- Pain: 3/10
- Inconvenience: 7/10
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.