Can’t say I don’t know how to show my bride a good time. Yes sir, I’m pulling out all the stops this year. I’m taking Nancy to the Magic City on February 14. Unfortunately we won’t be having a romantic dinner for two on South Beach, unless you count Smoothie King a five star establishment. No, we will head that way on the 14th so I can report for jaw replacement surgery first thing in the morning on the 15th.
After visiting on Monday of this week with Team Marx associated with Jackson South Community Hospital, we had no doubt the Lord had led us to just the right resource to deal with my fractured mandible. The image above shows the results of a CT scan they did in the office that day. If you look closely at the largest of the pictures head on at the top, you can see to the left (my right side) the break in the bone. Apparently there are some splinters of the jaw floating around in there adding to my misery. To use one of the doctors words after they examined the area treated with radiation in 2005–“You got fried.” And so I did and these are some of the unfortunate consequences.
The procedure takes anywhere from seven to nine hours. It begins with removing all the dead bone on that side of jaw. I will lose the next two teeth in line as well since they are sitting on top of dead bone. Fortunately the titanium plate (pictured above) then implanted will not, in my case, pass the mid-line, as in this stock picture I grabbed from the web. While the oral surgeon does his thing up above, a micro-vascular surgeon will work below on my right thigh to start something called a “free flap” transplant. When the jaw is finished, then the second surgeon will attach the vein he pulls from my leg to a good blood supply on the left side of my neck and run it across to the right side. This will insure adequate blood supply for the needed tissue growth and healing of the jaw.
After the surgery I will spend two nights in ICU to monitor the free flap part of the process carefully. Assuming all goes well with that, then it’s off to the main floor of the hospital for another four or five days. The docs are very optimistic about how quickly I can heal and get back to work, but some of that depends on how many HBO2 dives I am likely to need after surgery to aid in the healing process. I’m still waiting for more info in that regard.
Honestly I had hoped for a sooner surgery date than February 15, but supply and demand being what it is in this highly specialized kind of procedure, I am grateful I don’t have to wait even longer.
One last tidbit. When one of the doctors who will work on the free flap procedure heard I was a pastor, he smiled and shared with me that he takes online courses at Southern Seminary in his free time! He went out of his way as a brother in Christ to give me his contact info and even friended me on Facebook. The Lord is so kind to add those touches of providence to our circumstances when we are asking for His clear leading.
While I wait for “Operation Robojaw” to take place, I hope to make as much progress as I can on my manuscript for Baker Books. Fortunately it doesn’t hurt when I write, only when I preach!