At the time of my accident, I didn’t take any pictures of the injuries in large part because I knew that my family would find the images disturbing. Now that the accident is six weeks behind me, I’ve taken a few photos that show just how little is left behind.
The most obvious pieces of evidence are in my mouth, where I have the arch bars, three rubber bands, and two chipped teeth.
Next most obvious is my right elbow.
There’s a little bit of a lump on my chin, where I had 12 stitches, still. It makes shaving difficult, but I don’t think it’s really as obvious as the following photo makes it look.
The weirdest remaining evidence is probably the dent in the palm of my left hand (below the pinky, almost on the wrist). The skin over that spot was torn off in the accident, and it seems that the muscle there was pushed off to the side.
There are also a few pink spots on the backs of my hands and my left elbow. There are a few spots on my legs, too, but I don’t even know if those are from this accident. None of the wounds on my legs were serious enough that I (or the nurse at University Health Services) saw it fit to bandage them.
In related news, I’ve discovered that taking close-up pictures of myself is difficult.
I awoke this morning to find that all three of the rubber bands in my mouth had broken during the night. This is definitely not looking promising.
After dinner, I tried putting in some of the new rubber bands. None of them broke while I was putting them in, so it may be that these new ones are of higher quality than the ones I’ve had in the past. I would appreciate this very much because I’d rather not have to worry about running out of rubber bands.
After I put the rubber bands in my mouth, I decided to see how far I could open my mouth. The answer, it turned out, was far enough to break the rubber band in the front of my mouth. When the band snapped, it hit my lip, and my lip stung for a little while. I replaced the band with another one, opened my mouth not quite as far as the last time, and the rubber band I had just put in broke. I replaced the broken band again, and decided to keep my mouth shut for a while. However, this apparently wasn’t good enough for the rubber band on the right side of my mouth, which snapped a few minutes later while my mouth was closed.
I guess I’d say that what I’ve seen from these rubber bands isn’t particularly promising so far, but I’m doing my best to be cautiously optimistic.
Today was my two-week check-in with the oral surgeon, although I’ll actually only have been wireless for two weeks as of tomorrow. I went in to the appointment not expecting much to happen, and the appointment pretty much lived up to expectations. The surgeon asked if I had any problems or questions, and I mentioned to him that I’d need more rubber bands. He looked at my mouth and observed that I had done a good job putting rubber bands in. He asked if I had any more questions, and I mentioned that I had noticed that my mouth seemed to be opening a little bit further on the right side than on the left side. He had me open my mouth and close it a few times, and he told me that it looked pretty straight, but he could see what I was talking about, and that the exercises I’ll start next week will help with that.
The oral surgeon gave me some more rubber bands, “a whole bunch of them”, as he put it. These rubber bands came in a sealed plastic bag, which stood in contrast to the white paper envelopes I had received previously. I’m usually not a fan of plastics, but in this case I appreciated the difference of materials because the small paper envelopes have tended to fall apart in my pocket. The rubber bands inside were different, too. While the old ones were a yellowish color, the new ones were almost transparent. As I left, I hoped that these new rubber bands would be better quality than the ones that had been breaking so frequently over the last two weeks.
I made an appointment to return to the oral surgeon next Wednesday. After that appointment, I will no longer need to wear rubber bands, but the arch bars will remain in my mouth. If all goes well, the arch bars won’t actually be needed, but in case something should go wrong and need rubber bands again, it will be easier if the arch bars haven’t been removed. Also, I expect that after my next appointment, I’ll be able to start chewing soft foods again.
My next appointment with the oral surgeon is on Tuesday, and I have only one rubber band left (excluding the three that are in my mouth). The fact that the oral surgeon has twice given me only one envelope of rubber bands when the quality of the product is so low suggests, I think, that he doesn’t see many patients with injuries like mine.
In no particular order, here are the latest pieces of news that relate to my jaw in some way:
- I’m now able to open my mouth pretty far. I can get my fingers far enough into my mouth to floss normally. There isn’t quite enough space to brush the back teeth normally, but it’s getting close.
- I made an appointment to see my dentist in a couple of weeks. I would have liked to do it sooner so I could get the chipped teeth repaired by the time I’m able to chew again, but the receptionist at the dentist’s office said I should wait until I can open my mouth further.
- When I called the dentist’s office, the receptionist remembered me when I explained that I had chipped my teeth in an accident but had to wait to get them repaired because of a broken jaw. I guess this means my injuries are at least somewhat distinctive.
- I gave somebody driving directions yesterday for the first time since the accident. I don’t know why, but I like giving directions, even though I dislike cars. This time, I shouted the directions halfway across the street. It was satisfying.
- I’ve been able to incorporate some kiwis (the fruit, not the bird) and bananas into my diet.
- I got another packet of rubber bands from the oral surgeon on Wednesday, but already, I’m running low. The quality of these rubber bands is inconsistent. It seems like at least two thirds of them break the first time I try to put them in my mouth. Those that survive this initial hurdle may last for a day or more.
As I expected, the rubber bands weren’t enough to last me the full three weeks. In fact, I’m on the last three already. One of these three is much thicker than most of the others have been, so it restricts my jaw movements more than it probably is supposed to.
I’ll have to call the oral surgeon tomorrow morning to see if I can get more.