The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - The Least-Clicked On Cut Tag Ever: Surgical Disasters
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The Least-Clicked On Cut Tag Ever: Surgical Disasters|
Over the years, many have accused me of spilling my guts in my journal. "He practically cuts his wrists in his LJ," folks say. "Talk about oversharing."
But my friends, you do not know what overshare means until today. For I got permission from my periodontist to publish the photos he took during my gum surgery. He was documenting it for some reason, and why not give you the ultimate bit of me? I may not spill my guts for you, but I will spill my gums.
This will all be behind a cut-tag, of course, and I'm not going to post these things on my usual Flickr stream lest I squick my friends - they'll be on TheFerrett.com, which is eerily appropriate, but is also blocked by some ISPs/work firewalls. And, of course, it will go behind the least-clicked cut tag in LJ history.
The short version, for those of you just tuning in: I had severe gum disease for a decade or so, but I didn't know it because my quack dentist as a child, beloved by the whole family, assured me that "Sometimes gums just bleed." (HINT: No, they don't. Not healthy gums.) By the time we discovered how far the trauma had gone, the gum disease had eroded the bone in my upper and lower palates to the point where the teeth were rocking in their sockets every time I bit down on something hard.
Yes, that's about as unnerving as you think it is.
So I had to have ten teeth extracted, eight of my front and two of my back - and there wasn't enough bone density to reseat anything. I could get a bridge of fake teeth, as many do, but a bridge spanning a four-tooth gap costs about $10,000 and breaks every ten to fifteen years. What I want is implants - which is to say tiny screws drilled into my jaw. But there isn't enough bone left to drill screws in, because they'd just break off and fall out.
The hope, now that we've arrested the disease through constant flossing and better cleaning, is that implanting additional bone into my upper jaw will give me enough of an anchor to properly seat an implant. And because I'm apparently an example of a case, the doc took photos.
These were my gums, going in. In this photo, with the hair and the fangs, I look like Shelob mugging for the camera. And if you think this is unpleasant now, just wait a bit.
And here it is with the skin peeled back, revealing the tissue underneath. Now my gums have morphed from a spider-like thing to some sort of grunt unit in Starcraft. It is a little unnerving to realize that yes, even my mouth can be degloved.
The chisel is placed, and I assume this photo is to show exactly where the chisel should be placed, since he hasn't struck the mallet yet. (This is, incidentally, roughly when I woke up.) I do, however, have to appreciate how shiny the chisel is - look at the chrome polish on that sucker! This is clearly quality work.
Is it wrong that I see this and start singing, "Maxwell's Silver Hammer came down, upon his head?"
Seriously, though, this is the part that always intrigues me. My organs and bones live in darkness all their lives; they've never seen light if my body's doing its job right. Any time my body is opened up, it's like there's a secret and pulsing treasure that's been excavated and revealed. No one has ever seen this sight before. My periodontist was the first to see this part me. Secretly, I'm strangely honored that I get to see this part of myself.
This is the size of what they took out of me. It's hard to tell because of the scale, but I'd say, what? Quarter of an inch?
Look! Googly eyes! It looks somehow merry and festive and ghastly, like a toy store troll went on a killing rampage.
Seriously, though, this was the part that fascinated me, because I had thought they actually would have jammed the bone, edgewise, up into the gum, sort of like trying to ram old grout around the edges of a tub. Instead, they screwed it into two separate places. Now, that doesn't seem like enough, but wait!
Before I went in, I had to sign a disclaimer saying that I was authorizing the usage of demineralized bone donated from corpses. And at the time, I was like, "Why? Won't they be able to chip out enough of my own bone to make it work?" And as it turns out - I'm guessing from this photo, though wiser heads can tell me whether I've gotten it right - the bone is in the form of a kind of mulch, packed in to grow and seal together.
I'll have to ask the doctor what this is for sure on my next appointment, because it looks like he filled my mouth with delicious strawberry seeds. (EDIT: He has confirmed via email that this is, in fact, the case; tdanaher has graciously done the Google-Fu work for me explaining bone mulch in this comment here.)
And then all the random bone flakes are overlaid with some tissue...
...and I'm all sewn up. I'm always amazed by how all that messiness gets packed back inside, and it doesn't look that bad.
Actually, when I talked to my doctor, he told me I was behind the curve. "Search YouTube," he said. "People post videos of their own surgery all the time." A fact which shocks me, but I gotta say; I'd be damned curious to see what it looked like when they took out my appendix.
I clicked...because that's the way I roll. Honestly, not that gross to me. Huh.
Glad you are healing up though.
Well, yeah, but that's you. It's one of the reasons I like you.
Got my fake teeth back today. Things are much better.
I've got the squick shiver, but it was sort of neat, I think I was doing okay till the bone mulch portion.
cadaver bone "mulch"
The cadaver bone is used in bone cancer patients when partial amputations are done. This way the patient can still keep their limbs and the bone mulch and cement are used at each end to help seal the patient's remaining healthy bone to the implant. It takes a while for the bone mulch to heal up. Longer than the stitches. Calcium, Vita D and Collagen are believed to help it grow together better. You have had some very advanced treatment. How in the world did you pay for it, if you don't mind my asking.
I'd always wondered how they used the 'demineralized bone bits.' That's awesome! Thanks for answering a question that's been bugging me for months!
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)|| |
interesting, I find the bone mulch thing kind of fascinating.
Okay, that was the coolest thing I've ever seen. I didn't even know they could do stuff like that. Bone from corpses?! Holy wow.
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)|| |
Pretty much what's going through my mind, too. :)
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)|| |
I admit to having wanted to watch my appendix surgery. I wanted my appendix in a jar, but there wasnt enough of it left since it ruptured to keep in a jar.
