Monthly Archives: August 2012

Strange Things!!

Things seem to have really blown up around here! And by “things” I mean just this one post. So let me explain…

A well-meaning person took a liking to my post and decided to share it on a completely unrelated forum. This is all well and good, actually great because yaaay blog traffic! However, this person was a bit mislead on attribution. In most cases, it’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to share blog posts and articles you enjoy, as long as you attribute the post to its original author. The easiest was to do this is to say “This post was written by X person at Y website” and include a link back to the original post. Even better is if you include only part of the post and say “Read the rest here: [link to original post].”

I think most bloggers would agree, that’s generally the best way to go about it. If you’re not sure if what you’re doing is okay, ask the author. Better safe than the enemy of someone you admire, right?

In unrelated news, you may notice some minor shifts and changes around here. I’m working on getting a side project up and running, and that’s affecting some other things as well. I’ll have it sorted soon and will have something new and shiny to show for it!

Post-Surgery

Having your mouth wired shut is not a fun experience. Even without the extra issues I had, there’s still the fact that you cannot eat. Drinks do not satisfy the appetite the way a meal does. Food is such a huge part of human culture that even if you get the required calories and nutrients from a liquid diet, there is a huge part of your day missing, unable to be filled.

Nevertheless, five long weeks after surgery, the splint was off. Opening my mouth again was a strange feeling. The muscles were weak, so I could barely open at all. Chewing was also out of the question, a decision reinforced by my still-numb upper gums.

My surgeon instructed me to wear elastics from my top jaw to my bottom jaw. Very thick elastics, I might add. He gave me a little packet with more elastics in it and had me schedule an appointment for the following week. All was well. For a few minutes.

As soon as I was in the car and had view of a mirror, my heart began to sink. The issue of my lips not coming together didn’t sort out with the removal of the splint and wires, so my relaxed pose was with my lips hanging open. If I smiled, all you could see was my upper gums. My upper jaw jutted out, almost like buck teeth. I looked like a bunny or a gerbil, and it was incredibly unattractive.

The purpose of the surgery was not aesthetic, but to fix my jaw so I could eat. I just had to keep reminding myself of that, no matter how disheartening it was to have gone through 10+ years of orthodontic work to end up with a smile I couldn’t be proud of. Whatever. If I could eat, that was far more important than looking pretty.

But I couldn’t eat, not yet. I wasn’t experiencing any benefits of the surgery. When I tried to use a straw (something I couldn’t do with the splint in), I had to use my hands to push my upper lip down and over the straw. Eating even ice cream or soup was difficult since not only could I barely open my mouth enough to fit the spoon, but I also couldn’t bring my lips to meet the utensil. That’s not how things are supposed to work. Read the rest of this entry

Hospital Stay

When I woke up from surgery, I couldn’t actually wake up. I remained in an in-between state, neither awake nor asleep. The sense of paralysis despite my lucidity of mind frustrated me more than anything else.

I could hear people talking. I knew my mother was there, and a couple nurses. In order to prevent blood from dripping down into my lungs or stomach, a tube ran from my nose down my throat, but blood clots still collected in my nasal cavities and made breathing difficult. I had an IV in my right hand and another needle in my left arm. A mask over my mouth sprayed mist at my face, I still don’t entirely understand why.

One of the nurses gave me a “pain button” — a hand-held device with a small button on the top. Nobody ever told me what it did, but I think pressing it caused a liquid painkiller to be injected into my left arm. I wasn’t in much pain, I don’t think. I don’t remember being in pain, anyways. Actually, I remember trying to give the pain button back to the nurse. I didn’t even want it.

The following morning, I was taken out of recovery into a separate room elsewhere in the hospital. They removed the mask, tube, and wires going into my left arm (but kept the needle there). I still had the IV in my right hand.

I tried telling one of the nurses how much I was struggling to breathe, though I had to write it down. The nurse responded, “Well your blood oxygen level is fine” and walked away. Leaving me wheezing, terrified I was going suffocate. Read the rest of this entry

History

I know I’ve already told you some things about my surgery, but you know? More needs to be said. Or really, I feel the need to say more, to tell you to be wary of your expectations.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? It started with some teeth pulled in a child’s tiny mouth. A few years later, it was a pallet expander with an accompanied face mask. I didn’t do all I was supposed to, then. I was a kid, about 10 years old, and didn’t understand what it all was for. I didn’t like the pain of the expander and the discomfort of the face mask. My mum didn’t force either onto me, so I avoided them as best I could.

In another universe somewhere, I wasn’t so irresponsible those first years of orthodontics and saved myself a lot of hassle later. Sadly, this isn’t that universe.

Some years later, at the grand age of 16, I got braces. I should have gotten them a few years earlier, but due to insurance issues, that wasn’t possible. The braces were only on the top jaw at this point, and helped pull down an adult tooth hiding beneath my gums. Those braces were still with me the following year, stretched across my face as I gave my graduation speech, as I pasted on a fake smile in photographs with people I’ll probably never see again.

That summer was my first surgery. All four wisdom teeth extracted and a tooth surgically exposed. The surgery hurt and the painkillers made me sick, but I slept through most of it and recovered in time for my orthodontist to add more metal to my mouth. This time, braces on the bottom jaw and elastics to go with them. That’s how it was when I started my first semester of university. Read the rest of this entry