Day 4: It’s Getting Tingly

  • Pain: 4/10
  • Inconvenience: 12/10

Even though they told me I would experience the worst pain in the first few days at the hospital, they lied. My pain is finally starting to increase. This is a good thing though, because it means feeling is returning to my face. So bring on the pain! Note to self: Fill painkiller prescriptions today.

I’m beginning to get tingly sensations in my lower lip. It keeps quivering on me.

Yesterday, I managed to eat 6 Ensure drinks (1800 calories, wooo!), some warm chicken broth (I was craving salt) and drank 2L of water. I’ve got to say… I’m becoming mighty tired of chocolate supplements. I cannot wait for the day when I can suck through a straw again! Who knew one of the best things in life was the ability to use a straw?

I’ve quickly learned to take naps the moment I’m tired because it hurts immensely to yawn. Every time I nap, I seem to have dreams of drinking from a glass or eating with a spoon. The human mind is somewhat cruel in that regard.

I remembered that I’m supposed to be applying heat to my face 4x per day for about 30 minutes each time. Since I can’t just tape a hotpack to my face, I rigged up some fancy headband thing to hold the pack in place. It involves a luggage clip, a towel and a belt–quite a feat of engineering, I must admit!

I’ve also realized I can’t shave because, well, I can’t feel my face. So I’ve opted to growing a sweet “fatman’s beard” while I’m under the weather here.

One last thing: I can’t watch anything too funny because it really hurts to laugh, so I’m trying to be as bored as I can so I don’t have to move my face in any way.

And since I’ve had this surgery, I’ve had several of my long distance friends from Calgary and Winnipeg let me know that they’ll be passing through town in the next few weeks. Oh dear friends, why must you decide to come to Edmonton now? You know if you see me, all you’ll be getting is a drooly hug and some awkward chit-chat, right? We could have a better conversation via email!

So, in conclusion, I can’t watch anything funny, I can’t yawn, I’m still drinking through a syringe, I despise chocolate, I’m craving chicken noodle soup and any kind of meat, and now that my pain is getting worse, I’m finding it difficult to read, sleep or concentrate on pretty much anything.

But I’m still happy, because I know this is only temporary and that there are plenty of good meals to be eaten once I’m all healed up!

Oh, and thank you to my friend who kindly sent me a text today inviting me to the Buck-A-Burger party at the university. *grumble*


  1. Im on my 10 day post op and still no bowel movement im really worried is this normal ?

  2. I am on day 6 of my recovery and a friend invited me out to karaoke, so I am cracking up at the similarities I’m seeing here! Oh friends, why is your timing so bad!

    • Angela, it’s a funny situation because your friends want to get you out of the house and live life again, but they don’t realize you are literally unable to eat or speak. Hopefully they’ll still think you’re fun to hang out with when you start drooling at the table, haha! 😂

  3. Day 4 and I still can only have clear liquids! I’ve been surviving on chicken broth, Gatorade and apple juice for the past four days and id kill for a meal replacement. (To make matters worse my family ordered pizza for dinner, a rare occurrence)

    I was wondering if anyone has any tips for taking the codine? It makes my gag (not fun with a jaw that’s tied together) and I find it quite hard to get down. I’ve tried watering it down but that just seems to make it last longer.

    Also should I be rationing my codine? I haven’t had any particularly bad pain yet, but my dads making me have 5 ml every 4 hours. The bottle is halfway done and im worried that when I need it there won’t be any left.

    Thank you so much for this blog! It’s a big comfort to have something to compare myself to recovery-wise

    • Mary, isn’t it just the worst when there is delicious food around and you literally cannot eat it? I remember being at an Easter dinner party with my family without being able to enjoy anything on the table, agh!

      I’m not sure about alternate ways to take codeine. It’s possible your body is rejecting that specific drug, so you may want to call your surgeon’s office and ask if there is an alternative prescription they can give you.

