Hi! So things have settled down a lot as far as recovery goes. I feel like I'm in a strange transition phase: I'm not in constant pain anymore, but my jaw feels foreign and I'm very aware of it. I'm getting more used to my bite and talking. I can hang out with friends like normal, but it feels weird because it's different to talk and I'm aware of being different than normal. I'm more tired than normal and have to be cautious. I'm getting a little bored of the soft food diet, but it's not too awful yet. I'm waiting for the rest of the swelling to disappear so that I can see the final result.
At this point, I worry if I'm doing everything right. Am I closing my bite together correctly? Is it okay to bite down on this soft thing just a little bit? Is everything settling right? Is it okay to try to open my mouth a little wider? Is it okay that I feel a strange pressure when I yawn? Is it okay that I hit my teeth with a cup sometimes? I just worry that I'm going to mess something up which I obviously don't want to do.
My speech changes from day to day. Sometimes I can't close my back molars together and I'll get a little lispy or not be able to finish the end of short words. I had some trouble saying "lid" over the weekend.
This past weekend I went to the beach with some friends for two days and one night. It was way too much for me. The first day, I was okay, but in the car on the way there I got really swollen; probably because I didn't stay upright. We walked around a lot the first day and then at night it was really hard to fall asleep because it's so uncomfortable to sleep upright. I was talking a lot during the day and it made my rubber bands dig into my gums really badly. I was worried about that because they were so inflamed and it hurt so much. I took off that rubber band for a bit and started worrying that I'd mess something up. All of this was very late at night when I should have been sleeping.
The next morning, I could hardly move. It was so difficult. We were walking around and it hurt to talk because the rubber bands rubbed my gums and I was tired from the day before. By the time we were getting ready to leave, I was so tired that I couldn't even put the right inflection in my voice. I was trying to be sarcastic to my friend, but I didn't say it right and she got offended. It sucked because I knew what had happened, but I was too tired to even talk about it.
When I got back, I collapsed and just slept and slept. My jaw started hurting again and I started taking my percocet around the clock. I hadn't taken it for probably 5-7 days before this. I stayed in bed and only got up to eat for two days. Everything wiped me out and I felt awful. The third day (yesterday), I got up and felt a little better. I was still really exhausted, but as the day went on, I was ready to go out. I saw some friends last night and everything was fine.
Just a general update:
- my numbness: I'm still much more numb than normal, but it's better than it was directly after surgery. I can now kind of feel my nail if I scratch my nose! I discovered this yesterday. When I massage my upper cheeks, my upper lip tingles a lot. This has been true since one week post op at least. I'm still very numb in my upper cheeks. I can feel my gums a little bit better.
- bruising is gone as far as I can tell
- I think all my stitches have fallen out
- my teeth are getting kind of yellow, I'm not exactly sure why
- I can open my mouth wide enough to get two fingers in tightly
- it takes a while to eat because I have to work hard not to burn my top lip. Earlier in recovery, I burned it really badly, but it took me a while to tell because it was so numb, so it was harmed more than necessary. Now, I make whatever I eat very hot and then blend it up so I can eat it. That takes a while so it loses a considerable amount of heat. Then I wait a while and test my food with my finger to make sure it's an okay temperature. Then I'll start eating.
- I can only use tea spoons and I only put food on half of the surface of it because that's all I can eat at once. It takes two tries to clear the spoon.
- I've probably lost about 6 lbs. I look really skinny.
- I've eaten about four meals without a napkin bib and all went well! I also don't need to wipe my lip after every bite/sip like I used to. I still sometimes look in the mirror after eating and see dried food at the corners of my top lip because I can't feel it.
- I kind of look like a monkey when I smile because my cheeks are swollen and my top teeth have an overjet from when they were trying to match up with my bottom teeth pre surgery.
- My front teeth are all crooked and there are weird spaces because they've been pulled in different directions due to the TADs and elastics.
One thing that I have found really difficult recently is that I don't know what I look like. During the day, when I'm walking around or hanging out with my friends, it feels really different than normal. Before surgery, I'd look in the mirror and see how everything fit together and then I'd know how I looked for a while. But now, I can't really remember what I look like and it's been changing so much over the past weeks that it makes it even harder. I don't know what I look like when I talk, or when I smile, or when I'm laughing, or anything. It's almost an indescribable experience which is why I'm having a hard time explaining it. It's almost like a new identity. Pre surgery, when I'd look in a mirror, I'd look to see if I looked alright, but now I look in the mirror to find out what I look like because I don't have any idea. I guess it's a sort of out of body experience, but not in the typical sense.
Another strange thing is that when I walk around, my cheeks will swell a little bit and they feel tighter. It feels like I'm making a face at people, like I smell something bad, which I obviously don't like. I asked a friend about it and she didn't know what I was talking about so it could just be from the tightness.