Day 3: The Peak of the Swelling

  • Pain: 2/10
  • Inconvenience: 12/10

According to my surgeon, swelling peaks at 72 hours and stays at that point for anywhere up to a full week, at which point your face begins to return to normal. Tonight at 6:00 marks that 72-hour mark–thank God. My face is slightly fatter than it was yesterday, which makes it slightly tougher to eat, drink and breathe.

A few things I noticed this morning:

  • My breath smells a little smoky, like there’s been something fermenting in my mouth for the past 3 days.
  • I’m still completely numb from the bottom of my eyes down to the bottom of my chin–no feeling in my lips, nose, or half of my cheeks.
  • My butt hurts much less today, and I’m regaining feeling in it. I can now sit down and feel fairly comfortable about it.
  • I weighed myself this morning and have already lost 10 pounds since Monday. That’s 5.2% of my bodyweight, gone already.

On the bright side, I had a shower so I feel much cleaner now. I was also able to get a child-sized toothbrush in my mouth to brush the outsides of my teeth, so my breath is a little bit fresher. Not much, mind you. I can also move my mouth a bit, so I can now close and part my lips at will! Oh, the sheer control!

I’ve decided to start eating and drinking a little more today. For breakfast, I had an Ensure drink (335 cal) and 0.5 L of water, all by syringe of course. Then I took my meds, which included 2 shots of nasal spray per nostril (2x daily), a decongestant (2x daily), an anti-biotic (4x daily) and some medicated mouthwash (2x daily). Once this is all over, I think I’m going to slow my eating down and enjoy each bite a little bit more. I feel like lab rat having to take everything by syringe, like I’m some animal in a cage who can run up to take a drink from a tube whenever I’m thirsty.

The one thing I miss most about the hospital is the suction tube. Ya’know when you’re at the dentist and they give you the tube that you can spit into to get rid of all the nasty that’s in your mouth? I had one of those at the hospital, and it was wonderful. However, I don’t have it here at home, so the only way I can clean my mouth out is to either:

  1. Take a syringe of water and try to swallow everything down along with the water, or
  2. Take a syringe of salt water, tilt my head back and forth to swish it around as best I can, then go hang my head over the sink and let everything run out.

Disgusting? Absolutely, positively, repulsive.

I spoke with my friend from the hospital today, the girl who only had 1 jaw operated on. She told me her swelling is already decreasing, so apparently double jaw surgery is much, much worse. I’ve spent most of today wheezing away trying to get enough air.

Anyways, I’ve decided that I’m not going to waste these days away. I’m going to spend a few hours every day reading, a few hours relaxing, an hour walking the dog to get some fresh air in these lungs, and a few hours on web development, just to continue learning. Why waste any time, right?

That’s not to say I’m not going to hook my laptop up to the big screen and surround sound at some point and play Batman for a little while too…

Thanks to everyone who has offered to drop by with the following (some of these made me chuckle):

  • Liquor
  • Women
  • Movies
  • TV shows
  • Books
  • Baking (how am I supposed to eat this stuff?!)
  • Time to chat (but… I can’t talk, remember? I communicate with my parents by using a computerized voice on my laptop, like Stephen Hawking.)
  • Jello shots (I’m almost there!)

10 Comments

  1. Hey Graham,

    Thank you so much for this fantastic blog. Even though laughing out loud isn’t as comfortable after these surgeries, yet totally necessary and worth it when reading your story. I am now on day 3 past my lower jaw surgery, unfortunately my face is way more swollen than any other pictures I have seen so far from other “victims” of this procedure. I even saw a bit of concern in my doctors eyes, but he just mentioned that everyone reacts differently to these surgeries… I am living in Germany and over here we don’t get any steroids, we just get a bit of ibuprofen and antibiotics and the medicated mouthwash you were mentioning as well. I already have to change my elastics 3 times a day by myself, which I found to be a total overkill and basically impossible when the face is blown up double the size of a minion-shaped balloon from the Christmas market. Since my doctor had a lot of trouble to change the elastics (it took ages, everything was full of blood and the swelling afterwards was even worse), I blame him for being too lazy and just making me do his job.
    I was wondering why I have to cool my face 24/7 and you were putting warmth on it? Did you have the feeling that swelling went down from the warmth?
    And btw- I am written off work for 3 weeks after the surgery, I found it incredibly amazing how active you are so soon after the procedure and that you were able to work so soon as well. I hope I will be feeling a lot more energetic after the two week mark as I imagine at the moment 🙂

