In July of 2005 I had a full parotidectomy. What, in god's name is a parotid and why the hell did it get ectomy-ed? Well… apparently, this is a pretty common thing. Whats not so common is how large and how old mine was.
After I was born, my mom noticed a small lump behind my ear, near my jaw. She asked the doctor about it and they told her it would go away soon enough and to just ignore it. Fast forward 19 years and I, for the first time ever, notice this centimeter large thing. I went to a doctor and they told me to ignore it since it didnt hurt and it was probably just an overlarge lymph node (although, in hindsight… a fuggin large lymph node is a bad sign by itself anyway). Another year goes by and I'm in with my new family doctor in C-ville and they're doing a quick once over for State Department. The lady feels under my ear and says, "Whats that!?" "Dunno… you're the doctor." "Have you always had this?" "Yep." "Well, is it bigger than normal?" And sure enough, that thing was about an inch big.
I got a referral to an Ear Nose and Throat dude who took one feel and said, "Oh yeah. Its a tumor in your parotid gland. That should get removed." So, we did a little biopsy. Holy frick on a stick… I can handle alot of random shit done to me, and things cut open and what not. But I can usually see whats being done to me. Not so much this time around. I very nearly passed out right there in the chair. I was crying, it was just bad.
Results come in… its benign. Doc still wants it out. Says, "How's next Wednesday for you?" Um… ok. I'm handed a packet of info that I needa give the hospital (Living Will, Next of Kin… that kinda stuff). In the meantime I was given a script for valium (Am I that transparent?) and an appointment for an MRI.
Day of the thingy rolls around. Ma and Dad, M, and his Mom… all in the room with me. I couldnt eat from midnight on till the surgery. It was supposed to go down at 11am, but at 2pm, I was still in the room. I was getting pissy, hungry, and more nervous by the second. Finally, a very nice nurse comes in and tells me that everything is ready. I sit in my wheelchair and say bye to my family. I'm wheeled all over the place and finally arrive at the room. People are everywhere, things are set up on a table… Jesus. At this point, I'm very much scared to death. I'm not talking, and only barely responding to requests. They told me to go something, I blankely did it. They told me to take something off… I mutely complied.
There is a moment in everyone's life where they realize that absolutely nothing is in their control. I had arrived at that moment. I knew that this surgery was very necessary, and that I had reached a point of no return. I laid down on the table, and a very kind man came up to me and told me that they were going to start the anestesia… and that it would only be another few seconds.
I was pulled out of my sleep in what felt like almost 10 seconds later. I was yanked. It felt like I had slipped down into a nice little hole, and was forcibly removed by my face. I vaguely remember complaining that I had to pee, and that I really had to pee, and oh my god someone please get my ass to a toilet I need to pee. I was given a bed pan, but I dont do that. I had to pee. I remember hearing an announcement that said, "Visiting hours are now over" and I began screaming and crying for M and my parents. The lady told me that that announcement didnt apply to them. I fell back asleep.
I woke up to being rolled down a hall, and a bunch of nurses around me. I, again, said I had to pee. They helped me up and walked me to my own private bathroom, where I proceeded to finally pee. I also puked. I was told that was normal. Mom, Dad, and M came in and tried to talk to me. M laughed and told me that I was in pediatrics. Lol. I was a stone's throw from 21, and I was in the little kid ward. Cute. Mom tried to put some lip balm on my lips and I groaned. Eventually, I drifted back off.
I woke up at 11 something at night. I realized that I was fuggin starving. I pressed my nurse # and said I had to pee (a recurring thing), and that I was a lil hungry. The lady came to unhook my legs from the "No Blood Clot Thing" and asked me what I wanted. I asked for chicken noodle soup and strawberry ice cream. I figured… fuck. I'm in goddamn Peeds. I called M and talked for a hot second, and then went back to sleep.
In the morning I was released and Ma and Dad stuck around for a bit to take care of me while M was in class. My entire face was twelve sizes waaay too big, especially the right side. Apparently, my tumor was bigger than they thought, and also so damn wrapped up in my nerves that what supposed to be 2 hours ended up being 5ish.
I still cannot feel my right earlobe and some of my neck. But, attached here is the picture of my scar that M took a few days ago. I cant see it, so I was wondering how it was going. Anywhoosit… thats my story. And I would love it if I never had to go to another hospital again. But I know thats not possible.