Jaw Surgery Update – Surgery Day and Day 1 Recovery

Surgery Day – Thursday 17th August 2017

Update 1 – So I arrived at the hospital at 7.30am for an 8.00am admission. Did some paper work stuff and sat down. About 8.30am I met with the anesthetist who went through some routine questions and told me a bit about the surgery. Then back to the waiting room. Got called in the see the nurse where she took my blood pressure and asked me some questions that were missed on admission. At this point I taped my piercings up and she gave me some panadol and water. Omg it was the best. I’m still extremely thirsty at this stage. Now I’m just waiting. I have been given my gown, dressing gown, slippers and compression socks to change into so that’s what I’m waiting for. Hopefully will go in in about an hour. Will update soon.

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Pre-surgery selfie

Update 2 – Got called in approximately 11.15am to change and go into the pre-op room. Prior to this I went to the bathroom 3 or 4 times convinced I needed to go but nothing. Whilst I don’t feel nervous or anything – just really thirsty, my body is obviously telling me otherwise. The nurse and anesthetist assistant came by for more questions and I had to explain what a VCH piercing was because I told them I still had a metal piercing in. Neither had ever heard of one so I’m assuming people may just not mention it (don’t do that!). They left and I’ve been applying lip gloss religiously and in total I waited almost an hour. Lucky I had my book with me. I’ve been reading The Martian. I quite enjoyed the movie so figured I’d read it. Ooh looks like I’m off. Wish me luck!

Day 1 Recovery – Friday 18th August

Update 3 – Its now Friday approximately 5.07am. I’ve gone to the bathroom unassisted (whoo). Well the nurse walked me there as she carried my blood and saliva tubes and waited outside for me but I was able to go on my own so that makes me happy. I don’t feel too bad. Fairly clear headed which is super cool. Anyway back to yesterday after surgery, surgery went well but I was in post-op for quite some time. My blood pressure was really low – I think I heard 80/50 but I could have imagined that in my state. I was wheeled up to my room at around 4.00pm where my mum and fiance came to see me. I couldn’t speak but I used my fiances phone to communicate as mine wasn’t in the room. They could tell I was tired so left around 5.00pm. Since then all I did was sleep. I feel tired still as I’ve never been able to sleep on my back so I woke up every 20 minutes during the night which was really frustrating. But I’m now drinking water which makes me so happy and so far its not making me feel sick. I can feel my nostrils have a bit of dried blood but I’m going to ignore it for now and hopefully my blood and saliva tubes will be removed in about an hour. I think the surgeon said he’ll come by around 7.00am so will be interesting to see if I can speak once the tubes are out. Anyway I’m going to lie back and rest some more. Will update after I see the surgeon. I hope I can go home today.

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About 2 hours out of surgery

Update 4 – Well I can go home today. Surgeon gave me the go-ahead. I can try and eat whatever I like and practice speaking but I can’t take the strapping off until Sunday which is a bit annoying but its to help the swelling go down so worth it! Overall I feel pretty good. I had the tubes taken out and my gosh that was one of the weirdest sensations I’ve ever had. It only took a second and got me to that stage you feel just before you get nausea but only for a couple of seconds. My nose is feeling a bit stuffy and my ears feel like they are popping a bit but its from the pressure on my jaw. I’m having a little issue swallowing but no more than when you’re sick and have a sore throat. Now I’m waiting because I have more medication to take before I can go. I think the last dose is at noon but again I could be making that up.

About 7.00am on Day 1 recovery

Update 5 – Last medication is at 12.00noon. Its currently 10.45am and I’ve managed to take the pill and eat a tub of yogurt. Yay! Took me an hour for a 170g tub of Chobani but still. Made some mess but as I can feel my top lip it makes eating a bit easier. Fiance is coming to get me around 12.30pm so I can go home. I’m going to have a nap before my next lots of meds.

