Day 26: Rubber Chickens and Shaving

  • Pain: 4/10
  • Inconvenience: 5/10

Best friends since 2006.

Say hello to my rubber chicken. His name is Jonathan and I found him while snowboarding 4 years ago. I could have traded him in for some lame prize pack that Burton was giving out as a reward for finding these little treasures, but I chose to keep the chicken. This has nothing at all to do with jaw surgery. I just thought it was time Jonathan had his moment in the spotlight. (This entire paragraph has been brought to you by the fact that I am bored on a Saturday afternoon.)

As far as my jaw goes, my pain shot up a lot today. I must have slept on the wrong part of my face, because my bottom teeth are absolutely killing me today. They were clearly grinding into my splint all night long. I’ve since grabbed my jaw and pushed it back into place, along with changing my elastics, so now they feel decent again. This is why my surgeon keeps reminding me to sleep on my back. Unfortunately, I’m more of a fetal position kind of sleeper.

I went for a walk with a friend last night and realized just how difficult it is to be entertaining. Talking still takes a lot of effort, depending on how tight my elastics are, and after a while, my jaw starts throbbing from all the movement. I’m also unable to:

  • Go for coffee (too hot, burns my delicate mouth)
  • Go for milkshakes (too cold, hurts the delicate mouth mentioned above)
  • Go for ice cream (my tongue is confined to the inside of my mouth, so I can’t lick an ice cream cone; cannot use a spoon either)
  • Go for food of any kind (have I mentioned that I can’t eat?)
  • Stay out for extended periods of time (I need to be eating every few hours or I’ll end up becoming light-headed)

We also went to the pound because this friend of mine wants to adopt a puppy. That place is nicer than my own house! My new life plan is to become a dog and then proceed to lose my owners so I can end up in that luxurious animal resort we’re calling “the pound” these days.

Today marked another 2 weeks since I last shaved, so I thought it was time to perform that laborious procedure on my face again. It only took me 15 minutes this time! That’s a performance increase of 200%! At this rate, I should be able to finish all the shaving I need to do for the rest of my life within the next couple weeks, unless my efficiency curve hits a ceiling. But I don’t believe that actually happens.

I’m looking forward to being able to just eat and just brush again. It takes a surprising amount of effort to take care of yourself when you can’t eat or drink properly. It’s going to be such a blessing to be able to brush my teeth without having to fret about ripping stitches out, cutting my gums, opening my mouth too wide, and drooling. It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if I could use an adult-sized toothbrush again. Just sayin’.

I found some time over the past few nights and decided to make myself a website. It’s just a single page type of portfolio, and it’s extremely simple, but at least I exist online now. Feel free to check it out — www.grahamswan.com.

21 Comments

  1. Day 26 for me today—my double jaw surgery was on April 24th. Thanks so much for taking the time to make such a useful reference, Graham! I can’t wait to order a pizza and bite all the way through the slice!

  2. Day 26 here. I am still loving your blog, thanks again. Things have been great. The diet doesn’t bother me.I was kind of counting on it to lose a few extra pounds so it is not forced at all. In fact I still have to limit my Ensure’s and smoothies :)It is all too easy to suck down calories and when you are a 34 year old female it doesn’t burn off the same. A big group of my friends when to Moab, Utah this weekend to go canyoneering and rock climbing. I am so insanely bummed to miss it but I will heal soon enough and will have the whole summer to play. I can’t wait! I think the hardest part for me at this point is dealing with the numbness. My lips and chin, my nose, right cheek, roof of my mouth and upper gums are still so numb! I did get a whole lot of feeling back in my nose yesterday which is nice. I would just like to talk again without looking like I just had botox (as someone mentioned it looked like). This is a huge test of patience! Thanks again for sharing your experiences. And also your website. You are amazingly talented and it looks like you live a full life. You are an inspiration!

