Day 3: Progress and Regression

I have more than one of those shirts, but basically I'm still pretty gross
I have more than one of those shirts, but basically I’m still pretty gross

I imagine at this point that nearly everyone following my blog are my friends and relatives who are showing their support by doing so. But in the off chance there are people here who googled orthognathic surgery and were hoping for things to look forward to, let me bring up something I hadn’t read anywhere that’s now affected me twice: regression.

In the few first hours after coming out of surgery, I had (quite naturally) been able to mentally separate my nasal airway from my mouth airway. So when I had to cough, I could open up my throat and have the cough come only from my throat (if it comes from my nose, it could be a “mega sneeze” which would be bad on a number of levels). This, it turns out, was easy, because my nasal passages were pretty free. Once they started clogging up, around 24-30 hours in, I suddenly couldn’t tell my mouth to open. So when I had a cough, it would inevitably feel like a sneeze. I even wrote to Ash that I felt like I was “recovering wrong” because I could do this one thing so easily the day before.

Last night that happened again. By the 24 hour mark, I had figured out a specific way to slurp my food/water with nearly expert precision: hardly any drooling or leakage, right down the ole gizzard. Then all the sudden last night, I couldn’t. I would hit the same spot, and it would all sort of pool outside my splint (between my teeth and gums) instead of inside the teeth and down the throat. I thought it was the thicker stuff, but it was water too. We think the swelling (which hopefully has peaked?) was such that it changed where my pockets of air were. So drinking was a chore last night. I finally figured out a new place to put my syringe to get a straighter shot to my throat, so I think we’re okay there.

That being said, eating is even more my enemy than before. Ash has been pretty insistent that I eat today (I was way behind my water and my calorie intake yesterday) and I feel like I’ve spent all day eating. Looking at my cups, I’ve had almost a cup of water and almost a cup of soup (which has vitamins, prune juice, and other things I need it in). Still, all this eating and I’m probably still behind schedule? Incredibly frustrating.

The other scary moment. At 9:30, I asked if Ash needed to go to bed (I was playing Minecraft). She said yes, asked if I needed help, and fell asleep before I could answer. So I did the bedtime routine myself (including turning off the lights and xmas decorations). Now, pre-surgery, I’d sometimes have days where I played videogames (or something else similarly inactive), got up, did my basic bedtime routine, and by the time I went to bed, I was breathing pretty heavily. In those instances, I would take long deep breaths in through my mouth as opposed to my nose. Last night, it happened but I didn’t have that option. And despite having taken nose spray, I just couldn’t seem to get enough air. I started to panic, which of course raised my heart rate, making it harder for me to breathe.

Waking Ash wouldn’t have helped, there wasn’t much she would have been able to do at that point. So I just tried to take really long slow nose breaths until I calmed down enough for it to not be a problem. And it worked, eventually, but it was not a fun feeling.

Let’s talk about the good. One of my pre-surgery skills was sleeping, and it seems I’m a rock star in that department. I went to bed at almost ten and didn’t fall asleep for another hour or so (Ash woke up and gave me new ice for my jaw bra) but after that, not only did I fall asleep, I basically remained asleep until close to 8. I woke up maybe half a dozen times to readjust, reposition, take sips of water, but basically was out for a full night’s sleep. I’m not expecting that every night, but it’s nice to know it’s possible. And aside from my right shoulder hurting (it must be something with where I’m actually resting it in this chair when I sleep), no issues there.

My nose breathing is still labored, but I have only used my prescribed flonase the one required time, used saline spray a couple of times, and no afrin. I think my plan will be to use Afrin about 30 mins before I plan on going to bed, so it’s kicking in when I have to do my final standing up routine. That should help that panicky breathing.

We’re in good spirits. The boys stopped by for a couple of hours yesterday and will be staying here tonight. If I have another pretty good night, Ash will go out with the boys to spend time with them tomorrow and my awesome mother-in-law will stay with me to make sure I am doing okay (a plan we’ve yet to finalize – just in case Val reads this before we talk to her).

My lips are chapped and peeling, but that’s expected so nothing new there.

PAIN – 3

INCONVENIENCE – 7

REGRET FACTOR – 4

11 thoughts on “Day 3: Progress and Regression”

  1. Pain is only at 3? That’s remarkable and fabulous! Following your progress over here so keep it coming. Your attitude is amazing.

  2. I’m so incredibly proud of you. Your willingness to share your experience is inspiring to me. Stay strong buddy- you’re a rock star!

  3. I agree with JayMar. It’s awesome how you’re sharing this, and as you mentioned, may be helpful for anyone who will be having this surgery and comes across your blog. Glad to hear that things are progressing in the right direction. You are tough! ??

  4. I completely understand the breathing panic as mentioned before. One particular night at Uncle Ray’s in Northville, I was so clogged by asthma and allergies, I got up at 3 in the morning and walked along their property line along the main road so I could calm down and get air into my lungs. I was maybe, 8? 10? When Mom found out she threw a fit, but at least I didn’t not wake up that next morning! Stay in there, bud. We’re with you!

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