Day 121: Hooray for Drugs

Check out the jaw bra, brah!
Check out the jaw bra, brah!

I have returned from the land down Under the Knife, and boy is my face tired. Boy, that’s a sentence that just didn’t know which joke to go for. Surprised I didn’t try to throw a Bobby Darin joke in there just for bad measure. The picture you see is how I feel right now. When in pain, my glasses stop working.

The surgeon had said this was an “exploratory procedure”, meaning it was surgery of sorts, but not anything near what I’d already had done. He started by putting an IV in with some special juice (probably Tang) to knock me out, which it did almost immediately. Then, while I was out (and theoretically relaxed), he first gave me the steroid injection, then pushed against my jaw for 5 minutes so none of the Tang anti-inflammatory escaped. Then, he inserted a pusher-opener (official medical term) into my mouth and forced my jaw open. Then he physically manipulated my jaws to try to get them out of their current predicament.

His assistant later told me that she was pretty excited “to hear a pop”. I will, for the sake of my sanity, assume it was a good pop and not the rupturing of an eardrum or something like that.

When I awoke I was definitely a little loopy, and in considerably more pain than after the first surgery (the whole ‘having all my nerves lose feeling’ thing probably had something to do with it). So Ash drove me to the pharmacy, where I would wait an interminably long time for relief. Think of the sloth/DMV scene from Zootopia. Two Percocet later and I fell asleep almost immediately. After a brief 30 minute rest, I’m up and at ’em.

By “’em”, I mean online poker and eating mushy pears and drinking a Boost. Just when I thought I’d put my Boost and jaw bra days behind me… Anyway, I’m not in much pain now but that’ll come back. I also won’t try doing much of anything with my jaw until Friday or Saturday (to be safe) when I should start trying to move it all around and open it wide to see how I’m doing. Then I’ll be on soft foods (again) for maybe a week, hopefully no more. I go back in 3 weeks for an evaluation.

  • PAIN: 5 (.5 right now)
  • INCONVENIENCE: 2 (being home from work drops that # a few points)

Day 22: Back in the Saddle

Showing off that my cheeks are still chubby.
Showing off that my cheeks are still chubby.

I’ve had a number of subtitles that are song titles. I think I’m accidentally ripping off Susan’s gimmick.

Yesterday marked the 3 week hurdle, meaning I was back to work. Work’s pretty nuts right now on a number of levels, so going in for a few hours a couple of days last week was essential to not be drowning this week. Fortunately I’m caught up and doing okay. It’s hard to go from 8 hours (really 12 hours) of playing video games and not exercising my brain whatsoever to having to be, you know, responsible for stuff. It’s mentally draining. I’m trying to take frequent breaks, but I was never good at that even when healthy.

If nothing else, eating causes built-in breaks. In the old days, I had a pretty strict eating regiment. I’d eat breakfast usually between 8 and 9 each morning. Lunch would usually be between 11:30 and 12. Dinner would be anywhere from 5:30-6:30. Now, with me eating a liquid diet and my stomach growling every couple of hours, I eat more like an infant. So I’m in the kitchen every so often (you know, like most infants are), getting another Boost/Ensure or making a smoothie or blending up a soup. And then eating takes a while, especially when I take off my bands, because that is a process, as is brushing/Waterflossing and putting the bands back on. For the record, I prefer Boosts in general over Ensures, though the strawberry Ensure is probably my favorite overall. This is very important if, for some reason, you are kidnapped and the person only has protein-rich supplement drinks available for you.

My speech is coming along, or as I just typed, my scheep is coming along. Without the bands, I’m pretty easily understandable (though I still am pretty quiet – I hope I haven’t lost my swarthy bass tones!) With bands on, I’m still understandable, but in a more bargle-nawdle-zouss sort of way (most people who are close friends with me should really get that reference). I imagine in 3 weeks when the bands come off and the splint is out, I’ll be back in shape.

Which is sad. Part of why I’m productive right now at work is I don’t have to be on phones. Anyone who knows me knows I hate the phone – I inherited that from my dad. If I could only email/IM for the rest of my life, that’s how I’d communicate. So maybe I’ll have to have some “unforeseen recovery difficulties” with speech. And I’m TOTALLY going to pretend that people from my workplace don’t read this blog regularly. Including my direct supervisor, even though he told me he does. So yeah, probably not gonna be able to speak for a year or more! CRAZY!

Anyway, sleep is happening more regularly, eating is less laborious, breathing is fine. I’m still pretty wiped after the day is done, and I’m only just getting into the regular swing of things (today was the first day I woke up early to drop my son off at school). But other than not being able to talk or chew, things are sorta back to normal. NOTE: THOSE ARE REALLY BIG CAVEATS!

Finally, I can officially brush all of my teeth (at least the parts that aren’t behind the splint). And it is fabulous.