Dead Tongue Talking

I ring my cowbell.  “Beh-n–t”!

Translation: Brent


Translation: What NOW

“Hep Me”!

Translation: Help me

Brent walks down the stairs…again.  ” I just left not 5 minutes ago.  What is it.”

Translation: You are on my last nerve and it’s getting raw.


Translation: Sorry, (although I really wasn’t)

“Ca oo poo-t da D-V-D ih far me?”

Translation: Can you put the D-V-D in for me?

Brent didn’t get the uploaded software for that translation.  He looks down at me, hands on hips.  “I didn’t even get one word of that. ”

“Dee-Vee-DEE  DEE-vee-DEE”  A light springs into his eyes.  “Which DVD do you want?”


Translation: That one…thank you

My poor family has become much more proficient at translating my garbled speech since having major surgery on my tongue and throat a few days ago.    I have my own unique sound.   A little like Elmer Fudd with a load of marbles in his mouth.   Yeah, that’s pretty close.  At first I couldn’t even whisper, and used a white board to write words down.  Of course, trying to get anyone to understand what I wanted when I was trussed up like a Butterball turkey in a opoid daze was simply not happening.

Now I have Communication Anxiety Issues

Meaning, if I am not understood right away I will simply say it over and over in a more desperate tone, stalking the poor victim until he/she knows what I need.  I’ve been demoted to Toddler, but at least now I Understand Their Species.

This whole surgery thing has sucked big tongue.  Literally.  I knew it was going to be bad when I was eating the Last Meal.  Feeling like a condemned prisoner, I looked at my dinner the night before surgery.  Two day old leftovers.  Of course I would get two-day old leftovers.  Not having eaten in the five days since, I would be grateful for the opportunity to eat anything that didn’t require a bib.

Yes, I haven’t eaten for the last 5 days.  I have touched food,  smelled food, prepared food, watched said food get greedily consumed without being able to take one bite.  Well, ok, today in desperation I tried a tee-iny piece of muffin.  And it got stuck cause I can’t move my tongue around.   I wont relate the acrobatics I used to get it out.  Obviously I am not ready.  But my stomach says otherwise.  In fact, it is really Pee-Oh’d over the starvation thing.

I hate pain meds.  They make me nauseated, blur my vision, make me dizzy and fuzzy.  And turn my bowels into glue.  And my body is not taking well to Oxycodone without food.  I am a sweaty, nauseous, shaking mess.  If I take the medicine I am ill.  If I don’t take it I drool all over because it hurts too much to swallow.

And let me just say that injured tongue material produces A LOT of drool.  Sometimes it justs flies out of me.  Last night I had to cover my pillow because it was running down my cheek.  Gag.  And speaking of gag, my system is now so messed up that if I even think about oxycodone too long I start to retch.  So now I have gag bags all over the house.  Just in Case.  Unfortunately, one of the Just in Case bags became Just in Time, and I forgot to pitch it.  My husband found it after I was recuperating from First Contact.

“What’s that liquid in that bag on the floor by the sink”?

Me: “Da hawa-ble Ca-nay-tin dwi-n-k oo gaf me.

Translated: That horrible carnation drink you gave me.

Ahhh, couldn’t you have poured it out instead?”

“Too la-te.  It had to be poo-k’d out.”

Translation: Too late. It had to be puked out.

I about swallowed my tongue at the immediate look of YUCK on his face, but he manned up, took one for the team and carried it to the trash for me.

Nothing could have prepared me for the pain, well, unless I stabbed my tongue before going into surgery.  I was silently screaming before even getting fully awake.

“Lorene wake up your surgery is over!”  I heard these words from across a valley while every sound near me reverberated loudly in my head.

Then I swallowed.

And  I begin to thrash around.  I couldn’t help it.  The pain was so intense.  It felt like someone had taken a blowtorch to my throat.

Oh, yeah, they did.

Another excruciating swallow.  I hear people ask me for a pain level.  Now, really, anyone coming out of surgery should just be treated for maximum pain.  Period.  Instead of hammering pain numbers at people who aren’t even with it.  Added to that, I couldn’t speak.  But I sure was having some ugly conversations in my head about the intelligence level of the people hovering over me.

