Day 2: The Worst Day (Part II)

  • Pain: 2/10
  • Inconvenience: 10/10

Here’s today’s mugshot. Dried blood (tough to scrub off when you can’t feel your nose and lips), unaligned lips and a big, fat head. I think I look a little bit like Fat Bastard.

Good news: today was my last day in the hospital! My stay hasn’t really been that bad. I’m thankful for all the kind nurses I’ve had (Daphiny, Jill, the nice Mexican lady whose name has escaped me). I’m thankful for those that came to visit me to make the time pass a little more quickly. And I’m thankful for the cafeteria ladies who continuously kept my tray packed with Boost, Ensure, Carnation Breakfast drinks and little cartons of whole milk. I’m not thankful for the tasty-looking Jello she kept leaving there, because I had no way of eating it!

I’m beginning to regain a bit of feeling in my face today, which is nice, because it’s enabling me to drool a little less. Not much less, mind you.

Also this: my butt still hurts too much to sit down. *grumble*

My surgeon stopped by again this morning, at 6:30 on the dot, as usual, to tell me what my diet should look like for the next few weeks. He recommended a minimum of 4L of water per day and 3000 calories per day. I have trouble getting that in when I can chew, swallow and take big gulps from my water bottle. I have no idea how I’m going to swing that kind of intake using nothing but a plastic syringe.

I’d like to interject here to show a particular nasty photo of the sheer amount of blood I have sucked out of my mouth in the past 48 hours. It’s delightful.

Let’s look on the bright side though: I’m at home! Home sweet home. No more hydrated air. The ice packs have become heat packs. No more having to sleep in a sitting position. No more 6:30 am wakeup calls to fill me with rules I can’t follow and agendas I cannot keep.

I’ve got the counter all set up here: 1 syringe for drinking water, 1 for saltwater rinse, 1 for chocolate Ensure supplements and 1 for yogurt and milk. Sounds tasty, right?

There is only 1 thing I could possibly complain about right now, and that is the fact that my father is cooking lemon-glazed salmon in the kitchen right behind me, and I can have no part of it.

Oh, and did I mention I got steroid injections to help with the swelling?

24 Comments

  1. Laura Morrsion

    March 17, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Hello, I have a double jaw surgery next week to fix my huge ass open bite! I am so nervous and reading peoples blogs keep freaking me out, because of my open bite I struggle to breathe through my nose anyway, I am so scared I will struggle to breathe at all because of the blood and nose issues you had. Was breathing very difficult while you were recovering and how long for? sorry I know this blog is old but any insight I can get is really appreciated 🙂

    • Laura, breathing during recovery is generally not a problem. You may be quite congested for the first 3–4 days due to dry blood clogging up your nostrils, but there should never be a point at which you feel you cannot get enough air. Just remember to stay calm and breathe slowly and you’ll make it through the first few days with no trouble. 😊

  2. I’m on day 2 and hanging in there. Thanks for helping me push through man!

  3. Hi Graham, just wanted to give another update, and sorry but its a long one. Its now been 3 months since my jaw surgery, and 6 weeks since the secondary surgery to repair the hole in the roof of my mouth… aaaand its a disaster. Over the last 3-4 weeks my jaw pain has been steadily increasing and I have no access to more pain medication. The roof of my mouth also became extremely infected around the remaining 2-3 stitches last week, and since I am in Estonia (north/eastern europe) now for school, I have no access to my doctor in canada. I saw an ear/nose/throat doctor who gave me some antibiotics, and later met with a surgeon for a follow up… but a week later the infection cleared up, and through the infection site a corner of the platinum barrier has started to break through the roof of my mouth… so I saw the maxilliofacial surgeon again, and he told me that the barrier needs to be removed immediately, but he won’t touch another doctors work… I’ve now been to 3 doctors who have told me the same thing (“Go back to canada.”).. I have an appointment with one more surgeon tomorrow, and if they refuse to help me, I might be floating towards a waterfall with no paddle, as its literally the only specialist left that I haven’t already seen in this tiny little country.. and the cost of a flight back to canada last minute would put an end to my school year before its even started. Lesson to be learned here: DONT TRAVEL UNTIL YOU ARE FULLY HEALED! Its nearly impossible to explain complex surgeries and recovery details using google translate, mime skills, and drawings to communicate to the doctor. If you must travel within a few months of surgery, bring a copy of your surgery documents like:
    X-rays
    surgery details and charts (translated if you can/if necessary)
    sufficient refills of prescriptions for worst-case-scenerios
    Extra elastics, baby toothbrushes, favourite mouthwash, etc.