      Hopefully someone else here has a bit more wisdom to share on this topic… 🙂

  4. Just wanted to say that your “in conclusion” paragraph comforted me as I’m experiencing the exact same things right now. Knowing that this is normal or at least someone else went through it too, keeps me from panicking and thinking I’m dying. I got my surgery for TMJ treatment and I’m currently on day 10, so my pain is quite high due to the joints healing as well.

    Thank you for writing this blog, it’s really helping me right now! Also as a writer, I must say that this is great and an entertaining piece.

  5. My daughter will be undergoing the same surgery. They will not put her braces on till she is 18 and then her jaw surgery at 19. We have a few years. We live in Edmonton too. I want a second opinion, can you forward me the name of the surgeon and your orthodontist.

    Thank you

  6. Hi,

    It is very helpful and encouraging to read your blog. The result is just incredible!

    I would like to ask you a question. I am at day 8 after my lower jaw advancement surgery & genioplasty. I saw my Dr. yesterday and everything is going well. My concern is that I do not feel any sensation on my lower lips and around. I just have some tingling. Also, yes I open my mouth, there is a deviation on my lower lips when I try to talk or smile and it looks very funny. I do not want to stay with that! Did you experiment it?

    Thank you!


  7. Hi Graham, I wasn’t sure where to put my first post, but since I’m at 4 days post-op, I thought it made sense to post here. Thanks so much for your blog and all the information that you’ve shared. Even though I read a lot of it before, it really takes on new meaning post surgery! I kept thinking that I’d start feeling better day 3 or 4, but it hasn’t happened yet. I guess there is not a magic day. Maybe I should starting looking at Day 7 as the day where I will turn a corner? I feel bad for my caregivers because they feel helpless and I can’t really talk to them. I have asked my mom to only ask yes or no questions, but she’s having a hard time with it. When I try to answer her “essay style,” she can’t understand me and then I repeat and she still doesn’t understand me, and then I write it down and she needs to find her glasses and then she reads its wrong..and well it’s an endless cycle. She and my husband were reading what I wrote as “pain + nausea meds” as “paint nausea meds” and didn’t know why I wanted to paint. I was like, “Seriously, can you not figure this out, come on!” So anyway, communication is a big problem, especially since my mom likes to talk a lot. Second, I’m not really hungry, but am taking in fluids by cup and trying to get at least one Ensure down per day. Third, all the congestion is driving me crazy, but I am not supposed to blow my nose. After getting up and walking around I breathe like I’ve just run a marathon. I guess some because I am weak, but a lot because I am having trouble breathing through my banded mouth and stuffy nose. Please just tell me it gets better! I guess the good news is that I am cup drinking and not syringe drinking. And also that all of this seems normal and nothing to be medically concerned about.

    • Stacey, everything you mentioned sounds perfectly normal, but it is frustrating for sure. Try to keep yourself busy with television, walks, books, and sleeping for these first couple of weeks. I promise life will get better after the 2-week mark has passed! =)

      • Hi guys sorry to interrupt but I’m a year after my op and my lower jaw and gums are numb but very tingly
        Is there anything that can relieve that feeling
        Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  8. So I got bottom jaw surgery done and it’s been exactly a week since the surgery. I no longer deal with pain except ear aches every once in a while, but the constant tingling in my chin is literally driving me insane! It doesn’t hurt but it’s always there. How long did that feeling last for you? I’ve been taking painkillers before bed only because it makes me drowsy and then I fall asleep otherwise I can’t help but think about the tingling/electrocuting feeling all night.

    • Branden, the “pins and needles” feeling generally lasts for up to 6 weeks, but is entirely dependent on when your nerves decide to wake up. The feeling went away for me at around the one-month mark. =)

  9. Thank you so much for this blog it is one of the things that get me through my day, I am 4 days post op and I am extremely swollen and in lots of pain, the most I’ve been able to sleep is an hour without waking up, my house is so hot( constantly 30 C and above) with no AC. I must confess I am absolutely miserable at the moment, but I do have hope that things will get better thanks to blogs like yours!

