Day 8: The $50,000 Plastic Surgery

  • Pain: 3/10
  • Inconvenience: 7/10

I *dare* you to not fall in love with that perfect smile!

Today was my first post-op appointment with my surgeon and I learned a lot of very cool stuff. To that end, today’s update will be less about my apparently humorous pain and more about the facts.

Important things first: they removed my elastics for a glorious 30 minutes, so I was able to take an honest look inside my mouth. I have a splint (or guard) that is wired to the braces on my top teeth. It completely envelops my top teeth and stretches right to the back of my mouth. It also has a bite imprint on its underside for my bottom teeth to fit into. My bottom teeth, on the other hand, are exposed, nay, free!

What was the greatest thing about having those elastics snapped off, you ask, as your curiosity peaks. (Yes, I’m forcing interest on you.) I got to brush my teeth! ALL OF THEM! For 30 minutes straight! I was also able to drink from a cup once I could open my mouth. I could open and close my jaw, and move it side to side, and breathe easy again. My friends, I could have stood there and brushed and gurgled all freaking day. I also had something really sharp inside my mouth–I think it was a stitch I accidentally tore off with my tongue–and I was finally able to get it out.

They took some x-rays of my now-aligned jaw and I was able to see the 6 titanium plates in my face: 4 on the top and 2 on the bottom. I also learned that my jaw was not the only part of my face that was fixed. My surgeon also trimmed my septum and had to rebuild my entire nose as a result. This was nice, because I broke my nose several years ago (a girl punched me in the face, I reset it myself in the backwoods somewhere in the Rocky Mountains… it’s a long story), and I never had it fixed. Now it’s straight again! He also told me he had to move several nerves around and altered things right up to my eye sockets. Apparently a surgery of this same caliber, but for purely cosmetic reasons, would cost upwards of $50,000. I’m glad I had medical reasons for my procedure.

The question about having some of my surgery covered was posed as well, only to be answered by the simple fact that it was. My surgeon did not even bill me for the parts covered by Alberta Health Care: the hospital stay, the operating theater time, the anesthesiologist and all the nurses. The government kindly paid for $3300 of my operation, bless their hearts.

My appointment ended in a drastic way. My surgeon rehired my elastics–gave them their old job back like there was nothing to it. And now I cannot even drink through a straw again. *sigh* My reawakening was over just as quickly as it had begun. On the bright side, he told me I was healing “better than expected” and was quite surprised I had not bruised much. I’ve also finished all my meds and at my appointment next week, they’re going to teach me to take my elastics on and off by myself so I can begin removing them to eat. According to my surgeon:

“You’ll finally feel like a man again, Graham.”

Here are my new timelines:

  • Strictly liquid diet for 7 more weeks
  • Splint for 7 more weeks
  • Heatpacks for 1 more week
  • Swelling should be gone in 1 more week
  • Numbness should resolve from my eyes down to my upper lip over the next month
  • Numbness from my lower lip down to my chin may stick around for 3-6 months

That sums up my first appointment! I can’t wait to be able to remove the elastics myself after my next one! When I arrived back home, at 1:00 this afternoon, I was in a lot of pain because the joints that bring the top and bottom jaw together were really sore from opening and closing my mouth at the appointment. It felt like I had growing pains all over again. I took some codeine, grabbed a hotpack, laid down for a “nap” and woke up 7 hours later, hence the untimeliness of today’s update. The worst part of that 7-hour nap is that all I’ve eaten today so far is half of a smoothie. Time for some cream of mushroom soup, methinks. Mmm, mmm, good.

19 Comments

  1. Last year I was going to have a double jaw surgery and a week before the surgery the doctor told me that my orthodontist had done such an amazing job that I was going to need only a lower jaw surgery. I had the surgery in July 2015. Result? The whole jaw turned out crooked to one side and my chin wasnt centered either. Not even my teeth line was centered right. The doctor never admitted the problem and instead sugested a genioplasty + plastic surgery to fix the simmetry.
    I asked my orthodontist to recomend me another surgeon (the first one was recommended by my dentist) and 6 days ago I had a double jaw surgery. I just couldn’t believe I was going through this whole thing again… I haven’t read anything about phlem and bloody phlem. Anyone else got it? I’ve been spitting phlem since the surgery… still am.
    I’m so glad that this time the rubber bands are not very tight like it was the first time though.
    I just wish no one else goes through what I did. This kind of surgery is not easy to go through and it takes so much time to recover. Imagine doing it twice…

    • Hi Marisa, it sounds like correcting your bite has certainly been a trial. Props to you for being committed to solving the problem, even at the expense and inconvenience of a second surgery. I hope things work out this time around.

