hospital bracelet. We waited for a little longer and nurse Bob (a very nice, rather gay young man) brought my partner back to get changed and settled in his hospital bed. They let me come back once he was settled, and we hung out until it was time to go. Dr Brownstein, the anaesthesiologist, and another nurse came one at a time to talk to my partner, get his medical history, etc. When they wheeled him off to surgery, I went back to the waiting room.
Maybe ten minutes after I came back out, they called me to the registration desk. I gave them my cheques, signed the papers, and got my bracelet. I sat for perhaps 15 minutes after that before nurse Bob came to get me. He said they might as well get me prepped now.
I followed Bob back to the changing room, where he took my medical history and gave me my new outfit - gown, cap, paper booties, and tight stockings that went from my hip to my toes and are supposed to promote circulation. After I changed, Bob took me to my bed, which was in the same spot my partner's had been in, and started me on a sugar IV. He brought me some magazines since I'd be there a while.
I must've been reading "Reader's Digest" for over an hour - my watch was in my jacket pocket and my curtain was drawn, obstructing the clock, so I have no idea - before Dr Brownstein came in. He told me that my partner was fine, and had me sit up so he could draw on me with blue marker. Then he said he'd see me in the room, and left.
Soon the anaesthesiologist came in and chatted with me. She said they'd have to put a mask in my mouth to help me breathe, but only after I was unconscious. She said it might give me a bit of a sore throat.
Not long after she left, the other nurse came to see me. She double-checked my medical history and made a note of the red bracelet they made me wear, which indicated that I'm allergic to Ceclor (an antibiotic). She started me on a new IV, which she said was just to relax me. I asked what time it was and she said it was 10:05, and that my partner had woken up, looked around, and conked right out again. That's my boy.
The nurse started wheeling my bed out, saying that we were going to the OR and I'd need to scoot over onto the operating table, and then they'd start the anaesthesia into my IV. She stopped at a big door and went to enter a code - and that's the last I remember. Guess I jumped the gun a little. Whoops.
When I woke up, I was sitting in a recliner, esentially, with a blanket on my lap. I was sore and groggy, but not nauseous at all. The anaesthesiologist had said that she'd give me something in the IV to prevent nausea, and it worked like a charm. I had no sore throat to speak of, either. A nurse brought me some crackers and Sprite and a pain pill; I wasn't hungry but it was okay eating them since I didn't feel sick.
They wheeled my partner over in a wheelchair, and D came in (she'd taken the bus from the hotel so she could have a lie-in). They instructed all of us in how to empty the drains and measure their contents, and then they got me into a wheelchair and wheeled me out to the street, where a cab was waiting. My partner had to go to the bathroom so D and I waited in the cab, and then we drove back to the hotel. Once we got to our room (it was about 2:30), we conked right out.
The rest of my top surgery diary is here.
About half the tape has fallen off of my incision on the right. The scar looks good and I put Neosporin on it after my shower today. My left nipple has the tiniest bit of scab left on it, but the bottom half of my right nipple is still pretty well crusted over. Hopefully that will fall off within another few days. I discovered this morning that Dr Brownstein missed a stitch on my left nipple - no worries, he said that might happen. My body should eventually reject the thread on its own, or maybe it will dissolve - not sure if it's the right kind of thread for that. I'll just keep an eye on it. I cut it as short as possible so it wouldn't stick out and look odd, and now I can't see it at all unless I pull the skin a bit and look for it. I'm still wearing gauze on my nipples and will continue to do so until the scabs are entirely gone - I don't want my clothes rubbing them and making them fall off prematurely. I put Neosporin on both nipples - except where they were scabbed over - after my shower as well, and looked rather silly with gauze hanging off my chest so as not to waste the tape I had already applied, waiting for the Neosporin to absorb so it wouldn't stick to the gauze and be gross.
My nipples are STILL raised, ten weeks post-op. My partner's have been completely flat for the longest time; interesting since we thought he was going to have all the recovery issues and I'd breeze right through. I can't tell if they've flattened out the slightest bit or not. I'm trying to not wear a-frames anymore in case they're irritating the grafts; such a nice feeling to wear a loose T-shirt without having to make sure it's bagging out enough in front. Been a long long time since I've had that sort of luxury. I've been using cocoa butter every day since the Kelocote samples ran out; my scars are a bit softer than they were a month ago.
No new pictures ... the webcam hates the desktop and the laptop's still busted. I took six-week pictures but they're trapped on the damn laptop. Sorry, y'all.
I'm nearly 16 weeks post-op. My scars are still quite raised, although they're flat in little areas - the low-stress areas, I assume - and my nipples and areolae look more like they've been stuck onto my skin than grown out of it. I E-mailed Dr Brownstein, thinking my body might be rejecting the grafts, but he said it's part of the healing process and not to worry. He suggested using silicone sheeting on the scars, but they cost over $30 at CVS for a 12-week supply. I don't have that kind of money right now. Hopefully in a couple of weeks after I've done some babysitting I'll feel justified in spending that much. If only there were silicone sheeting for the nipples and areolae as well - I should write the good doctor back and ask if I can do that or if it's a waste of time.
No new pictures ... the webcam still hates the desktop and the laptop's still busted. I'm saving my money so Lace can build me a new computer, then there'll be pictures galore. Donations always welcome.
My scars and areolae itch, but I figure that's just the fact that they're healing coupled with the minor irritation from the medical tape. I put hydrocortisone on them when I change the sheeting.
I need a shave about every two days now. Except for the occasional random hair along my jawline or above my lip, it's all concentrated on my chin and above my voice box. All I want is sideburns, damnit.
It wasn't T, it was vitamin B12, and the needle was 27 gauge and half an inch long (my T needles are 25 gauge and 1 inch long), but it's something.
Looking away helps (read: is imperative for a wuss like me).
I did the super-fast way, which helped a lot, and did it so hard in my nervousness that it felt more like I had punched myself in the butt and I didn't feel the prick at all.
Guess my partner gets all my old T needles then, and I can get myself a new prescription for these little ones. 'Bout damn time.
My doctor told me when I saw her on the 17th that I didn't really need the B12 shots, I was borderline for needing them, but she made me take them because she hoped that would help get me to self-inject. It worked, and the extra blood test I had done confirmed that I don't really need the B12 shots, so I'm off those now. Thanks, Elizabeth.