Monthly Archives: June 2012

Adventures with Squishy: Surgery Edition

Hello there everyone! As you may or may not know, I just had surgery on Wednesday to re-align my jaw. Basically, the silly thing decided it didn’t want to grow in a way that would be useful, so the surgeon had to take a saw to it and give it the what-for.

I’ve been going through orthodontic work for 10 years or so, preparing for this surgery. I’ve had spacers, an upper pallet expander, wisdome teeth removed, and braces for 5 years in addition to however many teeth pulled (I’ve honestly lost count). It’s overall been a mess, but this surgery is among the finale steps.

It’s also, of course, the hardest.

This isn’t like getting your wisdom teeth removed. I can’t imagine it’s like getting your tonsils or appendix removed, either.

After the 6-hour surgery (extended from 4 because one of the saws wouldn’t work), I woke up in recovery not certain if I was awake or asleep. I could barely open my eyes for more than a few seconds, only to see a few glimpses of faces I was certain were part of a dream anyways.

I had a tube in one nose going down my throat to make sure no blood got down there, an IV in my left arm and another in my right hand, and a mask over my face to spray mist at me and keep my mouth/nose moisturized. In my left hand was a button, the pain button, I can only assume gave me a needle-fed dose of painkiller. I think I pressed it a grand 9 times in total during the first night.

The next day, they removed the tube, the mask, and the pain button to move me into a room. I still had an IV feeding me through my right hand, but the needle in my left arm was unattached to anything. This was when the real fun began.

Using the bathroom was hilarious. And of course, with the IV constantly feeding me, I used the bathroom every couple hours. The first time I stood after surgery, I passed out cold. Things got better after that, but I still can’t manage standing for more than a minute or so before feeling incredibly dizzy.

Breathing is rather difficult as well. My mouth is wired shut, meaning I cannot open my jaw at all. Not to yawn, not to cough, not to eat. Obviously, this makes it rather difficult to breath through my mouth as well, so I’m mostly stuck breathing through my nose. The downside to that? Well, my nose is full of blood clots from the surgery…

I have new-found sympathy for everyone who suffers from asthma, sleep apnea, or anything similar. Struggling to breathe is a terrifying experience, especially when there is nothing you can do about it.

Speaking of things that are scary, my face is pretty high up on that list right now. It looks like I’ve gained a good 50lbs, all in my face. My lips are so swollen and numb that I can’t close them, and they are lines in purple bruises. The swelling is going to get a bit worse as well, since I’m no longer taking the anti-swelling medication they gave me at the hospital.

That is really a lose-lose situation. The anti-swelling meds made me feel absolutely terrible. They gave it to me through the IV in my left arm, and as soon as it entered my bloodstream, it made my entire body tingle in a very unsettling way. The first time they gave it to me, it also made me sick. Not a pleasant experience when your jaw is wired shut!!

But of course now that they’re not giving it to me anymore, I’m just going to swell even more. So the next few days should be fun.

Eating is a trip. Since I can’t close my lips, straws and spoons are out of the question. Right now, I have to feed myself with a syringe, and even then I still manage to spill all over myself. It’s hilarious to my mum, and of course her laughing at me makes me laugh at me, and that just makes an even bigger mess. Oivey!

It’s a struggle now, between not being able to breath or eat well, not being able to feel half my face, struggling to sleep because of the sheer discomfort of all of it… But I just have to remember that each day will be better than the one before it (mostly). The first week is the hardest, then there are only 3 more before the wires come off!

Then we’re into the home stretch, nearly free of this orthodontic malarkey for good!

On Jokes and Insults

This is a tricky subject. Many jokes are funny because they are also somewhat insulting. The key is to know where to draw the line, and how to take responsibility if you cross it. To take from Chuck Wendig, own up and apologize like an adult if you cross from offensive to mean.

Let’s take an example: sexist jokes. Most people can laugh at the typical jokes that poke fun at the stereotypical differences between men and women. Yet once you start going down the path of friendzones, make me a sandwich, your place is in the kitchen, and so on… things aren’t funny anymore. Now you’re just being mean and degrading to roughly half the human population.

This is a topic I’ve been mulling over for a while, but recent events encouraged me to finally post on it. An English friend re-tweeted a joke on Twitter, a joke that insulted Americans. When I called him out on this, recommending he consider who follows him before posting hateful remarks, he told me I simply couldn’t take a joke.

He then proceeded to tell his friends how I lacked emotional maturity for being hurt by a joke. That is when I blocked him. This wasn’t our first fall-out and I decided I’d had enough.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and bash this person for his actions. In his mind, his words and actions were completely harmless. That’s usually how jokes go — the joker doesn’t think the jokes could hurt someone. But sometimes they do. You wouldn’t tell insulting Islam jokes around practicing Islams. Because it’s mean and hurtful. I don’t tell homophobic jokes because it would hurt several of my friends (not to mention myself).

Being American is as part of my identity as being female is. Insults to my country and nationality hurt just as much as insults to my gender or my race, and I’m not afraid to stand up for myself as I once was.

What you consider to be a joke might hurt those at the other end of that joke. And if it does, that’s when you act the adult and apologize. Sure there is a point when people are overly-sensitive, but if you can’t accept that your jokes may have unintended consequences, well… who’s the immature one, then?