Why? I know that I get grossed out by blood and internals, and yet, like an idiot, I clicked...
Well, lunch is now delayed by an hour or so.
All I can do is warn. Free will is, as always, fully in effect.
Don't get anything with marinara sauce.
Totally not squicked. Actually, that was pretty darn cool!
Of course, I was irritated that I forgot to ask the doc to let me see the polyps they snagged out of me last month. I had really wanted to see the only things that I was ever planning on growing in my uterus! Turns out he also didn't have a video of the surgery either, which I thought was silly. Come on, if you're going to have a camera up there anyway, do something with it!
I saw video of my first laproscopic surgery, where they were exploring to see what was going on with me (answer: endometriosis and a grapefruit-sized blood-filled cyst). That was fascinating: the doctor punctured the cyst in an attempt to drain it, but it was having none of that. It sorta oozed a little bit, then pretty much gave doc the finger and told her to come back when she was actually gonna DO something. At that point, she closed me up and told me everything would probably need to be removed, which was fine.
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)|| |
I wonder if there's video/photos out there of my spinal surgeries?
I had to specifically ask my doc for photos, but he's very cool that way. I like a doctor that prefers email as a communication device.
Y'know, it isn't that bad because it doesn't really look enough like a mouth (from that general angle) to bother me. If the shots had been further out, it probably would've been worse.
Then again, the sight of blood has never really bothered me. Neither has the sight of organs and such. The only thing that turns my stomach in the medical world is the smell of formaldehyde. It's why I almost fainted when real organs were brought to my biology class in high school, and why I had to leave the room when we dissected fetal pigs.
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)|| |
Oh, good, I am glad to know I am not the only one with the formaldehyde issue. I even went and saw the gross anatomy lab in college and had no issue with the corpses, just the smell that I swear was being pumped in with the air from the vents. As long as it wasn't blowing on me, I was ok.
I'm the kind of person that is fascinated by surgery pics, so I clicked. The corpse bone sprinkles are awesome!
As someone who is continually fighting her own battle with troublesome teeth and gums (although not to the extent you have, brave warrior)I had to click.
You don't want me to say what came to mind when I saw the bone mulch picture.
I like seeing the difference in volume between before and after: before - skin sunken in. After - area filled out.
Uh... were you thinking what I was thinking?
Ok, before I read the bone mulch thing, I thought it looked like he had filled it with baby maggots. I thought maybe they were cleaning up dead tissue that was part of the problem.
Yes, I have watched too many forensic shows, why do you ask?
Ah, I see we do agree. And yes, I watch too many forensic shows myself.
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)|| |
The googly eye one would be an awesome Xmas card!
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)|| |
This reminds me that I've never gotten around to posting the pictures I have of my surgery. Though they're not particularly remarkable, as such pictures go.
I'd still dearly love to see them, though.
You know, if there is a lesson to be learned, it's BRUSH YOUR TEETH! (Not that you didn't Ferrett, I know you had other circumstances.)
I'm not that grossed out but then I didn't stop and examine these all that closely. *shudders*
I brushed. I brushed a lot. It's the flossing I neglected, and I'm paying for it now.
Excellent, excellent pictures. As a fan of the old TLC program The Operation I'm very used to this level of anatomical detail on display, but it's still awesome to see what happened in your case. It's really kind of neat and educational and makes that kind of surgery seem less intimidating to me than it had been.
ObAOL: "Me too! Me too!"
I used to get home from work just in time to watch The Operation while eating dinner. *Loved* that show. Hate what TLC has become...
And, yeah, cool pix of (a very small part of) The Ferrett's insides.
I wasn't squicked out until the corpse bone bits. Not seeing the picture, but reading about it. Go figure.
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)|| |
The corpse bone bits are kind of cool, and is that something they use you for after signing the organ card, or do they just get them from random corpses...
I don't have any memorabilia of my transplant (other than a fairly impressive scar) but I did get the other half to take a photo of it before they got the staples out.
Well, it was a little gross, but also interesting. I like watching surgeries on Discovery Health, the only ones that gross me out are those involving marrow. Just a visceral reaction, I suppose.
Anyhow, hope your recovery is going well!
I'm just glad you didn't literally spill your guts in the bouncy castle.
Yeah, bone bleeds like a sonufabitch.
Compliment your dentist on their suture work too - those are really quite impressive, given what they had to sew on and the tight quarters in your mouth.
And Ferret, you know the internet. The least clicked cut is NOT "Here, look at this squicky picture!" (wasn't there a whole site dedicated to disfiguring diseases/crime scene photos back in the 90's? Deadsomething.com?) it's "I wrote this poetry after the Morrissey concert, plz read & comment!"
|Date:||July 31st, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)|| |
I thought it was "(Read more...)"
I clicked, but then I'm a son and nephew of dental lab techs (who make such bridges, etc.). I've seen worse. :)
Googly eyes! Something right out of classic Outer Limits. Heh
As this is likely to one day be me, I kind of had to click.
SEE YOUR PERIODONIST NOW.
Really. Don't think it'll save money in the long run. (I did, and I was wrong.) Go without food for a day or two if ya hafta and get in there for an $80 cleaning, because Jesus this is worse.
In pictures this sort of thing doesn't bother me. In real life, there's a possibility it might. I'm more sensitive in the so-squicked-I-want-to-vomit in terms of smell rather than sight.
Admittedly, I thought the bone chips were maggots at first and that kinda got me for a second. then I realized they weren't and everything was OK.
Super ultra gross out time.
Went in for a patient with a fairly bad gangrenous foot, from poor circulation and neglect. ER told me there were maggots in it at signout, but they had cleaned it all out.
....Except for the next morning, when the batch of new babies hatched out just in time for my foot exam....