Day 1: The Worst Day

  • Pain: 3/10
  • Inconvenience: 10/10

I woke up this morning at 6:30 am because that’s when doctors show up to do their rounds. I was finally sober enough to take in my surroundings–a large room, dubbed the “Dental Recovery Room”, complete with 4 beds, 3 patients, 2 windows and 1 weird smell. I awoke, once again, in my gorgeous gown, still not tied up properly, with no underwear on because, according to my nurse, I had explained in detail about how it was too uncomfortable the night before. My head was through this interesting ice-pack-sphere device and I had a dam over my mouth inflating my lungs with hydrated air. Also, I was freezing. Did I mention I was freezing?

My surgeon came over to me, shook my hand once again (although my handshake was a little weak this time), and, after a quick peak inside my bloody mouth, told me everything looked great and that I should try to rest as much as I can today. Then he was off, just as quickly as he had arrived.

Item of notice #1: my butt still hurt more than any other part of my body, which was odd considering I just had 3 pieces of bone cut from my very jaw not even 24 hours ago.

I learned who my 2 wonderful roommates were. The first, a guy from a neighboring town who had been punched in the face during a fight. And quite hard, apparently, since it took surgery to fix him all up. He was up and gone by 10:00 in the morning though, so I guess the fight mustn’t have been so bad after all. The second, a nice girl named Lindsay, who also had jaw surgery, but only on her bottom jaw. Her swelling was not quite as drastic as mine and I noticed she was able to suck through a straw, while I was constricted to pure syringe-eating. Oh, how I wish I could use a straw…

I learned something else interesting today: I’m not allowed to blow my nose for the next 2 weeks, which is highly inconvenient because it is full of blood and is about the only method I have for breathing right now. Apparently, they had to get all up in my sinuses during the surgery and if I try to blow it now, I could invoke bleeding on an “emergency scale” … what a wonderful thought. *sigh* I suppose I’ll simply continue my wheezing.

And to bring this wonderful day to an end, I discovered I had a huge splint in my mouth which is restricting all movement. When does it come out? In no less than 8 weeks. That means I’ll be unable to talk or eat properly for the next 2 months of my life.

Was it all worth it? Only time will tell. They told me today was the most painful day, and considering I’m experiencing virtually no pain (except for, ya’know, that butt pain I keep mentioning), I guess things are looking up.

Pictures shall commence tomorrow, as soon as I get home. Get ready for some swelling.

20 Comments

  1. Why was your arse hurting?
    And … did you still trust your surgeon?
    LOL

  2. Welcome to your first day, Catherine! It sounds like you’re in good spirits already.

    The two best tips I can offer at this stage are honestly to make heavy use of the Vaseline to avoid the pain of split lips and to drink lots of prune juice to help your body get back into the regular swing of things.

    Good luck with these first few days!

  3. Hey Graham 🙂 im now on day 1 post-op, great tips about the Vaseline, i got quite a few tubes of the stuff free from the hospital :D. My surgeon did the same, said hi in the morning, poked my mouth a little then said to rest then he was gone. Didn’t even come to see me the morning after.

    i only had bottom jaw surgery, but had my top lip lengthened so im all swollen. Thank you for the great tips again, its nice to know that we’re all not alone in this xx

  4. Hi Joe,

    First off, welcome home. It’s nice to be out of the hospital and into your own bed, I’m sure.

    Don’t fret about your bite right now. The reason your teeth aren’t touching as they should is 100% due to the swelling. Your bite likely won’t level out for about 6 — 8 weeks. That sounds like a long time, but the swelling takes quite a while to dissipate completely.

    You’ll be in tip top shape soon enough, my friend!

  5. Ahhh

    I’m finally home after a sleepless night at the hospital. I’m regaining feeling in my face quite quickly, actually. One question, though – I don’t know if it’s because of my swollen face or the splint, but my bite seems completely UNeven as of now. My top and bottom teeth on my right side seem to be touching, but my left side is not. Also, if I look at myself in the mirror it looks like my top teeth are slanted…Again, I don’t know if this is all because of the splint and the uneven swelling in my face…My surgeon did, however, say my surgery went “very nicely.” I’m hoping he’s right!

  6. Stephanie,
    i am a new mother (my baby is 5 months old and weighs 15 pounds), and my surgeon told me that i could not lift anything over 5-10 pounds for 6 weeks post surgery.
    apparently in his practice, 6 weeks is the magic date when your jaw has healed about 50%. the other 50% happens by the 6-month mark.
    it has been 10 days since my surgery. i am still banded shut. my mother-in-law is here to help me until the full 6 weeks are up. it pains me not to be the main caretaker of my baby right now, but i know it’s temporary and i have the support of my family.
    i was super worried about how it was going to pan out. i think i will be able to do simple house chores from now on but the first week was tough since my sleeping was all off, my eating was not normal and i was recuperating from the trauma of surgery.
    could you wait a couple of years to get the surgery? they told me it was up to me when i wanted to get it, that it could be 5-10 years even. i opted to get it done as soon as they had an opening so my child wouldn’t be crawling yet and harder for a grandparent to take care of!
    good luck to you.

