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!)


  1. Hi Graham!
    Saw your last comment and it reminded me that life will go on and I will be able to throw away the last of these syringes!

    I’m swollen like anything, but the jaw looks absolutely great. I’m also getting rather fidgety and am in abit of a bad mood due to the fact that the skin around my jaw is straining a little and that I can’t seem to be comfortable doing anything for long.

    Also wanted to tell you thanks for reading comments here after all this time since your surgery!

    • Alarice, I remember being super fidgety as well. The discomfort and lack of the ability to, ya’know, do what you want to do is incredibly frustrating. I promise you that it will all be worth it a few months from now. One thing that really helped me was being able to look forward to my meals. I enjoy smoothies quite a lot, so I would make several of them each day. I know it’s simple, but when you’re unable to get excited about anything else, even something as simple as a tasty little drink helps.

      In response to your thank you for checking up on the site this far down the road, I’d like you to know that I’m happily writing you all the way from Barcelona today! =)

  2. Hi I had double jaw surgery 7 days ago today! I had braces and the whole deal too 🙁 but everything lined up perfect. The surgery is the same as yours. I was allergic to the pain meds and mouth rinse so I used ibeprofin and nasal spray after 2 days which they recommened and a decongestant. I had a lot of nose bleeds wondering if you did. But I found that ibeprofin did just as much as the pain meds. I stopped icing after day 3 since that is peak of the swelling. I used a sock full rice and put it in the microwave and put it over my nose to open everything up and also used vicks salve in my nose. I am eating soft things and talking and drinking but have to admit the first 5 days were awful but I couldn’t stay laying had to move and sleep with your head up which was a lifesaver! I hope everyone heals fast and well! How are you doing now?

    • Hi Jessy,

      It sounds like you had an uncomfortable first week, but I promise you life gets better very soon. And remember: this is a once-in-a-lifetime operation. You should never have to deal with it again.

      My surgery was several years ago now and I still feel great. I couldn’t be happier about my decision to go through with it. Smiles all around!

  3. You’ll come out of this experience on top, Christine. The first 2 weeks are certainly the most taxing. Just hang in there, go for walks, and try to keep yourself busy with music and movies for the next week and a half!

  4. On day 3 today swelling is driving me
    Insane! Parents are trying to get my medicine
    That needs to hurry up because I hurt and swelling like a balloon. Thank you for your blog it’s helping me to see that it won’t last forever…just 6-8weeks which is sudden a huge time for me #ranting

  5. Clarissa, I would definitely start eating normally as soon as you’re able. Those syringes are just plan awful, so get rid of them the moment you can drink from a cup and eat with a spoon.

    Again, let your pain be your guide. If you’re finding it stressful or painful to eat with a spoon, try to find a smaller utensil. The more exercise you give your jaw, the better, so I recommend continuing your new love affair with the spoon. =)

  6. Alright thanks Graham!! 🙂
    Oh anyway, do you remember when you started to be able to eat from a spoon? I just tried and… SUCESS! 😀
    I’m pretty amazed at my speed of recovery but at the same time I’m also afraid of overworking my jaws. Should I stick to syringes for the time being?

  7. Hi Clarissa!

    You’re right in the fun part of this recovery, aren’t you? I imagine you’re already planning a week’s worth of meals for when you can eat again.

    I don’t recall my jaws ever feeling odd when I swallowed, but I was also banded shut so they literally couldn’t move at all. I wouldn’t worry about it. They’ll tighten up over the next couple of weeks and that feeling will go away. =)

  8. Hey Graham!
    I’m on day 2 post op now 🙂 trying my best to stay positive but I’m SO hungry all the time haha.
    Oh and even though i had double jaw surgery like you, my jaws are not banded together, not even with elastics. I have a splint attached to my upper jaw though. Well I’m not complaining because it make eating and breathing a whole lot easier when I can open my lips:)
    I do realize that I’m alot more swollen than you though. And my upper jaw feels abit unstable when I try to swallow. Did you experience this too? Thanks 🙂

  9. Having a suction machine would have been so nice! Thanks for the tip and good luck with your first few weeks, Lauren!

  10. Hey Graham (and other readers),

    I’m on day 2 right now of double jaw surgery and I found a suction machine that you can rent! It’s made it so much easier to breath so anyone that’s having a hard time should look into getting one at med rental store (ask a nurse, lots of old people rent different machines there). Thanks for the blog! It’s encouraging to get to read someone else’s experience!

  11. Hi Maddie,

    I had to use a syringe for the first 2 weeks. After that, I was able to drink from cups, so I survived on blended Chunky soup.

  12. Hi! I am going into surgery soon, and just wanted to know if everyone has to eat/drink for a syringe? How long?

    Great website by the way!

  13. Oh thank goodness! I’ve been eating more than usual lately just to gain some weight to lose over the next 4 weeks.. I don’t like the idea of being 90lbs. But I’m terribly excited to get my jaws done!

  14. You won’t lose as much weight as I did if you’re already at your natural size.

    I was eating a lot and working out quite often leading right up to surgery, so I weighed about 20 lbs heavier than I naturally would. Hence why I lost so much weight so quickly.

    You’ll be perfectly alright. A girl your size will likely only lose ~5 lbs as a result of the surgery. =)

  15. You lost so much weight within 3 days? I’m going for surgery next week and I fear losing too much weight.. I’m just about 95 pounds :/

  16. It’s pretty surprising how fast the days fly by once you can get out and move around again. Life is always fleeting, jaw surgery or not. =)

  17. You know what? I hated the sound that suction thing made too! *haha* It kept waking me up during my one night stay in the hospital.

    Wow, it’s crazy to think that my day 3 was 50 days ago. Making it past the first week was everything. Time flew by after that.

  18. first thing id like to point out is tht i love bullets #1 & #3 lol and that when i had to take the antibiotics 4 times a day was just too much for me to handle had the dry heaves until the surgeon could send in some anti nuascias relief and then since that was happening i couldnt get any of my pain meds down i was in serious pain for like a good 3 hours felt like my face was going to explode because of the swelling. and like nothing couldnt get any worsee!!but it did!!! we have nooo 24 hour open pharmacies anywhere around us and my mom had to drive out somewhere far just to get this stuff. was crazy and lol i had the same idea about the whole being a lab rat but i had more of a hamster/guineapig in mind haha. for some reason then i felt… and tht suction tube was very helpful even though i hated all the noise it made i wanted it so bad when i got home so instead i had this “drool rag” with me for a good amount of time. haha and then everyone got me like a whole bunch of flowers i felt as if everyone thought i died(you should of seen how many flowers i got omg) but the nice thing was is tht before the surgery i didnt have a good sense of smell and then after my sense was stronger then ever and smelt these things a mile away but then after awhile it got to me because i already have allergies and i was wanting to sneeze and the sneezing hurt more then yawning lol i told my mom to put them in their own room with the door was nice to see them for awhile though lol

  19. Hi Carolyn,

    I remember that gagging feeling when using the syringe. Between the swelling, the splint, and the complete lack of oral hygiene, eating through those syringes is a huge hassle.

    My only suggestion is to have another syringe and a glass of water nearby when he’s eating. Water was my saving grace in the beginning.

    He’ll be finished with life on the syringe in just over a week! Wooooohooooo!

  20. This web site is fantastic. Thank you, Graham! My brother is on day two and I am sitting here watching him struggle. It seems that the worst thing for him is taking the medicine through the syringe. He just gags and REALLY struggles. Do you remember feeling the same way? Any suggestions?

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