    And a general tip for anyone, at home or travelling: A microwave heat pack can be made out of a cotton sock (or any other fabric bag that won’t melt) filled with rice, dried beans/peas/lentils, cracked corn (Whole corn kernels will pop), or oats. Microwaves can vary, and the contents of your heat pack can affect this, as oats will heat up faster than dried beans. I have been microwaving my sock full of stale old rice and black eye peas (found these open, in the cellar- clearly not edible anymore) for about 1:20, but its best to start with about 45 seconds, and then add 15 seconds at a time until its warm enough.

  4. 7 week update! I spent the past couple weeks at summer camp as the cook but had to quit and return to the city yesterday to have the pallet/nostril hole fixed… my surgeon never really told me why or how it happened, and brushed off all my questions about it.. anyways, they peeled back the pallet, put a sheet of platinum in to cover the hole and create a barrier, then they stitched everything back together and sent me home.. I never thought I would ever say this in my life but I WISH I had the splint back in… right now theres 12 stitches in about 1 square inch on one side of the roof of my mouth, and only a piece of gauze keeping my tongue out of there…

    The best part of all this though is that 7 weeks after surgery, the entirety of that time spent in a rather notable amount of pain, my surgeon has FINALLY given me actual pain medication to deal with this.. even when I first woke up from surgery he only gave me a low dose of demerol, which continued for 4 weeks before being cut off of pain meds and left to deal with the pain on my own… Now he has decided to give me oxycodone and I am extremely appreciative

    • Krista, that’s good to hear that the follow-up operation is finally behind you. I hope you recover from this one quickly so you can put these frustrations in the past. Best of luck with all those stiches, yikes!

  5. Abby Williams

    June 25, 2014 at 4:00 am

    got my surgery yesterday morning. it does hurt to swallow and not only the outside of my mouth but the inside is pretty swollen. when did all that seem to go down for you?

    • Abby, welcome to recovery! Your swelling will be quite intense for the first 2–3 weeks, but it should decrease considerably following that. Try to drink lots of water, eat lots of calories (smoothies are great for this), and go for walks each day. Remember, slow and steady wins the race! =)

  6. Hi Graham,
    The hole in the roof of my mouth has not changed or improved yet, but the doctor gave me muscle relaxers and they have been heaven. I have also been going for “theralase” laser treatments to speed up and improve healing, and it has been unbelievable. My orthodontists were not shy about telling me how impressed they were with the results so far. The laser promotes bone and soft tissue healing and breaks up and removes scar tissue. My brother broke his ankle in 3 places and this therapy had him skating in 14 days so my jaw has been doing great with it. Tomorrow is my 3 week mark, and my swelling is almost completely gone, I have been splint free for a week, I can open my mouth and talk without pain even though I’m mumbled with my numbness, and I can eat things like shepherds pie and uncle bens rice pouches pretty well… Ive still lost about 30 pounds though, because the first week was clear liquids only, the second week I was able to add dairy, and now in the 3rd week I am finally allowed blended things and purees.

    • Krista, I’ve never heard of Theralase laser treatment, but that’s really cool that it’s helping you heal. Also happy to hear you’re not recovering in noticeable fashion. Stay strong and hopefully you’ll regain some of that weight soon—that’s a big decrease!

