Thursday, January 9, 2014
I could tell in the early hours of my first full day of recovery that this was going to be a very tough process. The nurse who helped me in whatever way I can was very kind. I signaled to him that I needed to write something down. He handed me paper and I scribbled something along the lines of “Thank you for all of your help. This is one of the worst things I’ve ever had to go through.” He read it, looked back at me and said “we’re here for you”. I laid back down, realizing more and more that as the seconds ticked by, this was going to be one of the most trying periods of my life thus far. My face has been partially broken and fixed into a different place because I wanted to speak right and be able to chew food in a more natural way. Now I was in a hospital bed, hooked up to multiple IV needles, going through a level of discomfort I had never experienced. I knew this would be way worse than having my wisdom teeth removed, but I had no idea it would be taking it to such a different level of discomfort. My mind was searching for something, anything to help relieve discomfort.
To say it was a trying first full day of recovery is selling it a bit short. I also considered the fact that perhaps I was being a wimp. The thing is though, I know I wasn't being a wimp. I think that you can only do so much with such extreme nausea, pain and discomfort before realizing that “being tough” can’t help. So I counted the hours, the minutes, the seconds. Now the questions started popping up in my head: “Why did I do this?” and thinking “I could be eating French toast and sausage right now while the sun rises outside my window, watching TV or reading a book.” Then I began to remember the good times in California just two weeks earlier with my girlfriend’s family. It was such a wonderful trip and everything went perfect. We ate great food, enjoyed fun times and had lots of good wine. No problems. What had I gotten myself into? But then I remembered that I was doing this for a reason. I remembered that I trust my surgeon because he is very experienced, is educated and came highly recommended by three area orthodontists. I remembered that I had thought about this for many years, and that I concluded it absolutely makes sense.
In the wee hours of day one, two of the doctors who aided in the surgery came by to comfort me and help a bit. They cleaned my nose with cotton swabs, checked my bite, were very helpful answering questions and then they were off. Sometime during day one I was wheeled in my bed to get my face x-rayed. I remember closing my eyes because passing the walls, windows and doors seemed too fast, and nausea set in. I was able to hold back from vomiting though, and didn’t vomit again after the first night. Thank goodness. I arrived at the x-ray waiting room, waited maybe 2-3 minutes and then was wheeled quickly ahead of the other people waiting to one of the exam rooms. I wonder if they did this because they knew I was a more serious case. The two attendants were very nice and caring, and helped me get from my bed to a chair. They x-rayed all sides of my face and sent the photos to my surgeon.
My surgeon came by unexpectedly on day one. He brushed my teeth with a soft toothbrush, gave me mouthwash, cleaned out my nose and made me feel a lot more comfortable. He told me I could move to my own room later that night. He also told me to start drinking from a syringe (no needle, all plastic) and to try to get a full meal down, even if it takes two hours. He left after a bit and I continued to feel discomfort… well it had only been 24 hours. How could it not have been a week? It seemed like such a long time went by, but it hadn’t. Once again the slow hands on a clock got to me. I could feel how long it was going to take to recover. This was going to be difficult. But I kept realizing that there was no abort button. The point of no return had passed. That was a good and a bad thing, I thought. Then I said to myself: “No, all good. Concentrate on the positives.”
My girlfriend came by for quite a while that day and ordered some food for herself. She stayed late and before going I remember that she could see in my eyes how hard this was on me. When you voluntarily go through jaw surgery knowing it's for a better future, but a terrible present, and that you made the decision to do it, maybe it’s normal to feel miserable. I only remember getting maybe an hour or two of sleep that second night in room 82, and it wasn’t good sleep.