      Regarding phlegm, I dealt with this for about the first 2 weeks, so I believe it is a normal thing. The blood in your phlegm is likely coming from the cuts in your mouth that have been stitched up, so it should be nothing to be concerned about and should go away within the next week.

      Stay positive and let us know if you have any other questions. (Although, you are probably more of a veteran at this game than we are!)

    • Yes I had the blooding phlegm for like two days after the surgery I’m day 8 post op now

    • I’m on day three right now and the phlegm is the worst. Feel like I’m choking all the time and my nose is so stuffed up I can’t breathe. I’m also afraid to drink ensures or smoothies that night make the phlegm worse. Feeling pretty miserable in general but it has to get better!

  2. Sorry for all the typos. I’m on my tablet and its terrible to type on.

  3. Thank you for this entire day by day blog breakdown. It’s been the most helpful blog I could find on the inernet. My name is Alicia and I libe i Daytona Beach, FL. I read all your posts over the year as I prepared for mine. D-Day for me was last Tuesday 1/26/16, so I’m on day 8. Its been tough to say the least. I had double jaw surgery & they fixed my deviated septum along with a genioplasty (chin advancement). Now I’m a little older (34) so I knew healing would take some time. The surgery went well but my reaction to the medications I was on was all but pleasant. Of all the blogs out there (that I read anyway), not many people had my issues. I had a terrible reaction to almost every med they gave ,me, which was then followed by a nausea med, which didnt help that much. My worst fear happened and I threw up quite a bit but good news, I got over the fear quickly & you have to remember, your on nothing but liquid. So what goes in, comes out. I thought all was good when I got home but nope. I can’t take codiene so I was told to take Children’s Motrin but the mass amounts of Motrin needed just to relieve a little pain, killed my stomach. I am dealing with abdominal pain and possible stomach bleeding (anytime I have that abdominal pain, I cough up blood =(…sucks) . I am only mentioning this because I didn’t see any other bloggers go through this as severe as me. Now, I do have a bit of a sensitive stomach, always have (motion sickness, foods sensitivities, nothing spicy and just other issues). So its b een really hard to try & get nutrients when your stomach is in such pain. I’m banded shut, so full liquid diet. Everything is nauseating to me. I’m eating to survive now. If someone is reading this & has sensitive innerds like me, talk to your doctor(s) and let them know how much you actually have problems with your stomach so maybe you can come up with a game plan. I didn’t have a plan foe this and now were kind of playing it day by day to see what happens. As soon as I’m unbanded, I will now have to go see a gastroenterologist for tests to see if the meds did permanent damage. Just wanted to make others aware. It’s crazy on the individual days, Im experiencing the exact same things with my face, tingling, movement, swelling, etc. Thank you again for the awesome detailed blog.

    • Hey Alicia, something that may work better for you instead of taking like a whole bottle of children’s motrin (been there, it sucks) you can try liquid Tylenol for adults. They usually sell it over the counter and I feel it works better than the motrin. I hope your stomach gets feeling better soon. I drank chicken and beef broth my first few weeks. Any other soups I blended the mess out of then strained. Like you I was on full liquid. I just got my splint removed yesterday and am now slowly working the muscles. I can not open my mouth wide enough to eat anything yet. So I’m still on liquids, it’s hard but soooo worth it.

  4. Good Lord Graham,

    T minus 8 weeks and counting until my surgery! Although I’m glad I stumbled across your blog. At the same time I am now petrified and scared beyond! I’m currently on year one of braces and have an underbite that is being corrected for purely cosmetic reasons. However I’m having the double jaw surgery to also correct moderate sleep apnea.

    How long was your hospital stay? I think my surgeon mentioned I would be in hospital for three days post surgery before being discharged?

    • Hi Angelo, I spent 3 days in the hospital before going home. Most of the first day was spent in bed being tended to by nurses. By the second day, I was walking around the hospital. And by the third day, I was very bored and was absolutely ready to return home. As far as I’ve heard, a 3-day hospital stay is quite standard for this surgery. 😊

  5. To brush sounds amazing!!!! I can’t wait. I could only hope that they will unwire mine so I can. If they don’t, I may just cry. By the way, thanks for blogging about your recovery. It helps to see others recover from this, helps to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. I’m on day 3 of recovery and I keep thinking to day 8 (Tuesday, when I have my follow up appt). It feels like a sewer in my mouth already, it’s actually turning me off from eating really. I can’t wait for this date, even for a 30 minute love affair with my choppers.

    • Derek, apologies for the late reply! How did your follow-up appointment go? Was there a moment of respite with regard to the awful sewer-and-smoked-fish smell in your mouth? (I remember that part far too well… 😮)

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