Monday, May 30, 2016

Ground (Snore) Zero.

It's a damp Tuesday morning and I sit here, in the study, my mind swirling - literally. 

When I woke from my otherwise broken sleep at 6.30 this morning, the first thing I did was prepare my morning cocktail of medications. I'm currently on a regimen of pain killers including Celebrex, Tramadol, Panadol, an anti-inflammatory called Dexamethasone, a drug to prevent bleeding called Tranexamic Acid, an antibiotic called Amoxycillin and an antiseptic mouth wash called Difflam. Through out the day, I have to dose these out, interchanging the pain tablets with the others, so I can get a balance of effect that lasts.

Remember that scene in Prascilla - Queen of the Desert when Terrance Stamp's Ralph sat preparing his morning hormone pills by simply tipping them into a breakfast bowl and pouring milk over them? 

Yeah - that.

(I was seeing orange unicorns here.)

The downside of all of this is that it sends me loopy. My head is spinning, my balance is shot and my mind is foggy. Oh - and I'm having some awesome hallucinations. It's either that or endure a constant feeling of razor blades slicing at the back of my throat. I'm also experiencing a neuralgic pain that shoots up into my ears from either side of my jaw. I have to time the taking of these painkillers right so that the analgesic effect kicks in before I even contemplate eating anything. 


Everything I am eating presently is either soft or pureed. Which isn't actually as bad as it sounds. When I was in hospital, they brought me a little tub of pureed apple on my breakfast tray which actually tasted really nice so when I came home and Emily asked me what I would like from the shops, I made sure to write that one down. I've started pairing it with some Greek yoghurt and for the time being, it's a little treat to myself. I look forward to that one. I'm also sharpening my vegetable soup making skills. A soup pack from the shops containing a couple of carrots, celery, an onion, a turnip, a parsnip, a sweet potato costs like a couple of dollars. I add to that half a butternut pumpkin and slow cook the lot in some stock until it's all ready to be zipped into a puree. At the moment, I love this soup but I fear that I may tire of it quickly. I can drink cold tea - a Twinings earl grey. It's a bit pedestrian but, even cold, it's okay. 

My swallowing function, while it's affected by the post operative swelling and inflammation, is serviceable - so long as I don't have anything remotely solid. I tried some banana the yesterday. It sent my throat into a spasm that had my eyes bulging out of my head. 

I can't speak. My voice has been reduced to barely functional whisper and when I have tested it, it bloody hurts. I knew this was going to be the case but it now that the reality has set in, so has my depression. Trying to communicate with my family has proved challenging with me trying some rudimentary signing for obvious things and mouthing words in the hope that they will understand me. It works about fifty percent of the time but it has been bloody frustrating. 

So, I'm here alone in the house. Trying to keep my mind busy with reading and counting down the time to my next lot of pain killers. I have plenty of movies and a PS4 - I watched Deadpool yesterday. What piece of shit that was. 2 hours of my life I won't get back. Gaming is good for short periods but the games send me even more loopy and they make me feel sick. 

(Lucy makes the best Get Well cards.)

In all of this, there may be some light to look forward to. The surgery went well - very well in fact, and while the surgeon had to remove the bone from my voice box as was planned, he was able to preserve the anchor point between that bone and the right hand vocal cord. It's in a precarious state right now so I am forced to rest it completely - at least until the healing process is complete. 

So there's a chance that I can salvage some of my voice. A little one - but I'll take that right now.

Listen to my interview with Alice Fraser, recorded before all of this malarkey.


  1. Hell, Dean! I admire the way you're tackling this bloody awful situation. Keep on thinking that way, mate. My thoughts are with you.

    1. I appreciate that Stephen. I don't know how I should be handling all this really. But it is cathartic to get my thoughts out of my head and on to an external medium. So I guess that means I'm doing it right.

  2. Big hugs, Dean. It's an excellent sign that you're showing your usual humor (orange unicorns, Priscilla reference...), even if you feel like crap. With all those drugs and symptoms going on, of course you're going to have a bad week. This part isn't the new normal--just endure it and it'll start getting better!

    In thinking of you I was remembering from my linguistics courses some statement like "Language isn't a speech issue; it's a brain issue." When deaf or speech-impaired people use sign language, all the same language-related parts of their brain light up that using speech sets off in other people. Deaf people sign in their sleep the way non-deaf people talk in their sleep. It's all very cool. So you 100% still have *language*, if that's any inspiration--though I hope you do get to salvage as much voice as possible, of course!

    But for now, hoping you rest up and get your strength back so you can take on the world again. xxoo

  3. Dean, you are on my prayers list - every day. I'm crossing every finger and toe for you. Thanks for sharing what's happening. It sounds pretty shitful - painful, unknowable bits etc. I'm thinking of you and sending good vibes that you stay strong with wobbles. Rest your voice very conscientiously. Cheers, Lizzie (Tea With Alice Listener)

  4. Glad to see the surgery went well. Just remember there's lots of people hoping things go well for you. It's good to get some updates. Take care of yourself and thinking of you from the other side of the world.Graham.

  5. I guess if you are supposed to rest the vocal chords, then writing it all down can only help? Good luck. We are recent owners of a PS4. Hubs and I need the kids to tell us what we're supposed to do. Somewhere in the last 17 years, games moved on without us...

  6. I had no idea what all you had done, Dean. Sounds like it needed to be taken care of and you are working through it all. Hang in there! And be a good patient. (nurse joke there)

    1. Thanks Gayle and yes - I fully admit to the fact that, as a Nurse, I am a terrible patient. I have been living a hermit like existence for the past couple of months since all this happened but I have progressed to being able to eat solid foods again as well as sleeping without fear of choking to death. The speech however, is still a work in progress.