Day 13: Rip Non Winkle

Now that I’ve blown my perfect game and missed a day of blogging, I don’t have the pressure to keep going. That’s a load off my shoulders.

I hadn’t blogged yesterday because there wasn’t a whole lot to blog about. All my milestones were basically the same. My hope over the next week (when I’ll be home alone for much of it) is to do daily projects that are very small (taking down a couple of strings of Xmas lights a day, making sure I get all my calories, etc…). I think I should be able to accomplish this.

However, when I laid down to bed last night is when my day kinda began. I tried to sleep before midnight (I’ve been having Ash get me up at 9, though I think I’m changing that to 8 so I don’t get too wired before bed). And my jaw, which typically feels a pain level of 2, decides – as it does each night – to CRANK that pain level up. I think it’s the lying horizontal, or rather, since I can’t fall asleep on my back, it’s lying on my side that does it. No matter how I prop up my pillows to try to elevate my jaw, it just throbs. After 30 minutes of tossing and turning, I gave up and took pain meds.

Then tossed and turned for hours. I’d estimate I got 3 or 4 hours of restless sleep. That’s been par for the course lately. And of course Ash sent the boys in at 8 as I’d requested, so I’m a puffy zombie today.

I’m probably making two changes today to survive:

  • either taking pain meds an hour before bed no matter what, or sleeping on the chair again. I need to figure out a way to minimize jaw pain to sleep as well as possible.
  • moving my bands-off meal to dinner. Ash made a delicious broccoli and cheese soup, but eating that late in the day led to my mouth feeling like a post-apocalyptic sewage dump before bed. If I change my freedom-meal to dinner, it’ll allow me to eat yummier/gunkier foods all day, then do a huge cleaning at night and stick to pure liquids beyond that.
  • learning how to count to two.

PAIN: 4 (periodic)

INCONVENIENCE: 6

REGRET FACTOR: 3

Day Five: One Step Forward…

Today was a day of setbacks. I did not keep up my champion sleeping, tossing and turning until probably close to 1 before I gave in and took more pain meds. By then my throat was hurting (it was dry, but the more I kept sitting up to get water, I figured, the less chance I’d have of falling asleep) and so was my head.

I eventually fell asleep but was up before it was fully light outside, and my head and throat were both in some pain. I have muscled through quite a regiment of liquid today (at least one boost, a cup of broth, my full cup of advil-water, my antibiotics), but it hasn’t helped me really feel all that great. My stomach is still growling up a storm and I still feel like I haven’t done anything but eat and play Oblivion. (Yes, Brian, I’m two Elder Scrolls behind, probably at least.)

Add to that that my skin is more than just flaking, it’s going on a full rosacea rampage, and it is actually getting hard and slightly painful to the touch. I threw some lotion onto that, it seems to have momentarily distracted the pain.

Even the little things are bothering me today. My two syringes, which have performed admirably so far, might be hitting their limit. It’s taking more and more Herculean effort to actually pull the things in and out. They must be as tired as I feel. And this super awesome chair that has been such a big help WILL NOT STOP TURNING LEFT!

My throat is turning nice and yellow. It looks less bruised (even though that’s what it is) and more neck-jaundicy. It doesn’t hurt, but I’m going to complain about it anyway, because that’s what today is about.

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite segment:

POOPWATCH 2016: nothing new to report.

It’s been an altogether frustrating day. These kinds of days were to be expected, hell, they were the be the norm, so hopefully I’ll get more sleep tonight and feel better about everything tomorrow.

PAIN: 4

INCONVENIENCE: 7 (oh I can’t wait until I can use a straw or a baby spoon!)

REGRET FACTOR: 5

p.s. My oldest son did go out and buy me a stuffed Earth today, and that’s just darling. This is one day after he explained to Ash and I, in nearly perfect detail, what gravity is. (The only thing wrong was substituting the size of an object instead of its mass, but he understood if he took his clock into space, it’s not really massive enough to accrete dust and small rocks, but if he took something bigger, like the house, it might, and something even bigger than that, like a skyscraper, it might even start packing that dust and rocks into a ball shape). The bugger’s a genius and makes me smile. Well, edge-lip-curl for now.

Today, I start a journey…

Today, I started a journey, and it all happened in an orthodontist’s office. Dr. O.

