I’m a little over a week out from my surgery, and I’ll post more about that later, but right now, while it’s all fresh, I’d like to create a list of things I wish I would have known before my microvascular decompression .
- Your face is going be numb. The trauma to the nerve will leave you with diminished feeling on the side of the surgery and that takes time to get back. Also, eating feels weird and you’re going to end up with food on your lips because not feeling them means you don’t really know if you’re clearing them.
- Same vein, you’ll wake up with little or no hearing in that ear. Actually I knew that one, but I feel like this list needs that. That came back pretty quickly.
- You will not sleep laying down. Period. It is nearly impossible to get comfortable. Protip – prop up the arm of the side of your surgery, it will relieve the tension of your incision and make a huge difference. Also, recliners.
- Car. Rides. Are. The. Devil. Especially if your surgery is in Maryland where they repave every 25 years. You will feel every bump of the road.
- Ask for muscle relaxers. My biggest complaint has been about how stiff surgery made my neck, more so than the pain. It took over a day for me to get some, but I am actually off of pain meds all together and only take the muscle relaxers.
- Your hair will be so gross. They don’t take a lot of care to wash it in the OR and I’m not allowed to wash it until my follow-up. Thank goodness for the knit hats my friends made me.
- Hair growing back is itchy. Combined with the incision, it’s a new form of torture.
- The lifting requirement seems nearly impossible. Nothing heavier than a half-gallon of milk? This means I can’t get myself water from the pitcher or my laptop.
- Bending down is bad. Like dizzy bad. Between this one and #8, there’s no dog walking either.
- Also, stairs. And looking down.
- You may very well wake up from surgery with a bunch of tiny sores on your face. This is from the contraption that they put your head in to hold it still. This was a total surprise.
- Start taking stool softeners before surgery. #justsaying
- You can do this. This is a few days of being uncomfortable for 20 years of a better life. You are brave and strong and people love you and will help you and a week afterwards you won’t even remember is it was bad.
You are not your pain.