Initial after-action report

Here’s the Story of My Day yesterday:

I got to Tripler Army Hospital via my brother-in-law at 5:15am yesterday morning. I checked in, changed into that awful hospital gown (at least they gave me a robe, too!) and sat around in front of a tv showing “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and then “For Better or Worse” (it was tuned to TBS) until they took me into the pre-op area down the hall. The docs and nurses all came in individually and introduced themselves (or re-introduced themselves if I’d met them before) and gave me some timetable info, then they left me in the hands of the anesthesiologist. I went into surgery at roughly 7:30am and woke up in the recovery room at about 10:00am. I was still pretty woozy from the anesthesia, so I didn’t get back to the pre-op waiting room for another half-hour or so.

Meanwhile they’d called my sister, and she got there a while after I got into the holding pen. We were laboring under the misunderstanding that one of the docs would come explain what they’d done, so we sat around for a while. As it turned out, they don’t do that. Only if the patient’s escort is waiting outside the OR do they briefly explain; otherwise they have no time to spare for it. Once we were informed of that, my poor sister had to go hang out at the pharmacy for a while because they’d prescribed Tylenol and painkillers in pill form and those had to be changed to liquids. The post-op instructions said I could go right back to “regular diet.” Ha! My throat was so sore yesterday afternoon and evening I winced every time I swallowed even the smallest amount of liquid! I am happy to say that I’m perfectly capable of drinking coffee this morning, although I have to limit the size of the gulps I can take. If that’s the case, presumably I can eat the pudding and jello my sister so kindly got for me yesterday afternoon. (Side note: Tylenol in liquid format is meant for children. It’s ostensibly a bubble-gum flavor. Yuk.)

Okay, so now you all want to know the results. So do I! I can report that one does not need a uvula in order to speak clearly or swallow; mine is completely gone. I have a veritable hedge of stitches at the back of my mouth across the soft palate; I’m wondering whether they’re soluble. If they’re not I’m not looking forward to their removal. I’m feeling fine otherwise.

I have no idea what the lab results will be, nor do I know when I’ll get told. I have a follow-up appointment with the docs at the ENT Clinic on Tuesday, July 17 at 3:15pm. Hopefully I’ll get a phone call before then to give me a preliminary report. I’ll update here if I do.

Thanks for the good wishes!


  1. Cool beans, Steve. I’m glad to hear the positive outcomes so far and remain positive the lab results will spare you any additional discomforts.

    In the meantime, I hope you can clearly enunciate “More pudding, please.” Might as well milk the sisterly sympathy for all the best!

  2. A friend of mine in Chicago is having (sounds like) similar surgery today to cure sleep apnea: uvula trim, soft palate resection, and tonsillectomy (sp?). They told him 10 days for the worst of the pain to subside–hope yours is not that long. And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but stay ahead of the pain–take your drugs early and often!

    Hoping they’re so low-key about sharing results with you because it’s nothing remarkable. But please continue to keep us informed!

    On a self-centered note, I have a job interview today at a library in the couple-towns-over wealthy community. Wish me luck!


  3. Ported over here from Making Light. Best wishes, get well soon and hope everything is clear.

    Take care and keep up with the soft food as long as needed. That is a place you do not wish to dislodge stitches.

  4. No uvula!? But how will you indicate via photos that you’re yelling loudly if we don’t see your uvula!? Are you going to have reconstructive surgery–maybe a little saline-filled fake uvula??

    Seriously, I do hope the worst is over already. Or soon.

  5. Maybe no news is good news. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a quick recovery. I still remember my sore throat from a tonsillectomy at age 6. Ice Cream felt really good, as I recall. Good luck buddy. Let us know, okay?

  6. Sounds like so far, so good. Glad to hear you’re already able to drink coffee, that’s great. Take care. When I was a kid I couldn’t understand the point of having an uvula back there, and frankly I still can’t.

  7. Matt, I like Ann’s suggestion above, but I’ll modify it: it’s a useful image when an editorial cartoonist wants to show you’re screaming your lungs out.

  8. Here’s to wishing you a speedy and full recovery. I’ve enjoyed your insight on the world at large (and Hawaii in particular), so I’m hoping you come out fine.

  9. Sounds like good news so far. I hope you get over the surgery quickly, and as painlessly as possible, and the test results are good news as well. Kind of a pain, isn’t it, that one of the side-effects of getting older is having to learn new medical terms so you know what the doctors are saying to you.

  10. YAY to coffee~ that’d be too much to take =D
    My ex-husband didn’t have a uvula! So clearly it can be done, on a side note, he also didn’t have the tongue knot~ the thing under your tongue… weird huh?
    At any rate, I’m awfully glad to hear you are on the mend and I hope you hear good news very soon. Waiting is nerve wracking. =/
    You’re in our very best wishes and prayers!
    We can’t wait to see you!

Comments are closed.