Sorry, no flying updates for a little while…
|Post op with random tube sticking out my neck!|
It all started in September last year when I was diagnosed via an ultrasound with a blocked salivary duct/gland caused by a stone (just like kidney stones apparently). I’d been getting discomfort occasionally on the right side of my jawline towards the back, mainly whilst eating. It came and went but never fully went away, so I took the chance whilst I was on holiday in the UK last year to get it checked out.
The diagnosis was something I’d never heard of before but made sense when I considered the discomfort only happened whilst eating. Although not a life-threatening problem, it was something I would have to get sorted eventually and the longer I left it, the more chance there would be for an infection to set in if the gland got really blocked; not something you want whilst working in the jungles of Papua.
So a few weeks ago I came back to the UK to have the stone removed surgically. This involved a minor procedure, under general anaesthetic, inside my mouth to make a small cut into the duct and remove the stone. Sadly, the stone was too far back in the duct and pretty much embedded in the gland itself and so could not be removed safely without risking damage to the gland or lingual nerve.
This meant I had little choice but to have whole right side submandibular gland and duct removed. This was a more lengthy operation involving an incision under the jawline to provide the surgeon access to remove the whole gland and duct. Apparently we have six major salivary glands and lots of smaller ones all over the mouth, so having one removed does not cause dry mouth thankfully.
|Who said hospital food was bad?|
I was actually pretty nervous about having this second operation, as there were a few risks involved including damaging a nerve that controls the lower side of the lip. I really didn’t fancy a wonky smile for the rest of my life! It’s also a strange feeling putting your total faith in someone you barely know to do a job you cannot do. I guess that’s probably how many of my pax feel before a flight with me in Papua!
Thankfully the operation was a complete success and after a night in hospital I was discharged the following morning with a bunch of painkillers and instructions to take it easy for a couple of weeks or so. Now I’ve never been one to enjoy taking it easy, so it’s been hard work this past week. Still I’ve been keeping busy on an aviation related project:
|Can you guess what it is yet?|