Day 14: Kermit the Frog

  • Pain: 3/10
  • Inconvenience: 6/10

I’m hoping my lips will one day be proportional to the rest of my face again.

I went back to work today. It was exhausting. Allow me to describe my job to you:

  • I sit in a really comfortable chair all day
  • I attempt to break servers located all over the globe (we call it “Quality Engineering”–the idea is, if we break it before the customer has a chance to, we can remedy those weaknesses and ship a more robust product)

I haven’t had to focus for more than a few hours here and there for the past couple weeks, so today completely defeated me. I had a headache for the better part of the day and my jaw kept trying to break out of my face. I blame my headache on these junky old CRT monitors we still have in the office. Why we don’t have LCDs is beyond me–I’m almost at the point where I’m willing to buy one myself just so I don’t have to stare at a device that still derives meaning from the term “refresh rate”.

I sent a building-wide email when I arrived this morning about how I was unable to speak, just so people wouldn’t think I was being rude. I guess I accidentally included my boss’s bosses from the company’s headquarters down on the east coast of the United States as well, because I received a few “Get Well Soon” emails from people I’ve never met or spoken to. I should really learn mailing lists before I use them. It reminds me of the time when I sent a random email to all 4000+ engineering students at my university a few years back when I was trying to set a mail server up. And they say I’m not professional… My email seems to have worked though, because most of my colleagues just gave me approving nods when they bumped into me. Success.

I ate alone today, upstairs in the relaxation room that nobody uses. I sat down on a comfortable leather couch and proceeded to drink 2 Ensure chocolate drinks and a glass of water. I didn’t want to subject my coworkers to all my slurping noises. I think I’ll be eating up there for awhile, or at least until I feel dignified enough to join the others. I was starving throughout the entire day, though, so I’m going to have to start bringing blended Chunky soups and heating them up.

You sound like Kermit the Frog.

I moved back home yesterday and I must say: I quite enjoy the independence. I think my roommate is finding it a little awkward to have me back without the luxury of simple communication, though. He told me I sound like Kermit the Frog when I speak. I’m not sure if that’s an improvement from Donald Duck or not.

I have big news, though, circa last night when I finally decided to boycott the syringe lifestyle! I can drink from a cup now! It’s slow and requires unwavering concentration, but it works! I haven’t used a syringe in 24 hours now! Granted, it’s still incredibly difficult. I have an exercise for you, just so you can spend a moment in my shoes:

  • Go fill a cup with your favorite drink
  • Stick a ball of rolled up paper towel in the roof of your mouth to simulate my friendly splint
  • Bite together as hard as you possibly can
  • Now attempt to drink whatever is in your cup without parting your teeth, without using your tongue, and without the ability to suck the liquid into the back of your mouth

It’s hard, isn’t it? If it still seems easy, you’re doing it wrong.

I’ve been getting a lot of tingly sensations and sharp little pains shooting through my lower jaw and down through my chin. I guess that means certain sections of the nerves are regaining consciousness.

I was also feeling a little cold last night, so I lit a few candles to warm my room up. I forgot, however, that I couldn’t blow them out because my mouth is forced shut. I quickly learned that if you position a candle properly, you can exhaust it with air from your nose. Noted.

Lastly, let’s chat about my sleep last night. I was dead to the world from 1-6 am–that’s 5 hours straight! A new record! However, I had that silly dream where you show up at work naked and you’ve forgotten all your keys at home so you can’t find your clothes. I guess I must have been nervous to come back. No worries though, I definitely remembered to wear pants once I was actually awake.

20 Comments

  1. I can’t believe you ate a Big Mac at the two-week mark, Alexandra! It sounds like you’re recovering at a superhuman rate. Lucky!

  2. Hi 🙂 It’s been 2 weeks today since I had my jaw surgery. Pretty traumatic for the first few days.. But I’m already back to normal and managed to eat a Big Mac yesterday thank the lord!!!

    Thouroughly enjoying reading your blog and it makes me feel a little better than I’m eating normal foods while you were still drinking soup hehehe 🙂

    My swellings gone down SO much.. I just have rediculously chubby cheeks, everytime I see a friend for the first time they’re like OMG YOU LOOK SO CUTE blah blah. Haha hope you’re well 🙂

    x

  3. Yeah, it was weird! I didn’t even realize it was gone until I could smell again. 🙂

  4. I totally forgot about losing my sense of smell! That must have been an exciting moment for you. =)

  5. Geez, it’s amazing how weak I feel just doing simple chores around the house, and it’s been a week since surgery. Today, I’m having coughing fits, my throat is still sore from the tube. But I’ll hopefully get my wires removed tomorrow. 🙂 Graham, I’m glad your surgery experience is over. It sounds like it was an absolute nightmare. I am luckily able to drink through a straw even wired, with a cup once the drink cools down. Yesterday I regained my sense of smell; woot woot!

  6. Not a problem, my friend! You’re not the first to mention that my recovery seems to be uncomfortably slow.

    I guess it gave me a lot to write about!

  7. I agree! It was a nice surprise! I hope my comment didn’t come off
    As rude! Ur blog was very helpful! And entertaining! A lot of things
    Prepared me for the surgery and the recovery process!