    • Liana, you are certainly in one of the most frustrating periods of your recovery. I assure you that by the beginning of your third week, life will be substantially better for you, so do your best to maintain that hope. It always helps to keep your mind occupied with books, television series, etc. =)

  10. Hi! I just wanted to say that you’re blog has been a huge help! Both my sister and I had double jaw surgery this week. I had it on Monday and she had it Tuesday. We’re both wondering why we did this to ourselves right now, as the rest of our family is eating a ton of pizza and we’re eating carnation instant food. Your blog though has really let us know what to expect each day, which has been fantastic!
    Anyway, we both have insanely chapped lips! We’ve been using the vasoline the hospital gave us like crazy, but there hasn’t really been any improvements. Do you have any suggestions on how to help this?

    • Annika, that’s awesome that you and your sister are on this journey together. What a bizarre bonding experience, haha! Regarding your chapped lips, Vaseline was the only product I found that provided any relief whatsoever. The reason your lips are so chapped is likely due to dehydration, so if you try drinking a bit more water each day and make a conscious effort to keep your lips clean, they will heal up, I promise! =)

  11. This blog is brilliant.
    It’s just past midnight on my 7th night (including the night the surgery took place)
    Been noticing an increase in the pain etc. But for me my main thing has been getting out and around with friends. Keeping the mind occupied is key for me.
    Great to read all these posts from people in my position at the time, now all happily back to normal with their surgery only a memory. Can’t wait until that’s me!
    Can anyone give me advice on the hot packs? Only Been using ice packs for my swelling and they seem to be getting it down nicely, but warm ones help with pain prevention?? Please enlighten me, as you know every little helps.
    Got to go, the yawns are coming! :/

    • Roger, the purpose of the hot packs is to soothe your skin and help you sleep. If you want to keep swelling down, ice packs might be the way to go, but if you’re having trouble sleeping, you can try placing a hot pack on your cheeks at night to aid in drifting off. =)

  12. I want to add my gratitude to you for your blog. Had surgery Monday, feeling a bit sorry for myself, but already I know that things are getting better. Struggling to get in the fluids, but I know I have to. Not a good time to be a picky eater! This is my second go around with jaw surgery, had the first when I was 17. Now I am 55 and questioning why I did it again! But it is done now, and I look forward to spring being here and having the braces off by Christmas. Thanks again for the wonderful blog and the continuing comments, you are a star for keeping it up!

  13. Hi Graham,
    I realise its a long time since your surgery, but I had to write to you to thank you for your site (and insight). I am having surgery on May the 1st and am very nervous, so I have been reading your account to give me an idea of what to expect.
    Anyway, I have noticed and appreciate that you are so polite to everyone who gets in touch. its very sweet. I hope your results turned out to be everything you hoped and that you are getting on with life post-surgical intervention.

    Its been quite hard for me to make this decision as I am older and have lived with my malocclusion and crooked teeth for most of my life. But I am doing it for me – to make things better. Its great to find others who understand what we have gone through(or about to go through).

    • Amanda, thank you so much for your kind words. I wish you all the best with your surgery and if you have any questions or feel the need to rant about the initial stages of recovery, I’ll be here listening. Take care! =)

  14. Hi Graham. I had double jaw surgery on Wednesday January 8th. Today is the 12th. I remember begging the universe in the wee morning hours on the 9th for it to be the weekend already so some time would have passed, so I feel grateful that I’ve made it to this point.

    Your blog is fantastic for people looking to recover, and you definitely did well grabbing the domain name.

    I’m now on full recovery day 4 if you count surgery day as day 0. It’s already becoming easier for me to drink from a cup. Ensure and Boost drinks have small openings on top, and I have noticed that it’s not too difficult for me to drink from smaller openings. I seem well ahead of your timeline in terms of using cups, so that’s comforting.

