Tuesday, March 4, 2014

one week post surgery today

Well, we made it home 5 days early! To boston SAturday on direct flight so not too bad though trying to keep cough quiet whole trip and explain I wasn't contagious! Thank goodness for plane noise. I will remember that when it seems loud! Certainly was happy to have brother David and Marcy meet us and give a place to stay over before drive home to NH on Sunday. Hadn't gotten much sleep due to constant coughing.

So good to be home.Plenty of space (compared to a motel) to cough and not bother anyone! Phew. By yesterday was being able to cough up and spit out the phlegm which I guess is still related to the anesthesia: gooey white foamy stuff if you really want to know. First 5 days couldn't get rid of it. Also was difficult to swallow and had to thicken any liquids with Thicket from drug store. No taste but prevents choking on liquids as my vocal chords are mostly separate as after Botox shots though that was never a problem for me fortunately. Now I am so glad as this first few days were horrendous.

It sounds delusional but on day 2 I thought maybe muscles and nerves had been cut too much and chords would never come together so I would live in this perpetual open throat condition. Scarry. Dr. Berke assured me he had been conservative and not cut too much. Phew! Now I can feel it all working out as it is supposed to. Everyone of the 350 I have talked with or read about talks about how tough those first 3-4 days are and I can agree. Now today after one week, I have a soft, whispery voice but clear with no breaks. Amazed people can even hear me on phone but they do and I can say things clearly I never could. Like reading off a name, address and phone or email address. Never could do that well since 1973. So this is already pretty amazing and I can live with my botoxy breathy voice for as many months as needed.

And it will be 6-12 months before the new nerve connections are re-enervated completely. Basically they cut the two nerves from brain that caused the spazams and then attached other nerves in neck. Calls for faith in the process I guess!! And will my voice next year be different? lower, breathier, able to sing or not, blow out candles, etc. Will see. And so I will continue to report especially for you who may want to try this procedure. That is really why I am doing this as it was so helpful to read others blogs and comments over the past year or more.

I really did need to retire before doing the surgery as not much voice for awhile: Though many people get back to work soon with their soft voices. Others have asked about Medicare and supplement. I have been told they will pay as they have with others as long as it is medically necessary so I hope it is deemed to be. Still not clear who or when makes that determination. Some have had to appeal their other insurance refusals. I hope I don't have to. So far, bills for lead up evaluations for this have been all covered. My Botox provider in Boston, Dr. Grillone, did come to observe the surgery and I felt so good having him there though never saw him or didn't remember. He says I spoke with him before surgery and anesthesia but I guess it had already taken effect as no memory of seeing or speaking with him. He has told others that he thought things went well and that too is reassuring! Thanks Dr. G!

Most important perhaps to say is that I have no memory of any pain or even soreness in the throat. Totally amazing as it was with My Bunion surgery last year. Maybe I am immune to pain. Don't think so as when a bang a finger or other body part! This operation was even easier that way. Have taken prescribed pain meds only to help with sleep hoping that helps. Sleep is so difficult when coughing and wheezing and stuggling for air. Seem to be on a West Coast schedule since home meaning I may fall asleep between one and two am, wake for meds at 6, about 7 of them, then sleep in morning again. Mostly post surgery meds like antibiotics, 3 cough meds, colice, one for pain, etc. Blood pressure did spike day after at least so continuing my blood pressure and acid reflux was important to continue.

So today it is gorgeous and sunny but Cold. So I stay in starting to exercise inside. Look forward to getting out later this week. Stay tuned for occasional updates. Send any questions and especially if you are considering this for yourself. Thanks to all who have given so much encouragement and support! you may call but you may not hear me answer! 603-253-9964. Call back in a few days!


  1. Thanks Dick for the update! It sounds as if you are making good progress. I'm sure being home feels good and trust that Ruth is doing her best to help you behave! Prayers and best wishes continue to flow your way!

  2. Wow Dick sounds like you've been through a lot. Just figured out how to get to your blog to read it. Healing prayers and thoughts to you as you recover. Namaste

  3. Ah, I found it! So happy to hear that you're finally in the comforts of your own home. Nothing like it! Sounds like you had many wonderful people along the way with you to give support, that's special. Thank you for keeping us updated! The anestisia can take a lot out of you the first week without realizing. That phlem is all a big part of it too. Do you have to do breathing excerzises, like. Blow into the tube to make the ball float? Now how often will you have check ups? I assume this will take place back with your Boston doc? How fantastic that he was able to go out there as well! Now just keep warm & let your body rest up. HUGS

  4. Sounds so promising! I couldn't be happier for you. Of course recovery will tell the whole story, but at this stage it seems you're already doing well with it. Keep it going ;)