Day 7: The Miracle of Codeine

  • Pain: 3/10
  • Inconvenience: 8/10

Holy *huge* lips!

Edit: I added a mugshot to show how excessively large my lips are today. Holy ****!

Edit: I also noticed that this blog is now the #2 hit if you search for “double jaw surgery” on Google. I’ll drink to that!

It’s been a full week since my surgery and things are looking up. My swelling has decreased dramatically. I can open and close my lips quite easily and I have feeling in my top lip again. The downside? That very lip is split wide open due to the swelling from the past few days (because I didn’t get Vaseline on it soon enough), so that’s the most painful part of my day right now.

My nose and chin keep getting itchy these days as well, so I scratch them in an attempt to remedy the sensation. That’s great and all, except they’re both still completely numb, so I can’t actually feel myself scratching them. Perpetual itch.

I went and saw my sister and her children yesterday for a few minutes. I find it amusing how adults can understand me, but the young ones just can’t wrap their minds around the fact that a person can talk without moving their mouth. The only acceptable explanation I’ve found so far has been to tell them my teeth are glued together. My sister also kindly reminded me that my puffy cheeks make me look like a cartoon character. Thank you for that.

I’ve stopped attempting to speak in words and started speaking in tones and murmurs. I’ve discovered that the mere inflection in my voice is enough for most people (sans children) to figure out what I’m saying. I really appreciate the people who listen to me, clearly don’t understand what I just tried to say, and then nod and say “yes, okay” as if they had heard me perfectly fine. I see right through your false responses!

Oh, and yesterday I had some tomato soup for lunch. What a welcome change! I also went for a little drive, but I was a little lightheaded during the trip because I was so hungry, so in hindsight, that may not have been the best idea.

I have my very first post-op appointment with my surgeon tomorrow morning. I’m hoping he’ll put looser elastics on so I can start eating a little bit more.

To sign off, I’ll leave you with a simple, yet profound revelation that struck me at about 11 o’clock last night. It goes something like this: codeine is straight from Heaven itself. Seriously.

28 Comments

  1. Graham
    I first came across your blog two years or so ago and have read it again back to front in the past few days.
    I am on day 6 now and cannot overstate how helpful your posts, sense of humor and overall attitude have been for me.
    Seriously, you’re the f****** man.
    I was bummed to read about your bite not being “perfect” at the end, how is doing now? Are you still considering another op?

    Be blessed dude

    • Daniel, thanks for the kind remarks, man. Much appreciated. As for my bite, it closed almost all the way (just like my surgeon said it would) and I haven’t had any issues with it. In fact, it hasn’t even crossed my mind for over 2 years! =)

  2. Codine IS from heaven! I’m not sure if its my imagination or a weird reaction to it, but I can feel it numbing my face part by part. Plus, it usually knocks me out for an hour or so, and sleep is something I’m desperate for!!

    Question for you and everyone else out there who’s going through this: yesterday I made the switch from my crazy industrial strength nasal spray to saline and cleaned out all my nose gunk. Then all day I found my nose was leaking this light orange liquid. Then this morning I woke with some thicker dried evidence of what could have been a small nosebleed if it weren’t…orange! Really strange.

  3. I have blended many soups and have been straining them. My favorite has been the milestrone soup because it gives me the vegetable taste. Thank you for your help! I’m sure I will be commenting later on, as well. : )

  4. Hi Graham! Your blog has been excellent for my recovery. I’ve been following along day-by-day and trying to stay encouraged. I had double jaw surgery and I am wired shut. Tomorrow will be day 7 and each day I notice differences. When you were simply walking around the house, did you ever feel dizzy or weak? How long did that last? Also,I haven’t been enjoying ensure too much (too sweet and ice cream-like for me) and I am only able to drink around a bottle a day mixed with peanut butter. I have been drinking various blended and strained soups, Special K protein water mix, blended oatmeal, lots of water, etc. hoping that keeps up my calorie count. Any suggestions for the ensure or more “normal foods” I can eat? Once I get my jaws unwired, I feel like I will be a lot better with the soft food diet. Thanks for your help!

    • Emily, I recall being dizzy while walking around during the early days quite well. The reason for lacking in energy is the fact that your body is using most of your energy to heal itself, leaving you feeling fairly lightheaded for the first couple of weeks. That feeling will go away during the third week, though.