  7. Saw my surgeon again today and he didnt seem to care about the hole much (he did call it a “blowout” in terms of how it was caused because there were no incisions in the roof of my mouth), told me it would heal up on its own and didnt do any xrays or checks on it. He just took my splint out, looked at it, and sent me home.. my biggest concern is he didnt give me any more pain medication, so I am guessing most people are off it 2 weeks in? I sure need it still. The only problem the hole seems to actually be causing me is that I cant create suction on a straw or anything… in terms of whether my pallate is stable I am unsure and slightly worried, because my mouth feels really small now and my tongue is constantly pushing against the roof of my mouth and teeth, and the teeth are kind of wiggly, in their groupings of where the upper jaw plates are.. im trying my best to leave them alone and not put pressure on them but its not easy…

    • Krista, if your surgeon wasn’t concerned, chances are it will heal up okay over the next month or two. In terms of creating suction, it’s common to not be able to use a straw until you’re a few months into recovery. At the two-week mark, I had just started drinking from a cup. I would pick up some over-the-counter pain medication to soothe your pain as best you can and focus on remaining peaceful for a few more weeks. You may be surprised at how quickly your body heals once these first few weeks are over. Let me know how you’re doing in a few days. I’d love to follow along with your story. =)

  8. Im on day 11 of a double jaw surgery. I spent 2 nights in the hospital in toronto and I’m not sure the nurses had ever had a jaw surgery patient before. For the first 24 hours I had some constant heavy nosebleeds and the nurse kept coming in to make me blow my nose so I could breathe… she even held the tissue and forgot to let go so I could take a breath before blowing a second time, cutting off my only source of oxygen until I fought her off. Around day 6 I found out the risks of blowing your nose after this surgery: I discovered a sort of flap on the roof of my mouth.. its a hole leading straight to my nostril, from my pallet being widened in surgery but not filled. My surgeon couldnt get in there to see it with the splint in, so he has advised me to keep it clean and stick to clear fluids until he can get the splint out next week. I have to feed myself laying down because if my head is up when I drink it gets shot out my nose.. also drying out my mouth faster because I cant fully close my lips while relaxed and theres a vent in the middle of my mouth.

    • Krista, it sounds like you had some amateur nurses for sure, yikes. You can rest assured that blowing your nose would not have caused the hole in the roof of your mouth, but only exacerbated it. If you take good care of your mouth from this point forward, everything should heal up as expected. I would recommended staying on a liquid diet until your surgeon feels comfortable with you chewing again, and I’d also advise your surgeon to take x-rays of the roof of your mouth to ensure your palette is in place. Let me know what you find out after your appointment. My prayers are with you! =)

  9. Just got home from a double jaw surgery, any advice I’m disoriented and confused

    • Nick, my best advice at this point is to either try to sleep or find a television series to pass the time with. Once you have a bit more energy, try to get outside and go for a walk. Fresh air works wonders!

  10. Always glad to help 🙂

  11. I’m on day two now, and what I’m discovering is I now have a deep appreciation for babies. I’ve swallowed so much air eating through a syringe I felt like my stomach was going to explode. My fiancé actually helped burp me today, if you can believe that. That’s dedication.

    I had steroids too before I left the hospital, but they hooked me up through my IV, so no extra injections.

    I DID wind up needing a catheter though, and I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for you! They say it’s not nearly as bad for girls, and while the pain wasn’t too bad, getting to the point where I could actually pee like a normal person was torture. Took forever. I also now understand old people better than I ever did.

  12. I’m on day two just got home from the hospital today and they have me on a clear liquid diet for 48 hours with a compression wrap to help with the swelling. And I know not the most pleasent thought but how do you get your bathroom routine back in order.

    • Kyle, bathroom business is very important, so I can relate to your question. My best advice is to go purchase prune juice and drink 2–3 glasses, coupled with 1–2L of water, per day. The reason you’re having difficulty going to the bathroom is because you’re dehydrated, so if you consume enough liquids, you’ll be back in good working order. =)

  13. Read your blog before my surgery and after are different 100%! We can learn before but never understand like now all your explainations! Interesting to compare 🙂 When i was in my bed at hospital , i think at you and said to me :”Well … It’s my Worst day to…”

  14. Ok so i’m 16 and i have to have the same surgery and i’m freaking out because i hate injections.. anyways so how did you cope with having such a big operation?! I read this day and almost freaked out ;o

    • Sam, as difficult as this may be, you should consider yourself lucky that you’re able to undergo the surgery and get it out of the way at such a young age. However, please ensure your surgeon is absolutely sure that your jaw is no longer growing. I haven’t met anyone who’s had this operation at your age yet. Then again, perhaps you’re just really tough. =)

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