    • Lea, sorry that these posts are making you laugh. I remember how painful laughing and smiling were during the initial couple months of recovery. 😂

      I’ve heard different advice from different people on the topic of heat versus ice. I believe ice helps reduce swelling and heat helps sooth your nerves, but I don’t think either of them will cause any harm. You may want to use ice on your face for the rest of your first week of recovery to try and keep the swelling down a bit. After that, you can switch to heat to provide some warmth and comfort. I also found that placing a heat bag on my face at night helped me fall asleep.

      By the way, I currently live right next door to you in Poland… small world! I hope your swelling starts to go down soon. Hang in there! 😊

      • Hey Graham,
        thank you very much for the incredibly quick response- how is Poland treating you? I actually have never been to Poland, but I heard so much good stuff about it.
        Thank you for the advise, I guess I will stick with ice until next week. My next follow-up is already tomorrow. It might be completely delusional, but I hope the splint gets taken out. Never stop dreaming 😉
        I might keep you updated and bother you with further questions 🙂
        Thank you very much!

        • Clinging to the hope of having your splint removed is a good strategy for maintaining sanity during this recovery. 😉

          Poland is very challenging for me because the language is so difficult. However, I’ve only lived here for 5 months, so I’m probably still in the adjustment phase. Hopefully I’ll be able to learn this language over the next few years so I can integrate a bit. 😊

          • Good luck with learning Polish, 5 months is nothing to worry about. My husband is from New Zealand and he is living in Germany for 7 years now and its still challenging at times with the language. He is working solely in English, which makes learning German even more difficult. But he is getting there, so keep it up and don’t put too much pressure on yourself!

            And btw- my splint did not get removed. 🙁 I kinda suspected it, because my jaw isn’t actually sitting in the splint. However, I don’t believe that it will get there by next Friday neither. Can they not just get the lower jaw in the perfect position with the elastics? I don’t trust that splint.

          • Thanks for the encouragement. Frankly, I’ll be surprised if I can even have a conversation in Polish during my time here.

            For what it’s worth, I had my splint in for 7 weeks, so try not to get too frustrated. You’ll be fully recovered soon and this will become a distant memory… and thank goodness for that! 😉

  2. i had lower jaw surgry 4 months ago….infection has occured in jaw on right side twice…..left side is fine….my surgeon told me to remove the plates which are inside the jaw….is plate removal procedure safe?…n how much time it would take for recovery n what are the causes if infection

  3. Hey Graham

    I’m on Day 3, and your blog really helped me prepare for my surgery and inspired me to blog about my own (mine is here http://maxfaxmaxfax.blogspot.com/2016/03/day-2-swelling.html).

    There’s one thing I’m worried about — my teeth look in a far worse position than they did before surgery. I have a huge overhang that wasn’t there before. Is there still movement as the swelling goes down?

    • Hey Mark, cool blog! Though I must say that your photo of “blended chicken dinner” brings back dreadful memories for me. 😂

      I also felt like I had a huge overbite following surgery, but it was simply a result of being extremely swollen and not being used to seeing myself without an underbite. Once your swelling goes down, your face will take on a much more desirable shape. That being said, try not to fret about your appearance for at least 2 months, as swelling from this surgery generally takes quite some time to disappear.

  4. Thanks everyone. Its good to read and know your not alone. Kisses to all xx

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