      As for blended foods, I honestly stayed alive with smoothies and blended Chunky soups, which satisfied me because one was sweet and the other was salty. You can honestly eat anything you’re able to blend with milk or water, but some foods just don’t seem too appealing when blended. Have you tried blended soups yet?

  5. Hey Graham,
    I’m on my 7th day post-op and for some reason I’m starting to feel a lot more tired than before. I recently started drinking soup (before I was just on lots of ensure and gatorade) and think that might be the problem. I haven’t changed anything with my medications so I don’t think that could be the problem. did you have any issues like this or is it just normal to get a little more fatigued a week in? Also I just wanted to thank you for making this website. It is the best thing I’ve seen and it means a lot knowing that there are a lot of people going through the same thing I am. Thanks!

    • Akash, you’re likely feeling a little more tired because you switched from a diet high in sugar to one fairly low in sugar (Ensure to salty soups). You’re still healthy, but you may want to try making a few smoothies each day, or perhaps even enjoy a few spoonfuls of straight honey. Certainly nothing to worry about, though! =)

  6. I’m one week tomorrow after double surgery, I had my post-op visit today. But I must say, I do feel terrible, because my recovery seems like nothing compared to yours! I can chew (enough to eat softer foods), swallow tablets and i don’t have a splint or elastics!
    But the hospital was pretty terrible, woke up vomiting and was nauseated for the next 2 days whenever the “yummy” hospital food came round,(they gave me food that i couldn’t dream of eating, apples, sandwiches, toast, bacon) but that would have to be the hardest part so far…
    But I must say, it is good to know i’m not the only one who has had to go through all this. Honestly, your blog has helped me so much to know what to expect! So I just want to say thank you so much Graham!

    • Katherine, I can’t believe they placed bacon in front of you! How cruel! Stay strong for one more week and life will begin to move in a very positive direction. =)

  7. Hey Graham,

    Today marks day seven for me and I have a quick question. Have you experienced the sensation of, oh how do I put this? Well, like your face is attempting to make a break for it and jump out of your skin? It is not painful but I feel pressure in my upper jaw right under my nose. Did you experience this as well or am I alone on this?

    • Coby, I recall experiencing sensations similar to that. It feels like your face is contorting in every way possible all at the same time. It’s likely due to your bones trying to regress (but they won’t because they’re held in place with the titanium plates) or your nerves reawakening. In any regard, while it’s uncomfortable, it should go away over the next few weeks. =)

  8. Hi Graham, I am on my 7th day post op. I think I am on a good start here. My surgeon has me on only 2 bands at this moment. Feeling wise, they are evading me from my upper left lip and a my chin. I too have a question about speech though. Would there be a case that my speech is affected or would I have to wait for the swelling to completely subside and some getting use to before i can speak normally?

    • Darren, your speech will be fairly jumbled until your swelling goes down. Elastics won’t affect your speech too muchโ€”it’s nearly entirely based on the swelling. Usually, people begin to speak relatively normally again after 3โ€“4 weeks, but, as always, it depends on the person. =)

  9. Also thank you Graham for your reply with regards to my speech. I’m glad to say my speech is almost back to normal but I still have a lisp which will hopefully go away as the sensation to my lower lip starts coming back (lower lip still totally numb after 3 and half weeks) ๐Ÿ™

  10. Hi Kristen

    The left side of my face was also puffier than my right so that’s perfectly normal. With regards to the metal plates, these have been strongly screwed into your bone in several places so it would be impossible to move them unless there has been a significant impact like being punched in the face or something which clearly didn’t happen in your case. So I wouldn’t be too worried about that. However if you’re still concerned you could contact your surgeon.

    Hope this helps

  11. I survived the peak and made it to day 7, woo hoo! My question for Graham and anyone else reading is this: have you been able to feel the hardware in your face (i had upper and lower surgery) The left side of my face is much puffier than the right and more painful and tender in certain spots. When I went to slightly rub the painful area close to the TM joint, I could feel the hardware and swear my pushing there made it move. Am I being paranoid? Is there an easy way to tell if something has gone wrong with the hardware?

