Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Surgery On A Scientist

So a big reason why I've not launched wholeheartedly into this blog just yet is because I've not been feeling too great. I went to the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist yesterday, and was diagnosed with chronic tonsillitis. Between feeling like I have a low-grade flu pretty much constantly, not being able to breathe or swallow properly, and having quite sharp pains in my throat, I've not been having the best couple of weeks.

After a lot of consideration, I've decided to go ahead and schedule the tonsillectomy. The ENT says it is elective, but frankly, I can't disagree with him more.

And because I am who I am, I became fascinated with how they excise the tonsils and how the anaesthesia works. Here is an amazing video of excising the tonsil from the ligament. Notice as the surgeon pulls the tissue away how clean and smooth the surgical site is. That is where the scab forms. This is not for the squeamish, but it certainly isn't the worst surgery I've ever watched. ;)

I began this process nervously; I haven't had surgery in years, and certainly nothing was removed. But I find comfort in an understanding of the procedure and the recovery period. I also have found some good tips on keeping myself as pain-free and healthy as possible while I recover. From what I understand the recovery period is not fun. But then, surgery isn't all that fun either.

A side note: when obtaining medical information, I like the NIH website for information I can trust and verify, as well as clarity and organization. This is a pretty good article for general anesthesia. I studied anesthetics during my pharmacology class last semester, and while the drugs may be different depending on what the doctor likes to use and the patient's history, generally an injected anesthetic is used to sedate the patient and then inhalant anesthetic is used to maintain unconsciousness. The patient may also take an oral sedative or antipsychotic to calm themselves if they are experiencing anxiety before the operation.

By all accounts the average tonsillectomy is about 25 minutes. That's not too bad at all. Because we are such big animals, surgery can be a long and complicated process. But tonsillectomies are considered external surgeries, and so sutures aren't used and there is no need for 'closing up'.

Hopefully things will be a bit better soon. I am allotting 2 weeks for recovery time, because I am a wimp. We'll see how soon I can get in and hopefully I will be 100% before school starts.

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