    IH

  7. Hi Stephanie,

    The pain involved with this operation is actually quite minimal because you’re numb for the the brunt of it. The largest resulting pain point is most definitely the frustration.

    I’m not sure when you’ll be able to play the role of a full-time mother again. It certainly depends on the age of your children. I personally wouldn’t have felt energetic and able enough to care for others until about 3 weeks into recovery, but I also have no children, so it’s difficult for me to say. I would say you’ll need at least the first 2 weeks to relax and recover as best you can.

    Best of luck in your decision!

  8. Hi, I have also been told I will need double jaw surgery to correct my undrbite. I was wondering how great is the pain, can it be controlled with meds, and how long before I could say…care for 3 children. I know if you don’t have children yourself you may not be able to tell me this, but lets just say it is very demanding. I wont go ahead with the surgery if it means I won’t be able to be a mum for a while…

  9. Hi Maha,

    The surgery is performed with your braces on. You’ll have to wear them for 6 – 9 months following the operation as well.

    As for recovery time, it takes 3 months for your bone to heal and approximately 6 months to regain all of the strength in your jaw.

    Good luck!

  10. Hello Graham
    I’m getting my surgery soon have some questions would it be with the braces or without and how long does it take for the recovery ??

  11. haha XD yea it was better after the first 2 weeks i know like when the surgeon told me if you were to start feeling tingling its a good sign of fast healing thank god haha but its so uncomfortable cuz i can feel it in my gums and it like hurts at the same time idk if my teeth are just sore from this plate or what. oh ya i forgot to mention my chin also was off they had to fix that as well and every now and then my chin will feel like theres somethin on it and i would be scratching at it im like oh ya theres nothing there lol..XD ive never been so frustrated in my life. DX

  12. Describing yourself as looking like a “depressed bunny” made me laugh. I’d love to see that photo!

    Being stuffed up and nauseated during the first few days is quite a suffocating feeling. Those are certainly the most uncomfortable days, though. Things start looking up quite quickly after this.

  13. i also want to add in tht i had a struggle with the breathing one day i thought i was going to suffocate i was so stuffed up with dry blood i found tht to be the most difficult thing i had to deal with along with the pain. and how could you drink something down with your nose being plugged up? i felt like i was going to drown. horrible day. doesnt help i have axiety made the whole situation better -_-#

  14. lol i had this weird ice pack around my face my grandma decides to take a picture lol i looked like a depressed bunny..good times..i have some funny roomates as well my mom thought it was going to be like i have my own personal room ya that didnt happen also i was trying to sleep and this girl w.e her problem was she snores alllll night longgg.i felt bad for her w.e she had to go through but my mom and i were about to like scream i was soo tired and yet i couldnt fall asleep with all the morphine i had on board. my mom asks the nurse if we can find a quieter room and we did with this other person who just loved to talk on the phone left me with questions…like why is she here?? haha but ok and omg the most gruesome part i had to deal with was being nuasiated with all this blood i swallowed during the 10 hour procedure ive had alot of complications my top jaw had to be cut in half and widened because it was just naturally small the braces couldnt widen it anymore sounds scary right? ugh and then they had to shave down my jaw bone on the right side it was just alittle bit bigger then the other side of my face and of course they pushed my bottom jaw back the procedure felt like 5 minutes when i woke up tho but for my poor mom in the waiting room err…lol and i also couldnt suck through a straw i still cant im still using those stupid annoying syringes tht i have to wash constantly …i now knew how my mom felt for the first 2 weeks. btw she is a nurse and she found it so difficult she said she could not imagine someone alone going through this. i hope you had someone to accompany you.

  15. Twenty one years ago?! You’ve got more experience than any of us! My father had the surgery over 30 years ago and he remembers having his mouth completely wired shut. How times have changed.

    Glad you found us, Adina! Take care!

  16. This is a great website. I had my double jaw surgery 21 years ago. Ack… ah syringe-eating… Gotta be careful with that…I burned my esophagus so hungry didn’t want for food to cool. LOL. What a great site! Graham great work!!

  17. Hi Kendall,

    I was so happy to go home following the surgery. I wish you all the best in your recovery! Stay positive!

  18. Kendall Fausak

    June 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Hey,

    I just had lower jaw surgery done, and I just got home into my own bed from the hospital. Your website has been so helpful to my mom and me. I just wanted to thank you 🙂

    -Kendall.

  19. Hi Deb! It’s great to know you’re there for your sister during these initial weeks. Having family support is fantastic. My parents helped keep me positive for the first little while following my operation.

    Take her out for lots of walks. The sunshine and fresh air feel great when you’re cooped up all day!

  20. Hi Graham,
    My little sister is in Day 2 of recovery. Your website has been soooooo helpful to us. We stocked up the day before surgery and it made coming home so much easier. It is nice to be able to be a part of a community. It helps the patients not feel so alone.

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