The musings of a final year medical student

Friday, 21 August 2015

3 weeks post double jaw surgery update

I would be lying if the last week hasn't posed its challenges. I have definitely had a wobble this week, even though the physical recovery has continued to go extremely well. As mentioned in the last blogpost, the elastics put on my brace by a new orthodontist were extremely tight. This went against what I was expecting, as I was led to believe that the elastics would become looser and more manageable as the weeks go by. Not only were these elastics incredibly tight, severely restricting movement, the elastics themselves covered the very front teeth. This was not only unsightly but extremely challenging to look after. Drinking liquids became harder; I had to make them more watery. In addition, any fibrous strands or strings of protein would get caught in it, making me self conscious and meaning I had to be even more diligent with my oral hygiene. It was also very embarrassing. The discomfort these elastics were giving me really brought my mood back down. I was on such a high; everything felt doable, and then I had three very emotional days. My mood was very low and I was crying all the time because I felt I was taking a major step back in recovery. It was pretty bad because these elastics made me not want to eat anything and so consequently the weight loss hasn't slowed down yet. Just as I was about to start integrating socially and think about driving and meeting up with people, I then felt unable to do those things. Partly through being self conscious of these obvious elastics, but also because of the discomfort. It hurt to talk and eat and still does sometimes. I had really hoped to see my friends but then had to cancel because I just wasn't up to it; I was in pain and so I knew I wouldn't be up for talking. That really frustrated me because most of my friends I haven't seen since the operation and given that my university dates are sooner than everyone else's (darn medicine) it would be the last chance I'd have to see them before I left. 

After those three days I got used to the new annoying tight elastics. My positivity slowly came back, but I am still frustrated. During week 2 I was talking quite a lot and now I am much less sociable because of the pain, and so I want these elastics altered so that I can talk again and feel like myself. 

Now, on day 21, I have seen this new orthodontist again and she has put on the same arrangement of elastics as last week. As I am on holiday next week, I won't see an orthodontist until 4th September, and I have been told that they will definitely be looser. As much as I hate these tight elastics I can see that they're holding my bite together nicely. I would say that the elastic changing appointments are more uncomfortable than standard brace tightening appointments I have had in the past, partly because it hurts to open my mouth wide. 

Nothing has changed really in terms of sensation. Chin and lower lip are fine, but everything above that has sensation but almost no movement. It feels so strange washing my face or applying makeup and not feeling it! I have more energy but haven't got back to exercising other than just walking because I can't breathe easily, so anything strenuous would be a no go.

The swelling has gone down well. I am still more swollen on my left side, but I am starting to look more human.

The cleaning routine of the mouth has stayed much the same. 3-4 salt mouthwashes a day and 3 Corsydyl mouthwashes; I  alternate them throughout the day. I brush twice or more per day with a baby toothbrush and Colgate toothpaste. The dissolvable stitches have started to fall out which is good. 

I am definitely getting my appetite back and long for normal food again. Before, normal food had no appeal and so the liquid diet didn't bother me. Now, every time I look in the fridge I gaze wistfully at the proper foods. I even dreamt about stir fry and Burger King last night! I haven't had a Burger King in at least 7 years. Needless to say, I cannot wait until the day the elastics come off and I can begin to introduce soft foods. Steak is a long way away, but I'm looking forward to that day! 

I am now back to driving which is good because I now have my independence back, however talking is still a problem. I feel self conscious and it hurts, which is disappointing. 

In terms of sleeping, I can now sleep on my side but not on my stomach. This has made sleeping hard because I'm so used to sleeping on my front. Oh well. 

I went to IKEA and got lots of bits and bobs for my new house - I cannot wait to move in and start second year of medical school! I was very jealous of the other IKEA customers having hotdogs and meatballs, the lucky buggers! There's so much anticipation for what it will be like and our first clinical placements as well, so much to look forward to. It's nice knowing now that I have my bearings on the city and know I'm going back to my lovely friends that I've met there. 

Above: day 15

Above: day 16

Above: day 17

Above: day 18

Above: day 19
Above: day 20
Above: day 21

Above: new elastics


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