    • Holly, thanks so much for your kind words, my friend! I can totally relate to your desire to simply speak clearly and be free of swelling once again. You will be back to the regular swing of things (but with a whole new smile, yay!) soon, I assure you. You’re already well past the 1/4 mark, so stay strong, make sure you get lots of fresh air, and let me know when you get to enjoy your first simple meal again. =)

  3. Hi! Don’t know if you still check this, but I just wanted to say thank you! I read this almost every day. I had double jaw surgery 6 days ago and this has become my “go to” for all the questions I have:)

    • Jessica, always happy to hear when someone enjoys my rants. Take care and try to keep yourself occupied for these first few weeks! =)

  4. Graham!! You are a lifesaver. Did you ever think when you started this blog that you would touch thousands of peoples lives? I am on Day 26 and I feel great, but I’m ready to be “normal” and I know I have a long way to go. I do pinup modeling as a hobby, and my smile is awful, parts of my face are still numb and I hate to look in the mirror. You have been my inspiration through all of this. After reading you blog and your comments, I feel like I know you! I started my own blog as a cathartic outlet. I’m tired of everyone feeling “sorry” for me and offering me milkshakes, which I dont even like! Having your blog to refer back to has kept my spirits up. THANK YOU!

    • Meredith, it always makes me smile to know my words connected with someone years later. I’m excited that you’re already nearly a month into recovery because you’ll start seeing significant changes in the coming weeks. Stay strong (and it sounds like you are!) and enjoy your new smile soon!

  5. Alexia Fontaine

    July 17, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Hello Graham, I am 16 and I just recently underwent double jaw surgery. I find it odd that you were unable to drink from a cup or use a spoon still at this point. I found myself able to drink from a cup and eat from a spoon at day 5 of recovery and pretty much just ditched the syringe from there on out. It’s probably odd, but I’m LOVING the recovery process. No joke! The liquid diet doesn’t bother me and I can’t wait to finally eat like a normal person. It was utterly IMPOSSIBLE for me to corn on the cob or take a bite straight into an apple. Oh sweet ‘jawful’ victory is on it’s way. Thanks for making this blog, too! Great to see a REAL tangible person go through the experience. Doctors are all talk, and you brought some pizazz into it. Hope you’re enjoying great foods again, but don’t get pudgy!

    • Alexia, I appreciate people like you. Sure, the recovery period has its frustrations, but you’re embracing them with the understanding that they will soon be in the past, along with the excitement that you’ll be able to eat an apple the right way soon. Stay positive and keep recovering more quickly than I did! =)

  6. Hot, intelligent and funny… How do you have time to be answering us so long after your journey!? I am grateful you do.. Thank you for taking the time to write this blog and to continue to reassure people 🙂

  7. Hi Graham, your blog is my Bible. Your posts are helping me so much. At the moment im sitting in the waiting room in the hospital waiting to see my surgeon for my second post opp appointment. Today is day 24. I am recovering well. Eating soft foods for over a week now. Have no pain just kind of pins and needles sensation when I touch the swollen areas.
    I just wanted to thank you, reading ur post and all the comments makes me feel like im not the only one out there with this problem and the fact that u mentioned being able to eat your way through a sandwich properly made me laugh because I use that line when all the time. I can wait to eat a sandwich with out eating all the filling in one go… or a slice of pizza with out eating all the topping.
    Heres to being able to eat properly again. 🙂
    Thanks again.

    • Sarah, thank you so much for your kind words. If ever I’m in Ireland, we’ll have to grab a pizza and marvel at how exciting it is to bite all the way through each slice! (It’s the simple things, right?)

  8. Life after recovery is grand! Not only will you be able to eat as before, but you’ll also be smiling with confidence and enjoying biting all the way through a sandwich! =)

  9. Glad to hear it!(: Hows life after recovery?(: Can you eat everything?

  10. I know you probably never use this site haha but I literally just wanna thank you for literally spending time to write out each day! This has literally been my bible and im currently on day 26(: It has truly been a help to read how other people have gone through the same stuff haha my friends barely understand what its like, but im just glad that im surviving(:
    Your outcome seems totally worth it!

  11. Haha, I'm totally going to get a haircut and teeth cleaning when I'm all done too! I wish my braces were coming off on that same day–that would almost be *too* much!

  12. The only way to remove Peridex stains is to get a dental cleaning. Luckily, I've got one scheduled on Monday after I see the surgeon to get chewing clearance!

    Once I get my teeth cleaned and my hair cut, I'm gonna take a great new Facebook picture! Right now I've got an image of Lisa Simpson with those scary braces on.

  13. I'd stick to the blog for the next 64 days, after which point I will be all healed up and will try to never think of this experience again. 🙂

    The picture you posted of your smile looks great! How do you get rid of those stains from the rinse?

  14. I like your website and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Or maybe I’ll just keep reading your blog. Whichever. 😀

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