Archive | 11:00 pm

The newly wired life

8 Apr

My mouth has started to feel sore, but I’m not too worried because my mouth used to feel this way all the time when I had orthodontic braces and went in to have them adjusted. My tongue is adjusting to having wires on the bottom of my mouth. I don’t really understand how this is possible, but I haven’t been able to find any wires on the top of my mouth.

The oral surgeon called this evening to check in with me, which was nice. He was able to understand me, which I found impressive (he said he had plenty of practice). He repeated some things which he had apparently told me earlier when I wasn’t alert enough to remember them. He told me that the procedure went well and that he was able to get the bone exactly where he wanted it. He also talked to me about the Zip-N-Squeeze bags he gave me for taking in purees and liquids. I actually haven’t tried to use them yet; I’ve just been drinking through a straw.

One consequence of having my jaw wired is that I now have to crush my Vicodin tablets before I take them. This certainly isn’t a difficult task, but I’ve found that whatever I take it with tastes very bad.

There is some good news, which is that I can now tilt my head back without any pain.

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Nightmare scenario

8 Apr

Lately, I’ve become worried about the possibility that my blender might break. Mine is definitely a low end model, and even when I bought it, I saw several reviews complaining that it hadn’t lasted long. I’ve only had it for a couple of months, but it’s going through a period of heavy use. If it does break, I’ll probably be able to replace it eventually, but until then I’ll be on a diet of soy milk and soy protein powder. I’m certainly not afraid of soy, but I prefer to avoid the whole monoculture thing.

Surgery

8 Apr

I actually managed to sleep pretty well last night, which these days means five hours without interruption. It may be because I was exhausted from not sleeping well since the accident, or it may be that I started taking Vicodin to ease the pain.

When I awoke, the swelling in my face seemed to have subsided a little bit, but I was skeptical that the improvement was enough so that the surgeon would be able to work on me. Shortly after I had finished changing the dressings on my wounds (a rather laborious process due to the large number of abrasions), my ride arrived, and it was time for me to leave for the surgeon’s office.

When I got into the surgeon’s office, a man whose position I don’t know (but he certainly wasn’t the surgeon) had me confirm that I was on an empty stomach. He then seated me in a chair, put a mask over my face, and put me on laughing gas. I had never been on laughing gas before, and I didn’t find this pleasant in the slightest. This was partly because it gave me a sharp pain in the top of the head. Furthermore, the man tried to make small talk with me while I was on laughing gas, and I found it more painful to talk while on laughing gas than usual. I suspected that this was because I had adapted my jaw motions to minimize pain since the accident, but that the laughing gas didn’t allow me this level of control. I’m not much of a small talker to begin with, so I was thoroughly annoyed with this man, and I considered responding to him with a string of expletives. I thought that I could get away with it because I was under the influence of the laughing gas, but my better judgment prevailed. The man eventually realized that I had stopped answering his questions and saw the pained look on my face, and he shut off the laughing gas. As he did so, the surgeon walked in, and told him to put an IV in my arm.

The next thing I remember, I had woken up with my mouth wired shut and the surgeon was telling me that he hadn’t quite been able to get my bone to stay in place without wiring my jaw. He told me he wanted me to come back so he could look at my mouth in a week, and one of the receptionists asked me if 1:15 next Wednesday would work. I knew that I had class at that time, but I didn’t think I’d be able to communicate this fact, so I just agreed to come back then.

My friend drove me home, and I was actually alert and comprehensible enough to direct him to my house by a different route than the one that we had come by. He saw me into my apartment and left me with a container of oatmeal that he didn’t want and that I hoped to be able to drink through a straw if I prepared it right. My friend left, and I went to bed.

Just short of two hours later, I was awoken by my cell phone. It was somebody calling from the oral surgeon’s office, needing to know my father’s date of birth for insurance purposes. I did my best to answer the question, but she became frustrated when she couldn’t understand me at first. I did eventually get the answer across, but it strikes me as terrible judgment to have called in the first place given the circumstances. She should have known that I was recovering from anesthesia, that there was a good chance that I’d be resting, and that my jaw was wired shut. If she really wanted to know the answer, she could have contacted my parents (whose information I had provided for insurance reasons) instead; they would have been happy to answer and easier to understand.

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