Tag Archives: wired jaw

The quest for whole grains

24 Apr

In the nearly three weeks since my injury, the one thing that I’ve been completely unsuccessful at getting into my diet has been whole grains. The day after my surgery, I had my failed attempt at oatmeal. A little less than a week later, I dropped some fine cracker crumbs into soup, only to have them expand after absorbing moisture. For dinner today, I made an attempt at something that I really thought would work, but I was disappointed.

I made some whole wheat couscous and added a few spoonfuls to some vegetable broth, hoping to just drink it like a soup. The couscous seemed to get through the straw without any trouble, but most of it didn’t get past my teeth. I made a brief attempt at trying to blend the stuff before giving up and pouring it down the drain. I still have quite a bit of couscous left, but it’ll have to wait in the refrigerator  until I can open my mouth again.

Jury Duty

22 Apr

I was summoned for jury duty today, but it turned out that they didn’t need any jurors today, so I didn’t even have to show up. I had considered getting a medical excuse, but I seeing as I taught last week, it didn’t seem like I really needed to be excused. Even though I have plenty else to do, I almost wanted to go to see how they’d react to me showing up with a wired jaw. Many people have told me that lawyers don’t like to have mathematicians on juries, so I didn’t think there was a real chance of impanelment.

I’m not sure why I do these things to myself

22 Apr

I went to a panel discussion earlier on food sustainability as part of Earth Week. Of course, food is the last things somebody who can’t eat for another eight days needs to hear about. Actually, the discussion itself wasn’t too bad in that respect because much of the discussion focused on some of the less appetizing aspects of food, but it didn’t help that they served vegan food there. I’m fairly used to going to events with (non-vegan) food and not eating, so going to an event with vegan food when I couldn’t eat was perhaps a little bit masochistic.

A culinary success

17 Apr

For dinner today, I had a smoothie which I might actually want to make again after I’m able to open my mouth again. Then it won’t be a meal, of course, but it was really quite good. I didn’t write down exact amounts of ingredients, but I’ll call it a Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Smoothie. I made it by blending a So Delicious Cinnamon Bun soy yogurt with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and maybe 1/3 cup of applesauce, a little bit of soymilk, and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. After that was all blended, I added more soymilk until the volume was about three cups, and blended some more.

The smoothie felt as though it was just thin enough that it could pass through the straw, and the flavor was really very good. Something about the flavored soy yogurt made it particularly so.  The peanut butter has plenty of fat and protein, so it was nice and filling, too.

A challenge

17 Apr

I’ve found my oral surgeon’s assurance, “You’re going to lose some weight” replaying over and over in my head over the last couple of days. I’m not exactly sure why. I wasn’t particularly disturbed by the idea of losing a few pounds. It may well have just been his level of confidence in his prediction that made it stuck with me like this. It also reminds of the nurse last week saying that I’m “already such a little guy” (which did bother me). By now I’ve come to see these remarks as the basis for a challenge to avoid losing weight while I’m wired. I haven’t weighed myself since two weeks before the accident, but I’ll aim for the most recent measurement I have: 155 pounds. As a rule, I’ll try to refrain from doing anything particularly stupid, like consuming to the point of feeling sick or drinking vegetable oil from a cup.

The wired diet, with Vega

17 Apr

It’s been a couple of days since my supply of Vega arrived, but it’s already changed my life for the better. I already mentioned that it allowed me to go a few hours without eating while I taught back-to-back sections yesterday. A Vega meal replaces at least a couple of smoothies, and it offers more nutritional balance. It’s also a major convenience in the mornings because it’s one meal for the day that I don’t need to prepare before leaving for the office. The taste isn’t great, but it’s at least tolerable. My container of soy protein powder has gone back into the cabinet, so I don’t feel like I’m living off of a monoculture anymore. When I was deciding whether to try this stuff, I had a little bit of trouble coming to terms with the price tag, but so far, it’s definitely worth it.

A curious reflex

17 Apr

A little bit earlier, I stumbled while walking up some stairs on one of the footpaths in my neighborhood. I was surprised to feel my mouth reflexively try to open. Of course, the wire kept my mouth from actually opening, but it was enough to make me shudder at what might have happened if I had actually fallen.

I do wonder what good this reflex does. From an evolutionary point of view, it’s hard for me to imagine how it might have come about.

Teaching through the wires

16 Apr

Today was a big day for me. For the first time since my accident, I taught my three sections. I knew that my speech wouldn’t be perfectly normal, and so it still might be hard for students to hear me if the room were full of chatty students. I also knew that it might be hard for students whose first language wasn’t English. To resolve these issues, I prepared detailed notes for the lesson and told the students that they could take them and leave if they wanted to. I expected that since most of my students were only taking the course to get into business or medical school, most of them would exercise this option. This would have the dual effect of giving the students another way of getting my lesson, and keeping the background noise in the classroom at a reasonable level. My expectation proved correct, as I had only six students among the three sections stay the whole time. Many of those who left didn’t even bother to take the notes.

I’m always a little tired after teaching three sections in one day, and today is no exception. Other than that, though, I feel great.  Less than a week ago, I struggled to get even just a word or two out of my mouth, and I was starting to lose hope that I’d be able to teach today. To have been able to get up and teach for four hours under these circumstances is a huge psychological victory that low attendance isn’t going to take away from me.

In all fairness, I owe some credit for today’s success to Vega. I teach two consecutive sections with only 10 minutes in between, which means that I have to go about three hours without eating. On a liquid diet, that would ordinarily be very difficult for me, but after my Vega breakfast, it was not so bad.

One week check-in

15 Apr

Today marks one week since my mouth has been wired shut, and I commemorated the occasion by returning to the oral surgeon’s office for a check-in appointment. The oral surgeon looked in my mouth briefly and was impressed by how clean it was. He then started talking about eating. He told me that it was only two weeks before I could eat again, but added, “You are going to lose some weight.” He asked if I had been using anything like Ensure or Carnation Instant Breakfast. I told him that I hadn’t, although I didn’t tell him that I was vegan. I wasn’t particularly worried, because thanks to UPS online tracking, I knew that my supply of Vega had been delivered to my door while I was in the office.

I’ll be returning to the oral surgeon in two weeks to get the wires removed.

A drug-free me

11 Apr

Yesterday, I struggled mightily to stay awake in my classes. At first I thought this was just because I stayed up late Thursday night, but then I began to wonder if Vicodin, which I had been taking twice daily, might have been playing some role. When I was in the office, I thought that the only side effect on the label was dizziness, but it occurred to me that it might actually have been drowsiness, and I had misremembered or misread.

When I got home, I checked the label of my container of Vicodin, and sure enough, it warned that the drug may cause drowsiness. I wasn’t experiencing much pain, so I decided I’d try to stop taking it.

I haven’t taken Vicodin since yesterday morning, and so far everything is going well. I don’t feel tired, but that may well be because I slept better last night. The most noticeable difference when I woke up this morning, though, was that I was able to talk reasonably well. My speech is still far from normal, I think that most people would find me comprehensible. I do struggle with certain sounds. For example, I can’t pronounce the “th” sound, so I have to use the “d” sound as young children sometimes do.

For the first time, I feel genuinely hopeful that I’ll be able to teach my classes next week.

In all fairness, I don’t know if my ability to talk has anything to do with my newly drug-free status. It may well be that it’s just a consequence of my mouth being a little bit less swollen. However, I do think it’s very much plausible that a narcotic like Vicodin would make it harder to exercise the relatively precise control required to speak clearly.

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