Of course, the journey started years and years and years and years ago, when I was thigh-high to an averaged-size adult. I had gone to another orthodontist, whose name is forever lost in time, and he gave me the prognosis as being an excellent tongue-thruster. I was advised I’d need to go to a “swallowing specialist” and then I would need braces. He also saw my twin brother. What happened next is still a matter of debate.

In my mother’s memory, I complained so much that they just got the necessary work done for Mitch – he had a more immediate orthodontic need. For my memory – and remember, this is the same memory that produced a very vivid impression of Mitch removing my stitches from an accident I had when I was 4 – my parents said they didn’t have the money for both of us to receive treatment and Mitch got it, again because of the immediacy factor. Anyhow, I never got any sort of treatment. That was when I was around 7.

Fast forward until a couple of years ago, when my dentist, Dr. B, suggested that I might want to see an orthodontist. He also was the first expert who uttered the term “surgery” to me. I’d heard from friends/family/others some rumblings that I might need it, but never had a person who actually knew much about teeth confirm it. He did. And he referred me to the aforementioned Dr. O, who took a whole bunch of photos, X-rays, and pink-goop-molds of my teeth. I’ve always known that my teeth were UGLY (as an acting major in college, I was told never to get them fixed as it gave me a great “character actor” look), but it never really bothered me looking from the front. But seeing huge pictures on a wall displaying my teeth in ghastly detail from the underside, the top-side, and wide open – my God I’ve seen assassinations that were less traumatizing. Before even getting all the results back, he pretty much assured me that surgery was in order and he referred me to an maxillofacial surgeon named Dr. M.

After more tests, pictures, Xrays, and discussion, Dr. M. confirmed that I’d need orthognathic surgery. I nodded since I’d heard that that’s where I was heading. Then he actually told me what that entailed.

And that’s when the shoe dropped. The thousand pound shoe. Onto my soul.

The process is awful and there is exactly no part of this I am looking forward to. The rough timeline of what to expect:

 

Today – final molds made of my teeth

Next Wed – braces go on. I’ll be one of those “cool” adults who rocks braces this late in life.

A few months from now – after my teeth have been pulled into better place with clear braces (I’m so going to rock white after Labor Day, bitches!), Dr. M. will do the first procedure, the “easy” one. He will remove eight (8!) of my teeth: the wisdoms and I believe the inner bicuspids. Then they will reattach the braces to do more pulling and getting stuff in line.

About a year from now – the surgery.

 

My work has come through BIG time and agreed to pay/reimburse me for all my regular expenses. We may have a bridge to cross if there are complications, but either way, I at least can have this procedure done without worry that it will cripple us financially.

Oh, I suppose I neglected to mention WHY I’m getting it done. Is it simply because I have horrible looking teeth? No, my vanity has taken plenty of other hits with my stomach issues and Middle Earth complexion. Dr. M. showed me some xrays of my jaw/neck/throat. The average width of the windpipe is (from memory) 12mm. Mine gap, because my jaws are essentially separating and are no longer parallel, has been constricted to about 5.5mm. That’s less than half. The result of which will utlimately be sleep apnea, eventually leading to needing oxygen at night. There are also problems that are only recently beginning such as pain while chewing very difficult things (such as nut-bars or tough steaks). I’ve long had clicking in my jaws too, which I can’t imagine to be “good”. These will all be fixed. Other secondary benefits will be aesthetics, improved smell, and maybe even less fatigue (even though I am not actually waking fully up, the doctor believes my body is waking up for short periods each night).

So where does that leave us? With a blog. Why am I blogging? I’m not the first person to have this surgery. Hell, I’m not the first to blog about this surgery.This guy already did, and he’s a veritable font of great information. I’m doing it for a few reasons. 1) To chronicle for myself what I’m going through. This will be, by far, the single biggest decision I’ve ever made about my health. This will also almost certainly be the most pain I’ve ever been in in my life (and remember, I saw the movie version of Mama Mia in the theaters). 2) For the first few weeks after surgery, I won’t have much else to do, so I figure blogging will be a healthy way to keep connected with the outside world. After all, there’s only so much GTA V I can play, right? Right? 3) I hope it will entertain. Even in the depths of self-pity, I hope to be able to make a few people smile.

The blogs won’t be too frequent at first, but I’ll try to keep it up. I’ve made a new category (“Surgery”) on the bottom-left of the blog, so you can click on that if you just want to filter out everything but tooth/jaw/face posts.

Come along for the ride and strap in. It’s gonna be something.