  8. Cassie, I guess this blog serves as a worst-case scenario! That may not be a bad thing. Expecting the worst and then recovering a lot more quickly sounds like a pretty sweet surprise to me. =)

    Glad to hear you’re doing well and eating real food already!

  9. It’s so crazy that this is your 2 weeks! I had all 4 wisdom teeth removed, genioplasty on my chin, bottom jaw moved forward and top moved down to hide gum and widened. I have been able to drink from a cup since day 3 ( when my swallowing returned). I used a syringe to administer meds for a week and then I ditched it and just started taking them. I also have a splint in the top of my mouth ( effing hate it) but have been able to fit small baby spoons in my mouth and have been eating pudding, jello and mashed potatoes since day 3. I had elastic bands which were removed day 13 and they gave me ones i can remove on my own. So far i’ve been eating pasta, little bits of chicken cut up, and bread. I even managed to eat one cup of a reeses peanut butter cup! I thought after reading your blog I would not be anywhere near all of this. I guess people really do heal differently! Although the feeling is still gone in my chin and lips and parts of my nose (it gets itchy and its impossible to scratch it and get rid of the itch)

  10. Mike, you’re an impressive negotiator. Perhaps you should be in sales!

    I vote you hike to the top of a nearby mountain and throw it as far as you possibly can into the forested abyss. I’m sure it’s biodegradable, hehe.

  11. The splint is out and in my possession! I don’t have a pick-up truck at my disposal, but I do have a rather large fork lift down in the warehouse…

  12. They took the splint off today, and I told them under no circumstances would I leave unless they let me keep it. They finally gave in when they realized that I wasn’t joking. I could throw it off a bridge into a flooded river now, or I could hold onto it until New Years and then blow it to millions of small little pieces with the celebratory fireworks. Decisions decisions…

  13. Mike, I asked my surgeon the same thing. I wanted the splint afterwards so I could go throw it off one of the bridges in Edmonton. He said they like to keep them around so they have an impression of your mouth should you ever need any future work performed, though.

    I encourage you to be more persuasive than I was. I also encourage you to take a photo of yourself throwing your splint off a bridge, or perhaps driving over it with a pickup truck. Make sure it’s been removed from your mouth before doing these things. 😛

  14. Today is my 14th day after surgery, and also my last free day until I return to work. It sounds like you and I work in the same field Graham, so it’s nice to have a heads up on what to expect. I’m just keeping my mind focused on the fact that I’ll only have this splint on for another 12 days. 12 days… 12 days… 12 days…. Do you think they’ll let me keep it afterwards so that I can give it a proper send off? You know, since I’ll miss having it of course. :p

  15. That’s unfortunate that your shift was extended… no fair! You went back to work even sooner than I did. You’re a machine!

  16. I’m a nurse and went back to work last night. An 8 turned into a 12 by the end I was MISERABLE!!! But I’m hard headed as well. Today is day 14. I’m still in bed with no plans to get out. Today I even feel too tired to eat.

  17. Yeah, I’ve stocked my desk chalk full of Ensures. I just throw them in the fridge as I need them. I’m going to start taking bottles of blended Chunky soup that I can just heat up at will.

    I had to take A LOT of breaks today. I was constantly standing up to walk around and just stare out the window for a few minutes.

    My doctor told me no work for a month, but me, being my stubborn self, went back after 2 weeks. I’m going to be prepared to take half days off here and there though, now that I’ve been gracefully warned by you. 🙂

  18. Indeed I do. This is my 2nd set of braces after having an earlier set that were removed at age 14. Been 3 years due to a number of annoying complications, so the thought of only 6 more months after this is a dream.

    Take it easy, because the risk of a serious rebound is great. I don’t know what advice your doctors gave, but they explicitly said that 3rd week was supposed to be part-time only, and were willing to write a note to my employers to that effect.

    When you get more comfortable with drinking sans syringe you should just keep a lot of liquids with you at your workstation. I have several ensures, some small soy milk containers, and some larger soy milk boxes that I have ready to be refrigerated for Carnation Instant Breakfast if I really need something. Then for the first few days I had a container of apple juice I kept drinking from constantly.

    I had daily crashes where I just had to put my head down on my desk for a few minutes, even drinking pretty regularly.

    Take care of yourself.

  19. Hey man,

    You’re lucky. Your bite plate sounds the same as my splint, just different names. My splint is attached to my braces on my top teeth and sits on the inside of them. It must be so nice to be able to talk and eat a little bit again. Also this: BREATHE!

    I had a headache all day today. It was brutal! I’m thinking if I go into work early enough and skip lunch (just drink something at my desk), I can leave early each day for the next few weeks.

    I have my appointment tomorrow where they let me start taking my elastics off (hopefully).

    You have your braces on, right?

  20. Bite plate removed today, so for the first time in 4 weeks I can speak so that virtually anyone can understand me. I don’t know if it’s the same as your splint, but mine was only between my teeth, which made it impossible for food or speech to go through my upper/lower teeth. Now, apart from an absolute killer toothache from the new band locations, I’m getting back to normal.

    I was also amazed at how exhausting simple concentration was when I first went back to work. Even though I wasn’t doing anything physical, just having to work on something was enough to wear me out. So for the first week at work I drank constantly trying to hold off the weakness. Sometimes, even that didn’t work. Beware of rebound days. Mine was Wednesday; I left after 5 hours.

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