By now, my jaw feels more or less normal. On the left side, the tingly numbness around the site of the fracture has diminished considerably. The area is still tender to the touch, however. I’m chewing most foods normally. In fact, I find that I’m more cautious about not breaking my newly repaired teeth (which are on the right side) than my jaw, so I’ll usually bite with my left teeth rather than the right ones. Oddly enough, I experience pain more often on the right side of my jaw than on the left side.
Other than that, all I have to share is a picture. I made an attempt to record a movie displaying the range of motion of my jaw, but I found that to be too difficult. Even taking a closeup picture was challenging and required several attempts.
It seems to me that the size of the opening is progressing pretty well, but I don’t really have any good reference points. What is clear, though, is that my mouth still isn’t opening straight. This is perhaps most obvious from the misalignment between the lines between the pairs of teeth at the center of the top and bottom.
Somebody from Alta Bates returned my call a few minutes ago. It didn’t seem like she had any record of billing Blue Shield of California, but she did take my correct insurance information. She seemed surprised that I didn’t have a group number for my primary insurance, but she took my father’s name, date of birth, and employer information instead. She also told that they had the wrong member number for my secondary insurance.
Now I’m back to waiting for more bills (and non-bills) to roll in.
On Saturday, I mentioned that I’d have to call Alta Bates on Monday to give them my correct insurance information. Of course, I was forgetting that Monday was a holiday, so I ended up calling Tuesday morning instead. I left a message on a voicemail system, and I was supposed to hear back within one business day. I called a few minutes after 9AM, so they still will have a few minutes to meet that deadline after the phones open, but I’m not very optimistic.
If I don’t hear back, I think I’ll wait until I receive an actual bill before I take things further.
Yesterday was a busy day, so I didn’t get a chance to write about it, but I returned to the dentist’s office to get my broken tooth repaired again. I was afraid that I’d get a lecture about watching what I was eating, but the dentist seemed to think that it was more likely that the break was caused by my teeth grinding against each other. I certainly wasn’t going to object to that hypothesis.
The dentist fixed the tooth again. This time, he didn’t need to numb my mouth because he wasn’t doing very much drilling. The whole procedure took about 20 minutes, and at the end he told me I was “better than ever”. He then had me move my jaw around to see if there was any way in which I could make my lower teeth collide with the newly repaired upper tooth. I managed to find an extremely contrived and awkward position that achieved such a collision, and the dentist shaved the artificial part of the repaired tooth accordingly.
The tooth has held up just fine so far, but I’ve been extremely careful not to use it to bite anything that will provide significant resistance.
I just discovered that one of the two teeth I had repaired on Thursday is broken again. Surprisingly, it’s the tooth that was only slightly chipped, rather than the one that the dentist told me was likely to eventually need a crown. I’ve been avoiding biting into anything with it, so this is frustrating to say the least. I’ll have to call the dentist’s office tomorrow morning and see what they say.
The last thing I ate before my accident was about 90% of an Iced Gingerbread Clif Bar. I had purchased 30 of the seasonal flavor Clif Bars at the Grocery Outlet the day before (for $0.59 each), and I brought one along for my ride. I ate most of it at the first regroup, about five miles before my accident. The remaining 10% survived the accident, so I put it in my freezer with the rest of my perishable foods.
This afternoon, seven weeks and a few hours after I opened the Clif Bar, I removed the little remaining piece from the freezer and left it out for a few hours to allow it to thaw. After thawing, it was hard enough that I didn’t want to bite into it directly, so I broke it into small pieces, which I allowed to soften in my mouth before chewing. I think it was a little bit harder than a normal Clif Bar, but it tasted fine.
My diet has been pretty much normal for the last few days. There are still things I can’t eat, but these things are few enough that I don’t really notice them.
Yesterday, I made a Tofu Kale Stir-fry which has been good except that I was too lazy to devein my kale, so it is a bit chewier than I would like my jaw to have to handle. I’ve also eaten various vegetables, some udon noodles, some seitan, and I haven’t had a problem with any of it.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the way the food I froze after the accident has turned out. I’ve had a couple of sandwiches on the bread I threw in the freezer, and I can’t even tell that the bread has been frozen. I’ve left the Chickpea Cutlets in the freezer, though. I’m guessing those are still too hard.