Thursday, July 06, 2006

Living Through the Wire

Well, surgery was a sucess on Monday night and I am now back living without the assistance of my family in my own home again. The last few days have been very odd and I'm sure the next 8 weeks are going to be very difficult and annoying. So, here's a quick recap of how things went down.

I went to the oral surgeon's office on Monday morning to have another set of X-rays taken of my jaw so that he could make his final diagnosis. Unfortunately, all of the X-rays were in paper form so I never got a CD-Rom copy so that I could post it for you guys, so you'll just have to deal with this artist's rendering of the skull and my red additions showing the locations of the breaks.

After seeing the breaks, the surgeon was pretty sure that he would need to cut open the bottom of my chin and attach a metal brace to the bone to help support it in place, since it had shifted out of place so badly. This is the first time during the whole process when I became geniunely scared. He also mentioned that there is a nerve in that portion of the face that if it is damaged could cause constant numbness or a tingle there on my face. Now, I'm not wanting to look like the guy from Braveheart, with a scar across my face, or old JR from WWE with a numb face, so I'm starting to freak out inside. Before he says he'll do this, he's going to wire the jaw shut and see how things go back into place...so hopefully, it will not be necessary. I'm not optimistic at this point, and I'm just hoping that women aren't as shallow as men when it comes to facial issues when all is said and done and I'm trying to find the new J-woman. But I digress.

Action needs to be taken quickly, so I am scheduled for surgery later that day back at old Shady Grove Hospital. Now, I'm not gonna start bashing on the hospital again, but let me just say that they once again shat the bed on making me wait and even the nurses were wondering what took me so long to get there, as they were expected me at 4 PM (I arrived at 3:45) and I didn't make it up to the room until 5:15. Luckily, I was very early for surgery and was really only called in that early since they wanted to give me some IV fluids, since I hadn't eaten anything all day...per their requirements. Surgery wasn't set til close to 8 PM, so I sat bare ass in my gown in a bed for the next 3 hours, thinking about how life is going to be with my new hardened Scarface look.

The moment arrived soon enough and it was off to the operating room. I have never had a surgery before, so as they wheeled me into the stark room, I was less than impressed with the overall appearance. The walls were covered in cream colored 3 X 3 tiles, there were no colors anywhere, the walls were lined with metal tables on wheels, and steel refridgerator looking things, and at the center of the room sat a long bed under to large lights, resembling a UFO, one with 5 lights, one with 10. Two nurses were there and helped me onto the operating bed, before stretching me out in a Jesus pose with all sorts of devices attached to each arm. My legs were then strapped into some other type of warm wrapping as the anesthesiologist arrived. It was July 4th weekend, so he pleasantly introduced himself as my bartender and within moments I'm out of it.

I awoke to the feeling of a nurse wiping vasoline off my eyes (they put it on during the surgery to help them from drying out) and quickly discovered the new addition to my mouth, as I unsuccesfully tried to open it to grab some air. After giving the nurse the thumbs up that I understood her, I gave her the thumbs down that my mouth hurt, so she gave me some morphine and it's on to morning time.

I slowly awoke in a bed in the hospital, and gathered my bearings quickly. I was still attached to all the IVs and still had some vasoline on my eyes, which I rubbed at. Dozing in and out of sleep for the next few hours, I discovered that they brought me some food to eat. I vaguely remember the surgeon coming in and checking things out and a nurse showing me how the bed worked and telling me to eat when I could, since it had been over 24 hours since I'd last eaten.

Here's where things become a little weird. Like a small child, I reached at the food and utensils, unsure how to get this food into my stomach. Before me sat, a cup of water with a straw, hot water in a mug, broth in a bowl, apple juice, lemon italian ice, jello, tea bags, and a packet of lemon and honey, plus two spoons.

The water was easy. I took a few sips and all was good. I have no interest in tea, so the hot water is of no use to me. Broth, eh? Let's give this a try. I use the spoon to bring a spoonful of broth to me, but it's likely too hot. I have no way of blowing on the spoon with my mouth, so I exhale through my nose onto the broth, spilling some on my blankets. There's still some left as I bring it up to my lips and tip it back towards my teeth. It pours in through the gaps in my teeth and I get the flavor of something other than water or milky Ensure for the first time in 3 days. I want more, but this process grows tiresome quickly and I maybe make it through 10 spoonfuls before I move on to the apple juice. You don't even wanna know how my attempt at the jello turned out...and I was smart enough to avoid the italian ice after the jello incident. Once the soup cooled even more, the idea crossed my mind to use the water straw to finish it up. Hell, a guy's gotta eat.

So, I did just that, and a new method for eating has been learned, and soon to be perfected.

By mid-afternoon I'm at my parents' house and I'm learning my new routines. Three days have now passed, I've come to master the use of the twisty straw and now have my new regimen to deal with for the next two months.

  • Wake up
  • Rinse mouth with salt water (repeat this every 2 hours)
  • Take 2 teaspoons of antibiotic through straw (repeat twice more each day)
  • Rinse mouth with regular water through straw to remove coating left from antibiotic
  • Drink 8 oz of Ensure or some other liquid food (repeat 4-5 more times each day)
  • Rinse mouth with regular water through straw to remove coating left from Ensure
  • Drink water through straw, just because I'm thirsty
  • Brush teeth with baby toothbrush with pictures of sheep and bunnies on it...you got a problem with that?!
  • Rinse mouth with mouthwash since I can't brush the inside of my mouth
  • Rinse mouth with regular water through straw to remove coating left from mouthwash
  • Put tons of chapstick on my lips
  • Take 2-3 teaspoons of painkiller every 4 hours or whenever needed (this stuff tastes like shit)
  • Don't talk too much, because there's a good chance you're cutting your lips on the wires when you move them around, requiring you to rinse with saltwater and take painkiller more often

Yep, that's my life now. A few new routines that I'd gladly do without, but they say you build character through adversity. It's just weird because these routines are like those I encounter when I'm sick, but I feel perfectly fine, so I'm confused with what to do. Regardless, I can't work outside (per the doctor) and I can't really make it through a full day since I'm living off of 32 oz of liquid each day and I've already lost 7 lbs since Friday night. Can't say I'm gonna complain about sitting around most of the day watching movies or playing video games...that's just how it's gonna be for a little while I guess. I'll keep you posted.

5 comments:

Catheter Man said...

I fully expect you to come up with some sort of awesome pseudo-food during the next few weeks. For instance: ice cream soup. Or is that just a milkshake? I don't know.

Let me know if you need anything to speed up your healing or just relieve the boredom.

gman said...

so when's poker night.. when we can bust on jman without him responding?

Anonymous said...

finally a legit excuse for not performing sweet conolinguis

Z

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