- Pain: 0/10
- Inconvenience: 2/10
I went to a local baseball game last night. It consisted of 9 long innings, each with a top and a bottom, consisting of repetitive pitching, hitting, catching and running. I was satisfied after 2 of them. This pattern continued for approximately 3 hours, at which point the teams commenced the shaking of each other’s hands and I commenced my return home, vowing to never again be romanced into watching a game of baseball. However, claiming to live under the mantra, “The glass is half full”, I feel compelled to identify the positive parts of this exhausting evening of entertainment. My top three picks are:
- Our home team won!
- We had the privilege of watching not 1, not 2, but 3 over-the-fence homeruns.
- I successfully ate my first plate of nachos, more specifically of the supreme persuasion, though I considered not purchasing them when I noticed the word “supreme” spelled incorrectly on the giant menu.
I also poured my energy into eating a hamburger recently, but alas it was too thick for my 86-day old jaw. I wonder if there are any restaurants out there who serve burgers that would be thin enough for me to comfortably eat. They all look so monstrous and juicy on the menus. Oh wait, I just found my solution: McDonald’s.
I’ve decided upon an agenda I’ll be adhering to for my last few entries. Today, I’ll lay out my recovery timeline in a hope that it might prove useful to those of you who are on the road to undergo double jaw surgery. The next post will contain a complete chain of all of the mugshots I’ve taken. While the past few weeks don’t differ all too noticeably, the first month shows daily changes. My last writing will be a complete wrap-up, including a section on what I’ve learned from the experience.
That being said, my personal timeline follows. Keep in mind that every person recovers at a different pace, and also that every surgeon has their own agenda during this entire process. This is simply the sequence of important events that took place during my own recovery.
Day 0 (Surgery)
- You’ll be eating/drinking through a syringe
- You’ll be unable to sleep very much
- You may be freezing all night long due to the ice packs wrapped around your face
- You’ll feel extremely weak
- You won’t be able to talk
- You will drool constantly (but you’ll have the suction tube in the hospital to take care of that)
- Lots of blood will be churning up inside your nose, mouth and throat
- Your jaw will randomly spasm (and it will be painful)
- Swelling will begin
- Swelling will peak
- Your bowels will start working again around this time
- Feeling will begin to return to parts of your face
- Swelling will start to decrease
Day 7 (1 week)
- You’ll be able to move your mouth a bit easier, so your talking will become more understandable
- At your 1-week appointment, you’ll be able to brush your teeth, both inside and out (and it will feel amazing)
- Drooling won’t be as rampant any longer
- You’ll regain slight control over your lips
Day 14 (2 weeks)
- Most of the swelling will be gone
- You’ll be able to start drinking from a cup (although it may be messy at first)
- You can probably remove a few of the elastics clamping your teeth together, so talking will become infinitely more simple
- Sleeping through the night should no longer be a problem
- Your elastics will start snapping daily, due to your rapid increase in speaking
- Your breath will become bearable again, due to the fact that you’ve been eating different foods and brushing more often
Day 21 (3 weeks)
- Your energy will start to come back. Take advantage of it! Go for walks and take your bike out for a spin.
- You’ll be receiving substantial feeling back in your upper lip and cheeks. Your nose, lower lip and chin, however, will remain completely numb.
Day 28 (4 weeks)
- Talking will hardly be an issue any longer. If you have a splint/bite plate in, you’ll sound ridiculous, but people will be able to understand you.
- Your desire to be social and spend time with people will return in full force. Make sure you take advantage of it, and remember that your friends are not judging you.
- Feeling will begin to return to your lower lip and chin. That feeling will come in the form of pins and needles, but you’ll appreciate it regardless. If no feeling has returned to these parts yet, don’t worry. Surgeons say that it make take up to 90 days for feeling to begin coming back.
Day 31 (1 month)
- If your elastics are off, you’ll be able to speak quite well by now
- You won’t drool or spill any longer while eating
- You’ll have most of your normal energy back by now
- You’ll begin to feel like you’re ready to take life on again. Be warned though: you’re not quite there yet. Give it another month before you go crazy.
- More patches of feeling will return to your chin and lower lip
- You should no longer have to wear elastics during the day
Day 42 (6 weeks)
- You should be able to drink through a straw quite easily by now
- Most of your stitches should have dissolved by now
Day 49 (7 weeks)
- If you had a splint in, it should definitely be removed by now
- Be prepared to readjust back into the world of orthodontics
Day 56 (8 weeks)
- You should be able to eat with a small spoon or fork again
- Licking your lips should be no problem at this point
- You’ll most likely be allowed to blow your nose again. Be gentle, though, because you don’t want to pop a blood vessel.
Day 70 (10 weeks)
- If you haven’t been able to eat solid food yet, start now. Even if the task of eating involves mashing soft food up against the roof of your mouth, do it anyway. You’ll never gain your strength back on liquid alone.
Day 84 (12 weeks)
- You should enjoy the freedom of eating just about anything you want by now
- Consider practising whistling in order to break up the scar tissue that’s sure to be keeping your upper lip from enjoying its full range of motion
Day 90 (3 months)
- Your three months have finally come to an end! Enjoy eating, breathing and smiling to their full effect.
