Less swelling, less stuffiness, less pain. I stopped icing and moved to heat pads for the day. I was less sleepy today after meds, and I didn’t need a mid-day 4 hour drug coma! Eating water ice today was a success! I just had to let it all melt so that I could basically drink it. Maybe ice cream later.
Tomorrow I’m going to try to work from home. I’m getting a little restless not having anything to do all day other than drinking food that Adrianna makes me food and playing video games, and I feel like I’ve got some mental focus back now so I’m really looking forward to some activity.
While the pain and swelling are controlled with meds and heat and ice paks, I still have my jaw wired shut via bands. I still get some dizziness if I move my head too fast, or if I lean over a little too much. There’s some discomfort if I try to talk or smile too much. I still have to sleep upright otherwise stuff will come out of my nose. I’m still on a mostly liquid diet and that’s not going to change any time soon, since my jaw bones still have to recover.
But I feel almost “normal” now, aside from a few side effects of the drugs. And the part about not being able to use my mouth for anything . And having a poofy face. But, a world of difference from day 0.
Here’s a combined progress photo of right after braces (1 year ago), right before surgery (5 days ago), and today.
I woke up with less pain than the morning before. And gallons of drool that flowed down my entire body. I recommend sleeping in shirts that you wouldn’t mind becoming wash rags.
Still swelling. Poof. This is the last day of icing, moving to warm packs.
Around mid-day I started feeling some things I haven’t felt in a couple days. The roof of my mouth is gaining more feeling and my lips feel like I got out of light numbing from the dentist. My cheeks and upper lip seem to be coming back as well, so maybe tomorrow can be shave day.
I’m going to try and have some warm soup today. My appetite is coming back. I’ll probably have to venture into foods other than Ensure if I want to not go crazy the next couple weeks.
Just woke up from a oxycodone/sudafed coma. The drowsiness of that combination will put me to sleep no matter what I’m currently doing. Fortunately I woke up in time to 1) take the 2nd round of meds, thank goodness because I was extremely stuffy and 2) watch the PSU game.
I have an oral rinse that I’ve been taking since surgery. On day 1, rinsing was very difficult. Not being able to feel the roof of your mouth makes it hard to swish, and makes you feel like you’re not actually rinsing (but you are). Rinsing on day 4 feels weird, but now I think I can feel the rinse splashing against the top which makes it easier. There’s still no spitting since my jaw is wired shut, so you let it fall out of your mouth and rinse again with a water afterwards.
The soup earlier today was awesome. Something hot instead of cold for the last 3 days. I was brave enough to try thicker soup for dinner and it was super delicious. I can’t believe how good warm semi-regular food tastes after having just water/juice/ensure/boost for a few days. It’s the little things that make me happy during this recovery. Tomorrow I’m going to try for melted ice cream or water ice!
Woke up extremely stuffy. sort of like that feeling you get when you wake up sick. but, I’m not sick, my sinuses are just extremely congested.
No nosebleeding or leakage during the night which is great, I slept mostly upright. After taking some children’s sudafed (I’m getting the good stuff today) I uncongested pretty easily, and drank some more oxycodone. Time to ice.
Took a shower today too. Felt awesome after being all sweaty in the hospital bed, and half peeing on myself from trying to pee while not getting out of bed. I feel slightly more alive now.
Ow ow owww it hurts. 6 hours without glorious liquid oxycodone hurts. My families came to visit, and with all the activity I’m sure I stressed my jaw a bit too much.
Took some more sudafed and hydrocodone. I do not recommend operating any type of machinery. Sometimes it’s hard to keep my eyes from crossing.
I tried to get some sleep but I had to wake up again for vitals at 4am. After that I slept until 6, went back to sleep and probably woke up around 8. By that time the hospital was getting busy and I just kind of drifted in and out. I think I slept on and off enough during the day before that I wasn’t completely de-energized.
Surgical staff came in and poked around, did some feel tests. I had the majority of feeling back in my face (except the jaw). Doctor said it was due to my good “capillary reflow” which I think is basically the reflow of blood to the jaw after they reattached it.
Breakfast consisted of the same liquid diet as the day before. Apple juice, tea, broth, and some water ice/sorbet which was even more difficult to eat today as Doc put a couple more bands on, which makes this the most inconvient day so far. But damnit, I did it. I found that it is impossible to eat jello with a wired jaw no matter how hard I tried.
After breakfast and vitals they took me off of my beloved hydromorphone. To my surprise I didn’t need it anymore. I started to work up some discomfort (and really, not a sharp pain, but pain from swelling and pressure).
Lunchtime came around and I got upgraded to creamy liquids, so I got cream of chicken and managed to eat that by pouring it into a foam cup. Pour any liquids into a foam cup! It makes it so much easier to eat/drink than some of the plastic cups they had at the hospital.
