The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Saturday, 26 September 2015

8 weeks after double jaw surgery

I cannot believe the op was 2 months ago!

The fact that I still feel 'not myself' goes to show that recovery from an op like this is slow. It often frustrates me, but I suppose I've got to count my blessings. 

I tried to go out clubbing for the first time since the operation and it did not go well! My alcohol tolerance is very poor given I've drunk barely any alcohol for 2 months. We got into town but I felt absolutely awful. This was then followed by a horrible hangover and soldiering on through my day at uni. 

Pain:
Very infrequent. I only get pain if I try to open my mouth too wide when I eat or yawn. I don't get ache from talking which is good. I do get pain when it's very very cold and my teeth start chattering. Silly English weather! I can definitely feel that Winter is coming... The temperature has just dropped suddenly in the last week. 

Numbness:
Same as last week really. Upper gums completely numb, and not all sensation and motor control has come back to my upper lip. It feels like how your face feels after you have a tooth removed and they put your gums under local anaesthetic. 

Food:
One word - PASTA! I am eating pasta every day. And rice, too! I can chew things using my tongue but not with my teeth. The reason why I can't chew is partly it hurts too much to open my mouth wide enough, and I almost feel like I don't know how to do it. It feels like I'm learning how to eat all over again. I've been making packed lunches that consist of pasta in chilli sauce, avocado, mozzarella, coleslaw, sautéed tomatoes in herbs. For breakfast, I have porridge or natural yoghurt with honey. Last night I went to a Chinese restaurant with my boyfriend and had a duck soup, vegetable pancakes  and sweet and sour pork with fried rice. It took me a while to eat it but it was delicious! I've also had copious amounts of ice cream with Nutella! Heaven! I can also eat things that are initially crispy but dissolve when wet, like prawn crackers. My lovely friend Sabrina suggested that I should try them and I enjoyed them so much I ate the whole family-sized bag.

Swelling:
Again, like last week, if you didn't know me well you would never have thought I was swollen. I can see that my left side is still more swollen than the right. But it is still less than it was a week ago. My orthodontist said that it will take 9 months for all the swelling to go. 

Braces and bite:
I'm still on the elastics that I had last week but I've had a complication. I didn't wear them over the last weekend because they snapped and I couldn't be bothered to replace them. But my bite stayed in its correct place and there was no pain. However, when I put the elastics back on 2 days later my bite was changed. I actually noticed my lower set of teeth moving so far forward that they were in line with my upper teeth, which isn't normal. The lower teeth are meant to sit just behind, not directly in line. I will see my orthodontist in a week and will see what he thinks. 

Sleeping:
I am almost at the point where I can sleep on my stomach, which is good. Sleeping is okay in general but to lie on my left side is more uncomfortable, so I try to avoid it. 

Weight/fitness:
This isn't something that I have explicitly mentioned in previous posts but thought I would discuss. I was told by my orthodontist I would lose around half a stone through the liquid diet. Before the surgery I was very inactive and ate loads and loads of my favourite foods. Consequently, I was at my heaviest ever weight, around 10 stone 11 pounds. Since the liquid diet I think I dropped down to 10 stone 2, but I suspect I have put on a few pounds since I've been having normal food. I think I lost some weight when I initially stopped having liquids because the portions of solid food were so small and also not very calorie-dense, but they felt more filling because it was actual food! I'm 5ft8 and I put on muscle quite easily. I don't have any scales at uni but I would guess I'm now at around 10 stone 5. To be honest I didn't think I would lose any weight because I love love love my food and always have big portions; I assumed that even if I was on a liquid diet I would still have loads of liquids to compensate for the lack of food. Frankly, I don't give a shit about my weight because if I were to lose or gain a stone I would still have a 'healthy' BMI. I hope to join the gym in November because that's when I'm allowed to do sports and physical activity, but I think that will just make me gain weight because it will increase my appetite and muscle weighs more than fat anyway. But I'll be healthier for it! I miss running and I miss the cross trainer. I was a UK size 12 before and still am now, but all my clothes feel looser and fit better. 
I have one more week of my neurosensory module and then I have a test on it and I have to present my clinical case findings to a consultant. The week after that is my first week of placement! I am really really nervous but at the same time I know it will be an amazing experience. The whole point of this degree is to work in the NHS, so it's exciting to get my first real taste of what it's like to be a part of it. 

Pasta, chilli sauce, sautéed tomatoes, avocado, Mexican chicken and mayonaise




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