- Changes will be fairly slow from this point forward. The results you find yourself with at the 6-month mark will most likely be the results you’ll live with for the rest of your life.
November 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm
Hi graham thanks for your post. I just had double jaw opertion this is my fifth day. My one week apotitment is this Tuesday I’m looking forward to it. Your posts helped a lot thx.
June 21, 2010 at 10:29 am
Nuno, congrats. I know how frustrating the waiting period is. I waited several years for my teeth to be in the right place and my jaw to stop growing.
I’m glad it’s all coming together for you!
June 21, 2010 at 9:37 am
Graham, last friday was my 9th ortho adjustment and my orthodontist told me that I just need a few more 2 or 3 months to be ready for jaw surgery.
It’s a good news!
June 20, 2010 at 2:48 am
Ryan, I’ve quickly learned that sunshine, beers and concession food are the best parts of the game. =)
June 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm
I’ll take visionary, but it’s most likely due to my 13 years working in health care. You have a mathematical brain Graham, I have a scientific one 🙂
June 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm
Hence why I will only watch baseball if it includes Major Leaguers, or if it is in Japan where the crowd is rowdy.
If I go to watch the Calgary Vipers, for example, I will only go with friends to sit out in the sun, down a few beers, and heckle the players. Not there to watch the game really, haha.
June 19, 2010 at 6:44 am
Head transplant! OMG, why didn’t I think of that either????
Thanks for the trophy, Graham! hehehe
June 19, 2010 at 2:44 am
I’d say a head transplant isn’t such a bad idea. I never even thought of it.
It takes a visionary to come up with a solution like that. 🙂
June 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm
Yeah, I’m fully expecting to be a wreck, but I’m fairly good at dealing with pain. I’ve had a chronic back issue since I was 14, and I’m in some level of pain every day of my life; however, that hasn’t stopped me from white water rafting, quad riding, snow mobliling, etc. I figure, I’m in pain whether I’m on the couch or out having fun, so why not. Anyhow, TMI for sure, but my point is, I think I should handle the pain part well.
Yes, both jaws. Top forward and rotated, bottom back and rotated. Possible septoplasty, possible genioplasty, not sure until they get closer to surgery I suppose. I told my surgeon it might be easier to just do a head transplant. Just soooo irritated that I didn’t have it done as a teen post 10 grand worth of orthdontics because my mom didn’t have insurance, then when I had it, I was so used to living with it, I didn’t see the point. Now my TMJ is so bad I can’t take it and my jaws are shifting back. SO (sigh) after years of putting up with a jacked up mug, I HAVE to do this after all. Oh well, on the up side, I’m sure surgery is much more advanced today as opposed to 15 years ago, so I should have a good outcome. Especially if I can talk my surgeon into that head transplant instead ;-P
June 18, 2010 at 1:49 am
Haha, hey Nikki, no worries! I assure you it will be complete hell for a few weeks, but I’m not even at the 3-month mark, and already I feel so good.
Looking back, it really went by quickly once I was passed the first 2 weeks. 😉 I trust you’ll be the same way!
Are you have both jaws operated on?
June 17, 2010 at 2:47 pm
Hi Graham. You are at the tail end of your exhausting endeavor and I doubt you’re looking for more blog comments to keep up with now that you finally have your life back. I just wanted to tell you that your stories have given me strength, made me a better pre-op patient, and caused me to laugh out loud hysterically all in one day! I’m 33 and just getting my process started for orthognathic surgery after 15 years of procastination. I am more at ease now, knowing more what to expect. Fear of the unknown has been eating at me. I just wanted to thank you for the time you invested into this blog, and for helping me unclench a bit.
Anxiously awaiting getting the #@$% kicked out of my face…
June 17, 2010 at 10:17 am
Alright Aimee, you can have the “worst patient ever” trophy. 😛
Nuno, any ideas when you’re going in for surgery.
June 17, 2010 at 6:14 am
Great post, Graham! I must say though that your worst case scenario might be second worst…I have been much slower than your timeline and wasn’t allowed many of the things you were (i.e. riding bike, etc. – in fact, STILL can’t). Can I be worst case? hehehehe
June 17, 2010 at 5:23 am
My name’s Nuno from Portugal and I’m in braces 9 months ago waiting to a jaw surgery to fix my underbite.
I discovered your awesome blog through Hell’s Teeth I also follow.
I like your funny posts!
Have a smooth recovery!
June 16, 2010 at 10:45 pm
That’s AWESOME, Tash! I expect you to be all smiles from here on in. No excuses.
June 16, 2010 at 7:48 pm
Congrats on the nachos!
Selfish note: I took a picture of myself today for my Facebook profile. For the first time ever, I actually like the way I look facing front in pictures. Thanks, orthognathic surgery!
June 16, 2010 at 2:17 pm
I think my recovery was pretty slow compared to most, so I’m going to brand it as a worst case scenario. 🙂
June 16, 2010 at 11:07 am
This is such a great post. of course I know that every patient is different etc. etc. but it’s still really helpful to see your outline for it all, giving a hint to what we’re going to be expecting too.
I tip my bonnet to you sir!