Reuelwrites documents his journey to recovery after a 7-hour jaw surgery.
Things got a lot cheerier ever since the dentist removed the rubber bands that bound my teeth together. Dentist says I can actually drink my food instead of using the syringe. Awesome. That will actually reduce my meal times from 5-10 minutes per 260ml of Ensure milk to less than 1 minute. Oh, and swelling has also completely subsided. I can finally recognise myself in the mirror.
All patients who went through orthognaphic surgeries are given 1 month’s medical certificate to recover and regain their mouth function. For sanguine and extroverts, recovering from the surgery will be an extra arduous one considering the fact that he/she cannot talk and has to stay home for weeks. Fortunately for me, the introvert in me is strong and I can jolly well keep myself entertained while holed up at home catching up on episodes from my US dramas and Korean variety show.
OMGOSH the drool. I think I’ve probably used up 2 boxes of tissues since the removal of the rubber bands. Because my lower jaw is still numb, my lips – which are perpetually in a puckering position – cannot feel the saliva that is dripping down the lips. I’m practically a mobile drooling humanoid. I would arch my head upwards in a bid to stop myself from drooling.
I tried to drink water without the syringe. The result was water pouring all over. Looks like I will need more practice before attempting the ‘feat’ again. Going through this surgery has made me aware of the simple things that I used to be able to do like drinking, talking and eating. Oh definitely eating. The desire to put solid food instead of milk and soup down my throat is intensifying as the days go by. I need food. Real food.
I have mastered the art of sleeping on my back. Well, almost. Sleeping on my right side for 26 years, it was extremely difficult to change to another position overnight. The only other time I could effortlessly sleep on my back was when I was in outfield and after surgery.
Sleeping on my back in an elevated position (double pillows) was initially to bring down the swelling. Right now, it’s just to stop myself from drooling all over the bed and because I’m afraid I might ‘accidentally dislocate’ my jaw or something. Yep, I’m paranoid like that.
I have mastered the art of ‘ta-ing’ my drinks. Meal times are now 30 seconds. This skill could be helpful the next time I bottoms-up at a bar, except I don’t drink. More church friends came to visit. They brought the latest edition of Kinfolk (one of my fav magazines which I am very proud to say I’m probably among the first few in Singapore to adopt) and Koi’s Hazel Nut milk tea. Normally, I wouldn’t want people visiting me because of my current condition but sometimes “you need practice in letting people help you”, says Felicity in Arrow season 3 episode 19. Sunday was a good day.
Family members came to visit. My mom shared with them about my tantrums and frustrations while recovering after the surgery. She also told them what I can
eat drink, and how she would make soup for me everyday. I’m ashamed of my behaviour and at the same time touched by her gesture. Family and friend support is extremely crucial for patients who have gone through a corrective jaw surgery. Be it mental, moral and physical support.
Back to the dentist’s for my weekly review. Dentist says everything is going fine and that I can proceed with soft diet! He also instructed me to practise pursing my lips and opening my mouth. First thought that came to my mind; scrambled eggs. Second thought that came to my mind; macaroni and cheese. Ah, my mouth is salivating. Or was it drool? Right now, it seems like I’m ‘born again’, drinking formula milk, using a baby toothbrush and having to relearn how to eat.
Mom made scrambled eggs. I put it in my mouth and tried to bite down. Fail, mega fail. I haven’t using my teeth to chew for so long that I have ‘forgotten’ how. Plus, my lower jaw is still numb. Turns out, I’m not ready for it. One plate of scrambled eggs wasted just like that.
The journey to recovery continues. RW