The Extra Mile

My Journey Late in Life as a Triathlete – Setbacks and Triumphs

The Fix is In

by | Sep 5, 2017 | Ironman Training, Recovery | 0 comments

Waiting for Surgery

My training has taken a backseat to recovering from tongue surgery.  On August 10th, I had surgery to fix a flap that was created from my upper teeth slicing into my tongue.  Before this took place, I was presented with the option of staying awake for the surgery and just using a gazillion shots of novocaine on my tongue or going under and still having a gazillion shots of novocaine to help reduce the bleeding.  I presume I was given this option due to cost since the anesthesia seemed to be the largest part of my bill. The oral surgeon also described how painful the novocaine shots would be to my tongue if I were awake.  What he didn’t describe was how painful it would be after the novocaine and anesthesia wore off.  Holy crap, that was the most painful thing I have experienced in recent memory.  I assume my crash was pretty painful, but I have the luxury of not remembering any of that.

For the surgery, I remember going under and then being in a twilight state where I could feel them tugging on my tongue and stitching it up, but not really feeling anything.  I remember coming fully aware and the staff telling me everything went well and that Sandra was bringing the car around to get me.  I have been driven around more in the last 3 months than I have been since before I got my license.  With the way people drive today,  I need to step up my game with my business so I can get a full-time driver when Sandra goes back to work.  I remember being walked out the back door to get in the car and thinking,  “Hey, this doesn’t feel so bad.” Sandra and I drove to the pharmacy to drop off my prescriptions and then she had to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things.  I stayed in the car and then Wham – things started to go south for me. I started getting hot and sweaty and just all around uncomfortable, so I cranked the AC and had all the vents blowing on me.  That helped a little, but then the pain started to set in.  My ears started throbbing and I had shooting pain down through my jaw.  My throat became really sore and it hurt to swallow and then I kept having to move back and forth.  I assume it was in response to the pain. It was like having a severe case of strep throat and throw in a mangled tongue that made it more painful. I remember being thankful that I didn’t remember anything from my crash.

My pain meds weren’t going to be ready for an hour and Sandra had to pick up Brenna from golf camp in Manchester. Luckily Sandra had some Percocet left over from her oral surgery a couple weeks before and I could take one of those until I could get the Vicodin I was prescribed. The first hour and a half at home was hell.  I kept getting in and out of bed because everything was uncomfortable and I developed this strange mucus in my mouth that made it hard to breathe and swallow.  It was like my body was creating a protective layer, but it was like glue and made feeling better more difficult. I kept having to spit up the mucus tinged with blood.  Finally, the Percocet kicked in and Sandra came home with the Vicodin to use when the Percocet wore off.  I now know why I kept trying to get up after my crash.  It was some way to stop the pain – sort of like when you get kicked in the nuts at soccer practice and the coach tells you to walk it off.  I played soccer in high school.

I had surgery on Thursday morning and waited 48 hours before getting back on the bike.  I did an easy spin on Saturday to see how it felt.  The swelling had gone down a bit and I was taking fewer pain meds.  Sandra and Brenna were in New York city for a girls weekend on Broadway.  Sandra had bought tickets to see “The Great Comet of 1812” for Brenna, one of Brenna’s friends and her friend’s mother.  They stayed in New York for a night – so I was on my own for most of the weekend. I was able to do an 1:20 zone 2 ride on Sunday and felt like I could get back to lighter training for the coming week.

I stayed away from swimming for the week, but ran four times and road four times.  My week ended with a trip to Lake Placid to see if I could manage the bike course there and make a decision about doing Lake Placid’s inaugural 70.3.  That trip deserves its own post. Also, up until this point, I have only ridden indoors on the trainer.  This week also was a week getting back outside to ride – again something that deserves its own post.

The week leading up to my surgery, I did put in some good workouts.  I swam 3x, with one of them being an OWS.  I was able to average a 1:38 per 100 yds for my swim on Wednesday. I got in a good 1:20 ride where I was able to keep my heart rate average down to 120bpm and a brutal run on the treadmill with .25 mile repeats that always feels harder on the treadmill for some reason.

I got week 6 and 7 in the books for training.  I didn’t know what to expect after tongue surgery, but I definitely have some recovering from the surgery to do.

Just before my first visit to see the plastic surgeon about my tongue. Which he forgot was an issue.

3 months later after surgery with new oral surgeon.