Monday, 22 September 2014
PRIOR TO DEPARTURE:
I had experienced a gout attack the day before and was uncertain whether I could still proceed with the operation, but after checking with Dr. Umar and my local doctor, both confirmed no issues. So, that was it... I was still going to be able to return to to Los Angles... WOOHOO!!! Me and my sore ankle ;-)
Pictures prior to operation:
Left work in good time and caught taxi, only to be monumentally delayed in dreadful traffic. I've never missed a flight in my entire life until today. I missed the closure time by 25mins, but thankfully the lovely lady on the British Airways desk took pity on me (knowing the issues with traffic and seeing me hobbling on crutches) and put me on the next flight to London without charge and arranged special assistance as it was difficult to walk.
Today is 'fly to Los Angeles day!!!' :-D Superfast breakfast, then a taxi to the airport where I met Mom. We flew on the upper deck of the new AirBus A380, how incredibly civilised indeed. Just 10.5hrs later, we arrived at Los Angeles (LAX), where the sky was deep blue, almost no clouds and the heat was relentless. We picked up the hire car, then checked into the hotel for a quick shower. Next important step was to hand in the mountain (and I do mean MOUNTAIN) of pre-operation paperwork to FineTouch Dermatology. The always helpful lady on the front desk thanked me for it, checked it and said with a Californian smile, just a couple more bits of paperwork for you to fill out Mr. XXX. I'm sure see must have seen the smile melt from my face as I felt I had over dosed on paperwork.
I saw the prototype design of Dr. Umar's new surgery, WOW, very, very impressive and well deserved for the hard pioneering work he has accomplished. I look forward to seeing it someday in the future.
A quick hello to Dr. Umar, then back to the hotel to relax and have dinner. The drive back to the hotel was a pleasant experience with palm trees gently waving to me as I passed and the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean shimmering to my right.
25-SEP-14 (Operation Day):
After starting my day listening to typical West Coast music (Ice Cube) and a very average breakfast, I went for a walk with Mom, then arrived promptly at 13:00hrs ready for my operation. This time I went upto the Pent House and met two additional and lovely members of Dr. Umar's team. They were super friendly, helpful, patient and interesting. Above all, both were very proffesional at all times. As I settled down, I was asked (yes, you guessed it), to complete more paperwork. I took a deep breath and duly complied.
All preoperation checks were completed, then I changed into a gown ready for theatre.
Dr. Umar arrived, greeted me and then got ready for the operation. I made certain I went to the toilet just before going into theatre, so I had nothing to fear right? Wrong, about an hour into the operation I had to go, just had to go, I apologised and Dr. Umar explained it was the medication I had taken, phew...
One by one individual hairs were removed from the donor area, an area that was shaved into an... interesting design lol. These were put in a petri dish and later inserted into pre-cut slits on my scarwhere the AKN had been removed 10months earlier.
I was so comfortably on the operating table, that I must have fallen asleep during the operation. I know this because I awoke to a jolly good telling off from Dr. Umar "Keep still, keep still, you must keep still, stop moving and you have to keep still!!!". To be honest I had no idea what was going on at that point, then I got my senses and remembered I was in theatre and had previously been instructed to warn the team before I move. I was sweetly enjoying a deep sleep and must have moved to make myself even more comfortably, this did not go down well with Dr. Umar. With this reprimand, I somehow snapped back to my senses pretty quickly, apologised and made absolutly certain I kept perfectly still, or at least gave warning before moving... oh and of course, I made absolutely sure I stayed awake after that! ;-) No harm done and the operation was a success.
Operation is over and I feel elated. The operation lasted 5hrs and involved approximately 500 grafts. I look like a psycho with my medical style hair cut, but I frankly couldn't care less, I have a chance to be 'normal' again, so I proceed with confidence.
THE NEXT DAY:
All must have gone well as no need for a check up. Mom and I went for a drive to Santa Monica and picked up the plethora of required medication from the pharmacy. An early night, then ready for the flight home in the morning.
I have been instructucted to sleep on my sides. Here is how my pillows looked first thing in the morning:
And this is what I looked like the morning after the operation and pior to cleaning (notice the black dots on my old scar, these are the implanted hairs taken from the sides and back of my head):
And same shots, this time after tablets taken and all medication has been applied:
Heading home. Returned the hire car, got to the airport and returned to the UK. Said my fairwells to Mom, then waited for 3hrs before begining to board for my European flight home. Upon arrival, I was greeted by my lovely wife and children 2hrs later and grinned at the comments from my children. My daughter (6yrs) said "Daddy, the back of your head doesn't look the same, it doesn't look very nice now". My son (4yrs) said Daddy your head has shrunk and your ears stick out". I laughed so hard, it was sooooo good to be back. Call to Mom to make sure she got home alright and then a shower, some dinner and to bed.
First full day back home. I look less like Frankestein as each day passes, but joking aside, the progress is clear to see. Once the swelling subsides and the scabs are gone, I am optimisitic of the results. Follow with me and see how things progress.
Thanks for listening, next update in 2 weeks...