Day 7: The Follow-up

Last night, every time I had a solid enough batch of sleep, I slept heard and dreamt. The dream reached a natural conclusion, and then I woke up. This happened at least three times. The third time I was awoken by a phone call – it was my surgeon’s office saying they wanted to see me today and not tomorrow! Awesome! (I don’t remember the dreams, sorry to get your hopes up, but you can probably assume they’re about disc golf, that seems to be a common theme.)

Everything appears to be looking good. He took the stitches out and put some glue there for a week “just in case”. I’m allowed full shower privileges (though I shouldn’t be scrubbing vigorously yet). He then cut the rigid bands and asked how far I can open.

Imagine being a penguin. Was that fun? Okay, it wasn’t a good metaphor, so I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Imagine being a baby bird. Your parents show you ONE TIME how to fly out of a nest and then they step back and say “go for it”. Would you be timid? Well, in my mind’s eye, I opened my mouth as large as I could, talked for a while, ate a bagel, and flossed my teeth somehow through my braces. But I was holding the mirror, so I saw how much I was actually opening it – I didn’t even get a finger-width. I think it was fear and I could have probably gone further, but my left jaw was a little sore so I didn’t want to press it. Alas it wasn’t enough for him to brush everywhere, only the outsides and the tops/bottoms of my teeth. But man, it was all it was cracked up to be.

I’m moving from 4 bands (two on each side) to just two (one band that stretches over 5 teeth on each side. In fact, I had a moment of panic a short while ago, thinking I’d snapped the bands because, during a small cough, I realized I could open my mouth. THAT MUST BE WRONG, I told myself. And Ashley. And Teetee. And everyone who read my frantic typings on this computer. Turns out the new bands are either more flexible or just less numerous than┬áthe old ones, and I’ll be able to open my mouth even while wearing them. However, I was told NOT to do that for some time. It’s not like my mouth will miss out on the couple of weeks of non-use; it won’t atrophy. It’ll be fine to start after 6 weeks (after all bands come off).

Also, I got clearance to do two other things. a) depending on breathing, I’m going to try sleeping in the regular bed reclined normally. Worst comes to worst, I can’t sleep and I move back to the chair. But it’ll be a step toward normalcy. b) Once a day (dinnertime) I get to take off the bands, eat as much mush as I can shovel into the tiny gap (with a baby spoon likely) – even keep the bands off for up to an hour if I want, brush, rinse – then put the bands back on. It’ll be like a little tiny DeNiro awakening every single day.

Bling bling
Bling bling

Here is the X-ray taken today. First thing you’ll probably notice is all the hardware (3 screws on each bottom jaw, 4 plates [with two wires] on the top). Then you’ll notice the two dark gray areas on the bottom jaw (by the last teeth on the bottom), and the fact that one of them is larger than the other. In addition to moving my jaw out a whole lot of millimeters, they also moved it over a bit to make it more symmetrical. And you know what they say: symmetry is paramount to attraction. So I just want to put this out there, ladies and gentlemen. I am happily married to a wonderful woman who is my caretaker at the moment and I don’t want to change that. However, if you can cook and/or clean, I’m sure we can make an arrangement. Ash may draft up the documents herself.

My skin still hates me with a fiery passion, but it does stuff like this under normal circumstances. And I’m still hungry most of the time, although I think I set records today on calories (maybe ~1200 by the end of the day?) and steps taken (over 700).

PAIN: 2 (when I manage to release the tension in my jaw and just let it exist, otherwise 3)

INCONVENIENCE: 7 (probably will be here until I can eat regularly with a spoon or a straw)

REGRET FACTOR: 3