    I also took another walk today here in Brooklyn, holding a wad of paper towels against my face. This gave reason for a lot of people to stare in my direction, which made me realize how annoying it is to be stared at. It’s ok though. I understand. I also notice the stare tactic people use though. They see you coming, then a few seconds later act like they haven’t seen you yet so they can get a second glance. Clever.

    And I know this next part is going to sound odd at first and some people might take offense, so I want to be careful. These few days so far of not being able to do the things I normally take for granted has shown me part of what it’s like to be disabled. I’m drooling, unable to eat properly and have a few issues happening with my body. It’s different though, because I have recovery coming and I made a choice to do this. Soldiers who come home with their bones broken made a different, much more noble choice, and I 100% recognize that. But I’m trying to say that this procedure gives me an appreciation for not only the every day abilities I take for granted, but also the people who get hurt and can’t recover. They are far braver than I ever will be, and I salute them. Not just soldiers. Anyone who has to undergo any kind of agony like this will need comfort and support.

    “Jaw surgery” are two fairly brief words. Doesn’t sound like a big “to do”. But it’s a massive undertaking and definitely classified as “major” surgery, not minor. I can’t wait to see my results in the weeks and months ahead.

    • Jordan, I’ve read through a few pages of your website and really appreciate both your outlook on life and your sense of adventure and exploration. I feel that element of humility and thankfulness is truly important in leading to a sober appreciation of this life. I hope your recovery continues to go well and that you’re able to graduate from paper-towel walks soon! =)

  15. I’m now on day 9 of my recovery, but I can relate to a lot of things about this post. The tingliness in my face is the worst! I didn’t get much sleep last night because of it. I’m nowhere close to being able to drink through a straw or even touch my lips together. I can’t go back to school until I’m able to use a straw though, cuz I mean, there’s no way I’m feeding myself with a syringe on campus. I have a new appreciation for applesauce, pudding, mashed potatoes, milkshakes, macaroni, and smoothies I must say though. I experienced terrible nausea the first 5 days because I didn’t have anything on my stomach. As soon as I could fit a teaspoon in my mouth, everything changed. I’ll probably be sick of ll those foods when this is all over now. Still, being able to eat anything is wonderful. I’ve lost 12 pounds in one week. And I didn’t have no too lose in the first place. If anyone’s looking for a diet, go get jaw surgery 😛
    My swelling has gone down so much, every day I wake up and it’s looking better. I know what you mean about laughing too. Yesterday I was spending time with my boyfriend and he kept tickling me and I tried to tell him but he didn’t listen. I can finally move my lips some which feels pretty good, but when I try to smile it just looks ridiculous haha.
    I also had a terrible experience yesterday where I wa taking a pill and it got stuck in the socket of where they removed my wisdom tooth, and must’ve sat on a nerve or something, but it just stayed there slowly dissolving making my whole mouth and throat feel like it was on fire. Definitely 10 out of 10 for pain. Luckily my sister had me flush it out with water.
    Brushing my teeth is one of the best feelings ever, even if the feeling doesn’t last for long. The Waterpik is also a blessing from the heavens. I really miss the suctiony thing from the hospital, and it’s the next best thing. I feel like a baby because I drool everywhere and when I eat I have to wear a towel bib because my numb lips just spill out half of everything. I also eat with a baby spoon ypo cuz regular spoons won’t fit past the stupid splint. I cannot wait til the day that and the rubber bands come off.
    One more thing ill add is I haven’t pooped since before my surgery and I find that odd, but I’m having no discomforts from it this far so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it? I don’t know, what was your experience with that?

    • Sarah, your story of the pill getting stuck in the place where your wisdom tooth was removed sounds awful. You must have a higher pain tolerance now, yikes!

      Regarding bowel movements, pick up some prune juice from your local supermarket and try drinking a few glasses of that each day. That will certainly help kick your body into gear. =)

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