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My sexy compression stockings

Update 6 – I’m home. Its 6.30pm and I got home around 1.45pm. I’ve eaten some soup that mama made me, had a shower, put my piercings back in and had a nap. My face feels huge and my teeth hurt. I’m getting this weird itchy sensation on my lower jaw but I can’t scratch it because its numb. So strange. I’m drinking up some soluble paracetamol now and having another cup of soup. My mama gave me some more yogurt with jelly mixed in and that was nice. I’m not hungry but I feel very low in energy so forced myself to eat. I’ve had two cups of soup – blended pumpkin, broccoli and carrot and two cups of yogurt today.  I’m much more head-achy now.  I haven’t overlapped the pain meds but I don’t feel too bad. My jaw feels a lot tighter and there’s definitely more swelling but I’ve been talking a fair bit and trying to move my jaw around so it’s probably just being exerted more than it wants to be right now. One of the things that is annoying is that my tongue doesn’t quite seem to know where to sit. It’s old spot doesn’t work anymore because my jaw has moved so now there are teeth in the way but I’m sure it’ll figure it out sooner or later.

Anyway, I’m watching Veronica Mars from the start again and I’ll probably fall asleep shortly. Will update tomorrow.

3 Days Out From Jaw Surgery

Today marks 3 days out from jaw surgery. I’m not nervous which seems to be irritating people. I’ve had lots of people tell me absolute horror stories which actually really infuriates me. Granted, I’m not nervous or stressed but why go into detail about awful things that could happen? Would you not think we’ve discussed these things with our surgeons or even googled it ourselves? It’s like when I got my wisdom teeth out and my fiance’s brothers were telling me about people who have bruises on their chests and ribs broken whilst the surgeon was trying to get their teeth out. It really adds nothing to it so here’s a tip – unless people ask, don’t share the awful things that are really a 0.00001% chance of happening.

So I’ve been reading some blogs of people who have had the same or similar surgery but what I’ve found is that people don’t talk about what they can and can’t do the first couple of days. I want to know things like can I shower on my own? Can I go to the toilet on my own? Will I need people to help me with absolutely everything? These are the things I want to know and any tips and tricks that will help me.

Anyway, before surgery I needed to get my jewelry sorted so on Saturday I headed to my piercing studio and got some plastic retainers put in. I’ve read a lot of conflicting information about metallic jewelry during surgery as well as multiple professionals telling me different things but I figured if it’s safer, I may as well swap out what I can. I ended up getting retainers only in my nipples. I took the jewelry out of my belly piercing because I’ve had it pierced for 10 years so didn’t need a retainer and I left the jewelry in the vch (if you don’t know what a vch is, it’s a vertical clitoral hood piercing. Image searches are NSFW if you’re curious) as the retainer would be far too uncomfortable for 3-4 weeks. If I had been prepared I could have ordered a glass one but unfortunately I was about 4 weeks too late for that.

But moving on. This morning I had my last appointment with the orthodontist prior to surgery. I had some photos taken and surgical hooks put in. I also had a bracket fixed because I broke it eating pork crackle (totally worth it) a couple of weeks back. The hooks are a little weird but nowhere near as big or uncomfortable like I imagined. From what I understood of the chatter between the orthodontist and the assistant, the hooks are used to align my mouth during surgery whilst the jaw is broken so they know how to line it back up again. The whole thing took about 25 minutes from photos to finish.

I’m actually not that clued in on how the whole procedure works, as in the jaw surgery itself.  I should probably look into it but I’m not that interested. Truthfully I don’t really need to know how things work. I’m very trusting of medical professionals – I’ve never had any reason to not be so I trust they are making and doing the best for me.

But I am still a bit nervous about the first couple of days post surgery. I’m sure everything will be fine and I’ll be looked after if not. My sister tells me the first 5 days for her were the worst and I’ve heard the same from friends who have had the same surgery so at least I’m prepared for that.