  12. Hello again Graham, thanks A lot for replying so promptly. I have another question, I’m now on day 10 post op and still can’t speak properly. My jaw is not wired shut and I’ve just got two elastics which aren’t too tight and I can open my mouth sufficiently but when I speak I sound like someone with a blocked nose and people only understand me half the time. I’m worried because I’m going back to work in exactly 10 days and my job involves talking to people all the time. Will my speech be completely normal by then and is there anything I can do to help improve my speech in the meantime?

    On another note the sutures between my upper gum and upper lip are still pretty sore. When I look in the mirror I can see a couple of threads hanging down. Is there a chance I have accidentally torn my sutures or something?

    Thanks once again ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi again Sam!

      You speech will not be back to normal in another week or so, no. Speaking clearly requires your swelling to recede, and that generally takes a month or two. You may be understandable when you return to work, but I would recommend asking for another week off to be on the safe side.

      As for your sutures, it’s common for them to begin working their way out of your flesh. As long as you’re not bleeding and you can’t feel open gashes in your mouth, you should be okay. If you’re worried however, just give your surgeon a call to be sure.

      Best of luck with your return to work, whenever that happens to be! =)

  13. Oh and I forgot to ask when can I start brushing my teeth? I’m worried I’m going to tear one of the stitches or something!

  14. Hi Graham. First of all thanks so much for your blog. It’s great and has helped me a lot so far. I have a couple of questions. I’m currently on day 7 after my surgery and for the past 3 days have had a lot of pain on my upper gum behind my upper lip where some sutures have been put in. Did you ever experience this as well and how long do you think it takes before it goes away? Also I’m finding it almost impossible to sleep at night because of the shear discomfort and pain in have in my mouth. Is this normal and how long will it be before I can sleep properly?

    Thanks once again ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Sam,

      Pain and discomfort in your gums is normal for the first 3โ€”4 weeks. Chances are one of your incisions is swollen so the flesh will be tender in that area. It will heal in time.

      I was unable to sleep through the night for over a month, if I recall, so what you’re experiencing is completely normal. I found it helped if I put a hot pack on my face and neck at night, but sleep may simply evade you for another few weeks.

      As for brushing, you’ll have to ask your surgeon when it’s safe to start. I think I started brushing very lightly after 2 weeks. Up until that point, the only thing I could do to keep my mouth clean was gurgle warm salt water.

      Not being able to maintain oral hygiene is frustrating, but remember that it’s only temporary. Brushing and flossing will become chores again soon enough! =)

  15. Hi Kari,

    I didn’t have “really fun hooks” following surgery, so I can’t really say. My jaw was help in place by my splint, but I understand different surgeons have different methods of keeping your bones where they should be.

    At any rate, I’d imagine they’ll be in for approximately 4 โ€” 6 weeks, as that’s generally the amount of time required for your bone to regain enough strength to keep things in place naturally.

  16. I feel like I am stalking you Graham! I am currently chilling on my couch on my day 7. Reading your blog is really helping me out. I just wanted to ask if you had these really fun hooks at top and bottom of your jaw, where your lips meet your gums. I am suppose to hook them at night and it is horrible. Any suggestions or hints for how long I’ll have these suckers?

  17. Thanks for the tips Graham..
    Today is my week anniversary, swelling is starting to go down and pain is easing.
    I am getting sharp pains from my gums, I’m guessing my stitches have come out.
    I’ve been reading loads of blogs about surgery, and realised compared to lots I’ve had it bloodly easy.I’m not wired shut, and I can eat purรฉed veg, custards and ice creams. Saying that, I’ve lost my appetite as the food is all so samey,boring and bland ..

  18. Vicky, the fact that your jaw is grinding is fairly normal. It’s certainly frustrating and painful at this point, but it should align itself over the next week or so.

    Make sure you’re sleeping with a heat pack on your face. It’ll provide some semblance of a soothing feeling for you and enable you to get a little rest.

    Stay strong and you’ll feel much better in another week and a half!

  19. Day 3 post op .I’ve got no numbness and im in agony, easily a 9/10. Regular painkillers aren’t touching it.
    Also my jaw keeps grinding, which is bloodly sore ๐Ÿ™

  20. Hello Vicky! Believe me when I tell you that you are in the most difficult part of the recovery right now. You’ll get through this, however, and you’ll be able to join your friends for a barbecue before the summer is out.

    And just think of how much you’ll be smiling when that happens. =)

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