I just want to chronicle my experience since my left styloidectomy surgery on Tuesday morning 7-22-14. The first few days were rough. Lots of pain and dizziness. But this morning, I awoke with less pain, and so far, the dizziness/vertigo feeling has not hit me. Yesterday, the dizziness was so bad I had to lie very still with head down. I found that a small dose of Ativan (0.5 mg) helped the dizziness and nausea.
I had my JP drain removed on Friday (3rd post op day). It was in a separate stab wound next to the incision at base of my posterior neck. Pulling it stirred up a lot of pain for the rest of the day, but the next day I felt some relief with the tube out, and I am much more comfortable lying on a pillow now.
I appreciate the responses from those of you who reassured me that the post op pain I have been having is "normal" and hearing your experiences has helped me set more realistic expectations for recovery.
I am still very sore and tight (edema) so it's tough to fully rotate and flex my neck but it does seem that the scraping sharp pain is better already. I can flex my neck forward and backward without the sensation of a bone stabbing and scraping. I still have the sensation of fullness in my ear but it does seem to be improving a bit. I still have the sensation of something jarring deep in my ear when I walk and having the same muscle spasms deep in my ear. I am hopeful that as the nerves recover that will improve too.
One other thing to mention, my surgeon told me there was a risk of temporary or permanent nerve damage prior to surgery. I do have numbness in my left ear from mid ear lobe, along my left cheek and under my chin. I also have some nerve palsy (partial paralysis) in my left side of my lip. It is difficult to talk and eat. My surgeon has reassured me that the nerve was not permanently damaged but only traumatized from dissecting it and pulling it out of the way. Even though he prepared me for the nerve damage, it was still frightening and I was concerned that I would be permanently paralyzed. Here is what he said about recovery of the nerves: Motor function (lip paralysis) improves faster than sensory function (numbness) . Lip should be better in 2-3 weeks, numbness may take 2-4 months. I realize now that recovery from surgery will be much longer than I thought, knowing now that the change will be gradual has helped me have more realistic expectations.
Regarding pain, there is one sensation that worried me and I share this to reassure others. My throat larynx and pharynx and upper chest muscles became very tight from swelling after surgery. I felt pressure and a sensation of not being able to breathe. My doctor reassured me that my airway was not compromised and the Ativan did help me and the muscles relax. In terms of medications, Gabapentin has helped the nerve pain the most, I'm taking 600 mg (long acting "Horizant") twice a day, and a small dose of Baclofen (antispasmotic/muscle relaxer, 5 mg) twice a day for the ear and jaw muscle spasms as needed. I was on these meds prior to surgery. Since surgery, I'm taking Hydrocodone 5 mg 2-3 times a day. The low dose of Ativan helps the neck muscles relax so I can sleep. I expect to wean off the hydrocodone in a few days.
I appreciate all the information and honest answers many of you have shared with me, and I hope my information will be of help to someone out there too.