Friday, October 12, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 10/11/18: Successful Painless Surgery, Pain Management, Making Life Easier

1. I arrived on time at Dr. Brittney Penberthy's office, relaxed and ready to undergo an apicoectomy. Dr. Penberthy made a very positive impression on me back on Monday. She moved through the evaluation of my tooth with efficiency, inspiring my confidence as she moved effortlessly between stages of the evaluation, articulated clearly what she was up to, and as she gave me a frank and straightforward summation of what she recommended as treatment.

Today, the confidence I'd felt in dealing with Dr. Penberthy on Monday was deepened. Again, Dr. Penberthy clearly communicated everything she was doing. As she deadened the surgery area, made the incision, and as she removed the infected tissue and improved the condition of the tip of the tooth's root, she worked with her tools as if all of this was second nature to her. The schedulers had created a two hour slot for this surgery. It was over in an hour. Dr. Penberthy took x-rays of her work, put them up on a computer screen, and explained to me what she had done and showed me her handiwork. For the hour Dr. Penberthy worked, I felt no pain. I grew more and more calm as the surgery proceeded.

Dr. Penberthy gave me clear instruction as to what I needed to do after the surgery once I returned home. Her assistant also went over these instructions and they were clearly laid out in a handout. I return in a week to have my stitches removed.

2. Back in Kellogg, I stopped in at Yoke's to have three prescriptions filled: a course of antibiotics, painkillers, and a post-surgery mouthwash. I also bought yogurt. I've had some bad luck in the past with antibiotics killing both bad and good bacteria, so I want to complement the antibiotics with probiotics.

At first, I was going to try to make it through the day without taking pain medicine and rely exclusively on icing the surgery area to manage the pain. But, I thought more about it on the drive back to Kellogg. Dr. Penberthy had done some research and prescribed me pain medicine that is cleared through the liver, not the kidneys. So I was safe that way. Also, Dr. Penberthy told me that taking pain medicine soon after the surgery would have a very positive impact on the swelling and pain.

So, once I returned home, I took a pain pill and I started icing the area for ten minutes every half an hour until I went to bed around 10 o'clock. I took another pain pill at 8:00, thinking it might help me make it through the night when I wouldn't be icing.

This treatment worked splendidly.  My recovery through the entire afternoon and into the night was comfortable.

3. As I get older, I try to make as many things as I can in my life easier on myself. For example, Carol and Paul let the corgis stay with them while I was in Billings. Because I didn't know how my recovery from surgery would go, I thought that it would sure make things easier for me if the corgis could stay with Carol and Paul on Thursday during the day and through the night. Carol assured me that this plan would work fine for Paul and her -- in fact, she'd had the same idea herself.

I'm very grateful that the dogs stayed at Carol and Paul's on Thursday. It not only made my day easier, but it freed me up to focus on making sure I followed the post-surgery instructions without distraction and assured me that any interruptions to my sleep would be my own, not the nocturnal demands of the corgis.   

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