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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 15 - Freedom in 30 Minutes or Less

So today was my second post-operative visit with my surgeon. He removed my rubber bands for about thirty minutes. During this time I was instructed to talk, talk, talk as much as I could, and to gently move my jaw around side to side. At first I was nervous, I thought my jaw was going to fall out of my mouth! But I soon realized that in the past two weeks, my jaw has really had some regrowth and the bolts and screws implanted in my mouth definitely help stabilize everything. So, I followed the doctors orders.

It certainly felt weird moving my jaw, and being able to talk fairly normally for those few minutes, but it was a nice feeling and a preview of what is only a short few weeks away. I also got a preview of my new goofy smile. I say it is goofy because my bottom lip is still swollen, and I can't open my mouth completely. I'm also nervous, as previously mentioned, to do anything too rash to my mouth before everything is healed up. Yes, I am babying my mouth, but I am also following doc's orders. Once he popped the rubber bands back in my mouth, in new, different positions, (proficiently aiding in the goof appeal, as they are mostly on my front teeth,) he told me that if I tried I would be able to open my mouth, but to try not to do that. Sometimes I may be in la-la land, but I am good at paying attention to instructions when it comes down to the aftermath of my $70,000 surgery.

I had a revelation the other day. I had just yawned, or may I say I tried to yawn, as it is very painful and I try to avoid it... and I panicked a little. I thought to myself, am I allowed to yawn? Will my teeth move out of my splint? And that is when it occurred to me that I wasn't certain I had a splint. I checked myself in the mirror and asked around to other jaw surgery patients who are familiar with splints. I've heard that it is very, very difficult talking with a splint in your mouth, (even more difficult than with merely rubber bands) as it is a piece of hardware that's basically glued to the roof of ones mouth.

So, I asked my surgeon today if I had a splint. He probably thought I was joking, or a little special, considering I wasn't aware of whether or not I had a piece of gigantic hardware in my mouth, but he didn't make me feel dumb. He's an excellent surgeon. He explained to me that my teeth are coming together just where they need to, and that he used a splint during my surgery in my upper and lower jaws, but removed them since they were no longer necessary. I breathed a sign of relief at that. Seriously, everything is coming together (not just my teeth) and this whole big procedure is not feeling so overwhelming anymore!

I even got my excellent surgeon and his wonderful nurse in for a photo moment with us! Ha! 
My smile is a little goofy when showing teeth, so I've opted for the no-teeth smile for now :)

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