I have huge problems with pain scales because they require a person to quantify current pain with remembered pain.  And pain is unique to every situation, therefore not “apples to apples”.  I never say that my pain is a 10 unless I am getting a body part cut off without anesthesia.  But I think it is safe to say that the pain is pretty bad  when someone is thrashing around on the bed and cannot keep still.  Finally, the post-op team decided to act for me, remembering that I couldn’t speak.

And discovered that my IV was blown.

For some reason that had to be discussed instead of throwing another IV in me right away and giving me some relief.   Imprisoned, I listened to them revile anesthesia about sending out a fresh post op patient without an IV etc.  Of course, they were right, but that was not the time to discuss it!

I was poked and prodded 3 times and yelled at when unable to stay still.  Ooooo, I wanted to yell, “YOU lay still after part of your throat and tongue are removed with no pain relief!”  Of course, I couldn’t speak.  For the next couple of hours I received huge doses of pain medication but it was not enough to bring it down to a tolerable level.  Every swallow felt like knifes jabbing into my throat and tongue.

When I finally got to the telemetry floor,  I motioned for them to give me my bag, and took out the white board and markers.  They were so amazed that I brought something to communicate.  I was amazed at their stupidity.  Really?  How else am I going to get what I need?  I frantically wrote down items that I needed NOW.  And one of the biggest was to give me my CPAP machine.

And they wouldn’t.  It “wasn’t ordered”.

The nurse told me, “You don’t need it, that is what the surgery is for.”    No, stupid, not true. This was never intended to get me off CPAP, just to help me breathe during the day.  But of course I didn’t have the energy or clarity to hash it out on my board.   I knew that I had received too many pain meds in the recovery room and I could feel my respiratory rate slowing way down.  And I could feel my airway obstruct the second I started to relax.  So I needed to get on CPAP right away no matter what the idiot said!  Reversing the pain medication was not going to be an option in my book!  Finally the night nurse came on and he set it up for me.

Nurses’ can make or break a hospital stay.

Then I discovered that the pain medicine was ordered as a liquid.  I was going to have to SWALLOW it down.  I couldn’t believe it.  So far this experience was not even meeting my LOW expectations.  I spent a completely miserable night due to the monitor alarms, the terrible pain that was not relieved, the inability to speak, and having to unhook myself 3 times an hour to pee.  By morning, I was so ready to GO.

I  “told” my surgeon that  I couldn’t take more than one or two sips without excruciating pain, even when I got the medication around the clock.  He said, “Everyone who has this surgery gets a bit dehydrated after leaving the hospital.  Just do the best you can.”  Huh?  He was fine that I wouldn’t be able to drink enough?  On top of that, the resident ordered some of my discharge medications in PILL form.  I can’t even swallow liquid, let alone pills!  People have lost their minds!

Note to self:  Never complain about leftovers again.


14 comments on “Dead Tongue Talking

  1. I’m hoping for your recovery to fully functioning adult person with communication skills soon. It’s just as well you can still type.
    xx Huge Hugs xx

  2. I’m so sorry you’re hurting so badly. When you described the surgery before you had it, my brain screamed, “No! No!”, although I know you need it in order to breath. Although I’m a doctor, I hate medical things, and any kind of procedure, when it’s being done to me or anyone I know. I wish you a speedy recovery and the best of results!

  3. So so sorry and saddened by your troubles. Praying for divine relief and hoping you’ll feel better soon, including eating, swallowing, talking, and breathing.

    • Nothing I wasn’t expecting, at least not in my head. The reality has been a little harsher than anticipated. But I can breathe a little easier already, so I am encouraged!

  4. I won’t say “I feel your pain,” because I can’t imagine what you have gone through. So I’ll just offer prayers for a quick recovery and that the surgery may have accomplished something useful. And I’m glad to see that your sense of humour has not been surgically removed.

  5. Prayers coming your way for a speedy recovery. This sound excruciating and frustrating! I’m glad that your fingers are in “full working order!”

  6. Praying for a very speedy recovery!

  7. You are so brave! Nurses can make or break the ‘hospital experience,’ I completely agree. Glad you are home and resting. Sending healing thoughts your way! 🙂

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