Day before first surgery

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  One hour before going into the operating room.

One hour before going into the operating room.

My name is Jordan. I underwent double jaw surgery, meaning work done on both the upper and lower jaws. My jaw was not wired shut following surgery, though I did have rubber bands installed after five days.

I had known for many years that I spoke with a slight lisp, talked slightly out of the side of my mouth and couldn't chew properly with all of my teeth. Some may say that I shouldn't have paid attention to what other people think. Well, the thing is that I didn't ever have anyone say anything about it, so it wasn't that. It was me knowing that I had an issue that was taking away some of what I could be enjoying in life, and that I needed to find a way to take care of it. Money and fear of "what if it goes wrong?" are two things that probably kept me from having jaw surgery sooner. Once I found a way to pay for the surgery using insurance, any minimal fear I had went out the window.

After getting braces later than other people, age 29 in September 2012 to be exact, I was on my way. I often thought of a moment from Family Guy when Stewie makes fun of an adult who has braces. It's funny how something so simple that's just a joke can be thought of in my head as something that everyone dwells on and believes, but it's just a joke. I opted for "Incognito" hidden braces. They are lingual, only on one side of my teeth: the back. It was quite an uncomfortable process having the orthodontist put them on and poke and pull every 4-6 weeks, usually finding 2-3 sore teeth a visit that would have me jumping out of my seat like I was watching a scary movie. The braces would stab into my gums every now and then, and cause painful sores. It was nice to have hidden braces, but perhaps that feature alone wasn't worth the pain. There probably aren't many people who have tried both lingual and normal braces, so I suppose it's hard to know which is more comfortable.

After a year and a few months with lingual braces, Christmas 2013 and New Year’s 2014 rolled by and my surgery date was upon me: January 8, 2014. I began to have the thought of "what if something goes wrong and I have to go back for multiple surgeries?" That's a pretty horrifying thought, right? Those sorts of thoughts didn't weigh heavily on my mind, but they were there. I didn’t think about them constantly. They’re just thoughts. The extremes. It's like when you’re a little kid and you get closer and closer to the front of the line for tallest waterslide in the park. You keep reassuring yourself that you’ll be all right. Then you are close enough to see the front of the line. It's time. Yes, a waterslide is a lot more fun than two years of orthodontics and jaw surgery. But it's similar. Do you turn back out of fear and then regret not doing it? Or do you conquer the fear so you can enjoy the slide (life)? Crappy analogy, I know. I believe we see the extremes and dwell on them because they are dramatic. I was able to not dwell so much on the dramatics and do my best to show a brave face, with my girlfriend by my side looking fairly calm for what was about to happen.

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