After that I slept until discharge, where they unhooked my IVs (again, I think the 2nd most painful part of this ordeal, the 1st being having them put in) and gave me my cocktail of 7 drugs to get. Antiobiotics, oxycodone, nasal spray,nasal decongestant, sudafed, special mouthwash. Stopped by the apothecary before going home. Not a lot of swelling yet.
Got home, took all the drugs and felt very good. Brought me back down to a 2 on the pain scale. Iced my face once in a while to keep the swelling down. Drank some Ensure. And wrote blog posts for the last 2 days.
I woke up in OR recovery getting ice packs on my face. The lady who carted me held my hand, wished me a good recovery and set me up with “the button” – that would deliver wonderful hydromorphone through my IV. I was lucid enough to understand the instructions. Face was a little numb, but most of me was numb at the time from the meds, so I’m not sure how bad it actually was. I don’t know how long the surgery was but according to my mom it was around 4 hours. I remember the doc saying the actual surgical part of it was around 2 hours.
I had to clear my throat a lot right after surgery which felt weird but I was able to do it. My jaw was wired shut with bands so I couldn’t move it too much. But as long as I clenched down a little bit, clearing my throat was easy. Doc said it would be sore from the breathing tube.
My legs were being compressed by something, it felt like a shiatsu massage. There were pressure wraps going up to 50psi on and off, apparently to prevent blot clots in the legs. I kept them on the whole stay, because seriously, shiatsu massage.
Then I noticed something I’ve been missing for the last 10 years – the gap in my teeth was closed! I couldn’t fit my tongue through and I could feel my lower row of teeth hitting the backside of the upper row. This was the best feeling of the day next to the self-regulated hydromorphone I could deliver every 6 minutes. This also confirmed in my somewhat lucid mind that it was over. I felt a wave of relief after that and waited to get rolled out.
I chilled out in OR recovery for a while and then got carted down to the main recovery room. Mom and fiancee (Adrianna) met me there shortly after.
Can’t see much, as I can’t really spread open my lips, but look!
Just looking at my no-longer-open bite in a little mirror made this whole experience thus far all worth it. Surgical staff came to check on me and hospital staff started taking vitals. Doc said I was doing really well and bloodflow and feeling was quickly returning back to my face. Bite looked good too.
I read a lot of other blogs before going into this surgery, and most patients had very little to no pain after this surgery. And they were right, there’s very little pain, some discomfort, mostly a lot of inconvenience. I had rubber bands in my mouth already, lucky not ligatures or a splint so I had some leeway in moving my jaw and talking (mumbling).
I slept for a while until some food came. Eat (drink) the hospital food, as much as you can. I got lucky and I was able to drink out of a foam cup pretty soon after the surgery. I was on a liquid diet for today. But since not eating since 10pm the last day I was pretty hungry. One of my surgeons came in and told me to power drink water, because I’d have to start peeing otherwise they’d have to cath me. I would most definitely rather not, so I just drank as much as I could. Apparently they also catheterized me during surgery, but I didn’t remember nor feel any post-op pain.
The first night pretty much went like this, over and over again:
Squeeze the hydromorphone button
Drink some water (helped with brief periods of nausea after meds)
Try to pee
“Drink” some of the other things (broth, water ice)
Sleep from exhaustion of trying to eat
Hear a little voice “Devin” from the nurse/surgeon who was gently going to wake me up to check on me
I eventually peed in the portable urinal they gave me, so I wouldn’t have to get up through the IVs. Win! No catheter needed. The surgeon scared the pee out of me.
Mom and Adrianna went home, I started watching World Series game 2. KC won which was awesome. Doc said he wanted me to try going for a walk. I never did the whole walk-with-IVs-hooked-up which was a fun experience. Tried to get as much sleep as I could, but had to wake up for vitals at 4am.
Woke up at 4:45am to get to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where my surgery was scheduled for 7:30am. There was an emergency surgery in front of me, so I did end up waiting for a bit. My surgeon came in to update me and that’s when I officially found out that after the workups I did on the 13th, that I was definitely going in for Lefort 1 Osteomoty, no splint, no graft, and no ligatures. I was kinda psyched about that because it meant a shorter recovery time.
Said my goodbyes and got carried off to the OR holding room. Got reaffirmed every step of the way about my name and date of birth, to make sure that I was getting the right surgery 🙂
The staff at Jefferson were all very nice, very professional. I talked to the anaesthesiologist, the person who was going to intubate me during the surgery, chief surgeon, and some other staff. Got wired up for IV, which I had a feeling was going to be the most painful part of this whole ordeal from reading other blogs. I forgot to take my glasses, but I don’t think they would have let me have them anyways, so I listened to Family Feud on the TV.
Relaxed for about an hour, then got wheeled to the OR.
I only remembered the OR for a few minutes. Saw the giant operating lights, the 10 or so people that were all getting ready to cut into me. Got lifted onto the operating table, which had wings to support all my limbs. Oxygen mask got placed over my head and that’s all I remember before waking up.