I went to Kmart tonight to get a few things to prepare. I bought a new set of pj’s because I figure I’ll need them. I also bought an internet extender thingy that will mean that the wifi signal will actually reach my old bedroom at my parentals where I’ll be staying for the initial recovery period. Tomorrow night I’ll start packing because on Wednesday night my fiance and I will load the dog and all my belongings and go stay at my parents because on Thursday I will be going to the hospital.

I’m actually really excited at this stage. I’m eating everything I can because I’ll be on liquids and soft food for what I’m sure will feel like forever. I’m drinking all the wine and I’ve stopped smoking so yay for me!

One Week Out From Jaw Surgery

In 2014 I decided to do something about my teeth and jaw. I wasn’t happy with the way my jaw was or the fact that my teeth did not line up. I’d always wanted braces but I never really had the money or to be honest, the motivation to get it all done. That changed when my fiance told me that I was now covered under his health insurance for work. So I started doing my research.

I searched and searched for an orthodontist. My only criteria was that they would be located in a convenient spot to get to. I found one who had zero negative reviews online and so I called and booked in an appointment – It was July and I had to wait until September to see him.

So I met with him and we discussed my getting braces. I had two options – I could either get the braces and straighten my teeth only or I could get braces followed by jaw surgery. I couldn’t simply go with the braces and then later change my mind because the braces would force my teeth to do different things depending on which choice I decided on. So we discussed options and I decided to go the jaw surgery route. My next step was to see the oral maxillofacial surgeon.

I saw him in December and we decided that jaw surgery was going to be the best option. So I booked in to get my wisdom teeth removed in January 2015 so we could start the process of getting braces and the surgery.

The wisdom teeth removal went well. None of them had surfaced so they were all still within the gums. The surgery itself took about 45 minutes and I was home the same Friday night. All I really remember of the first night was that I couldn’t really control my mouth and was drooling lots of saliva and blood. The next couple of days were easier. I had pain medication and lots of gauze in my mouth which helped soak up the blood. By Sunday I stopped taking the strong pain medication because, as it contained codine, I was getting backed up (people don’t ever seem to tell you that this is a really common side effect) which made me nauseous and I wasn’t in that much pain. By the Tuesday I was desperate for something to chew on so I made my fiance drive to Maccas and get me a filet o’fish. I figured it was soft enough that I could tear it and slowly chew it. It took me half an hour to eat one burger but it was totally worth it.

I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon 2 weeks later to make sure everything went well and it had. I now had the green light to get braces so I made an appointment for March. At that appointment everything looked good and we discussed another important matter – how long it would take for the entire process. I was interested in this because I had scheduled my wedding for August 2016 and I certainly did not want braces on during the wedding. He told me 2 years but I decided to delay it until 2018. As everything looked good, we scheduled another appointment for April. This time, I finally got the braces on. It wasn’t overly painful, more uncomfortable from having so many instruments in my mouth and from having to hold it open for so long and so wide. It was weird afterwards too. My lips felt so big, like I was pushing them out and they felt so far away from my teeth. It took a while to get used to them but after about a week it was good. I did get a few blisters but nothing too major.

My first follow up appointment was in July where my braces got tightened. The rest of the follow ups were pretty standard as well and this went on for about a year. I was itching to see the surgeon again because I wanted to know when I’d be getting surgery. It’s a long process and frustrating because it’s so dependent on how your teeth are moving. I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon in August 2016 where I had x-rays done to make sure that my teeth are progressing well and they were. But I still wasn’t any closer to finding out when I could have surgery. The next 9 months ticked along as usual and then the orthodontist said I could see the surgeon to book in surgery. Yay!

Saw the surgeon in April and we scheduled the surgery for August 2017. So here I am, a week away from surgery. I had my final appointment with the surgeon on July 19th to get x-rays and moulds and I’m getting the surgery hooks put in on Monday. I’m staying with my parents for the first couple of weeks so they can look after me.

I’ll make sure to do a couple of follow up posts when I can and feeling up to it.