Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 14 - Two Weeks Post!!

Presents!! Got two packages today. A fantastic tall plastic mug from my cueing friends in Minnesota. It is covered, of course, with little drawings of moose, Viking helmets, and canoes. (I guess it's hard to draw the woolen mills). I love it! It also came with a Starbuck gift card, which I cannot wait to use.

I also got a package from my dear friend Adrienne. She sent steel, reusable straws (I feel so much cooler than I am), a journal, a novel, a really thoughtful list of books/TV shows I might enjoy, recipes, and lip balm. (Thank God for lip balm. These "soup coolers" are still hot dog-sized.) I'm so lucky and grateful. Thank you!

Now, reader, you are undoubtedly saying to yourself, "Gee, I haven't done anything for Tom yet. That's so incredibly inconsiderate of me and I feel just terrible about it." Oh, dear reader, please stop being so hard on yourself! You're breaking my heart. If you really feel obliged, send money.

I was also going to go out today and meet my friend, Suzie, but did not feel up for it. It was just too far and involved too much energy. (This dizziness is getting old). Suzie is one of those great friends who checks in with me everyday and when I told her I didn't think I could make it to her place, she came right over to mine. She's very, very thoughtful. (Oh, reader, this is killing you. Isn't it? Ok, why don't you call and order me some flowers, if it will make you feel better.)

Despite the issues around eating and brushing my teeth, I feel pretty good. Still no pain. Oh and several people have told me I look like a sock monkey. In the "Big Book of Things to Say to Someone Who Has Just Had Face Surgery"... oh, wait. You know what? It's not in there. (It hurts because it's true.)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 13

Took a cab to Whole Foods. Looking back I should've gone to Shaw's. My Whole Foods is Baghdad – basically. It's insane. People throw themselves (and their carts) in front of you then stop to text, "What kind of bulgar wheat do you want, babe?" Which is fine. Except I cannot look down, am always slightly dizzy, and when I say, "Excuse me." It sounds like my mouth is full of bulgar wheat.

But I made it out without drooling so I consider that a huge personal victory. (NBC will air that victory 6 hours from now.)

Bought salmon and scallops, berries and bananas, tuna, and a couple frozen dinners as back-ups.

Blended a piece of lasagna for dinner. Delicious!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 12

When I eat, I eat. It's a hassle to get calories in. I know that's not ideal. In fact, they recommended I eat five small meals a day. What mother-lover thinks I'm going to take out and replace my rubber bands five times each day?!?!?!? Sorry. There's no way.

So I had my yogurt blend and decided to have a Stonyfield Smoothie (quick and easy and I can drink out of bottles). Then, I saw it has 22g of sugar. They said, I might get sick of sweet foods. But I'm more worried about sugar and salt adding to my swelling. So, I've made a commitment to cut down on the processed crap even if it is easier. (No more home permanents, I guess.)

You'll see from the picture that I am actually wearing a shirt and am outside. I went for a walk up around the Bunker Hill Monument and back. I'm still dizzy, but it was nice to walk around.

Pureed fresh sweet potato with just
a tiny bit of sour cream added.
I hate having to worry so much about drooling. I walk nose-up, Hilary Banks-style, or else it gets... moist. I never leave home without multiple paper towels on standby.

Finished Season 1 of True Blood. I'm completely addicted.

- drink from cups and bottles (Have since Day 1, but still spill frequently. I still eat shirtless and holding a hand mirror to find my mouth.)
- swallow completely on first try. No double swallow needed per sip.

- close my mouth
- say /m b p/ words
- look down without drooling
- take two sips in a row
- eat normally from a spoon. (I stick my tongue out to take thick foods off the spoon.)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 11

Eating More

Ate three solid meals today. Over 1,000 calories.

flavored yogurt blended with fatty plain yogurt

Mac-n-Cheese (baby food) <--- Flavorless, but ok. In the future I'd blend in a tiny bit of cheese from a real mac and cheese packet.

Wholly Guacamole <--- Holy crap. Flavor! Yum.

Corn Beef Hash <--- Salty. I don't want that much sodium, but I ate meat. Well meat-ish.

Wholly Guacamole <--- Gladly had another packet. Will get more!

Pumpkin Pie in a Glass
Ok. Saw this recipe on another blog. I ground Nilla wafers, added vanilla, cinnamon, vanilla ice cream and pumpkin from a can. Blend to a smoothie consistency and YUM.


Tried eating thicker foods while sitting upright, without elastics. Success!! No lump in my throat and no regurgitation.

I Dream of Chewing

On three separate nights I've dreamt of food. One night I thought I was eating the best blueberries I'd ever had. When I woke up my jaw was moving – trying to chew. (Seriously.) Last night, I dreamt I ate a French fry that got lodged whole in the back near the joint. I woke up panicked thinking I'd forgotten and accidentally eaten solid food. I keep waking up to find my mouth moving – trying to chew non-existent snacks.

Really, it's only a month to go, right?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 10

No, Thanks. I'm Stuffed

I remember laughing when the doctors told me they didn't want me to lose any weight during recovery. Not lose any weight?! That's the only perk about this whole procedure. (Oh right. That and breathing.)

I think my views have changed a bit. For the past two days, I've had very few calories. Part of the issue has been the time and effort it takes to clean my teeth and get the elastics back on. (But I'm getting better and have decided to commit to doing it so that I get faster.) The fact is, I need calories to recover and I'm determined to do so quickly. The other problem is we have a house full of "light" foods. Can I tell you now – buy the weird, foreign, full fat yogurts. You know the ones that you scoff at because they're fattening and more expensive. And by the way, they only taste like a million times better than that gel-substance we are all now accustomed to that does not resemble real yogurt anymore.

I didn't notice much in the way of changes to my face today. Still no pain. I take Tylenol-3 before I go to sleep (because my doctor told me to, "Just in case"). The "cello strings" have calmed down, which makes me nervous. I want these nerves to wake up already.

A Couple Pro'lems

My speech has not improved much. I cannot close my lips yet. So if today were my mom's birthday, I'd yell, "Haffy Virthday, Non!" When I really make an effort to close my lips, I get a little dimple in my chin and a little divot in my lower lip that goes down instead of up. These two things look (literally) connected. Hmm.

Ok. So, I'm a speech therapist. If you didn't know, some of us help students with vocabulary and some of us work in hospitals to help people swallow. (EM:TE is such an informative blog!) So I've actually taken classes before in how swallowing works and what to do when there are problems. Well, irony alert. I'm having problems. I've only been eating liquids because I have trouble getting the food back far enough to trigger a swallow and I can't close my lips. (You need to close your lips to help generate pressure and to not squirt Yoplait out of your mouth like a soft-serve machine.) So basically I've been laying down and slurping smoothies. I've had some trouble feeling like I've got food stuck in my throat and it comes back up when I clear my throat.

Luckily, I know a lot of smarty pants people. While I work in a school, some of my speech friends know a lot about swallowing. ("Swallowing Disorders" was actually my lowest grade in graduate school. Crap!) So after some consultation, I am going to try to move on to thicker, blenderized foods, while sitting up 90-degrees-ish. This way gravity can help me swallow and the thicker food won't squirt out of my yogurt-hole. I think swallowing is one of the missing components following this procedure. Doctors spend time telling you what to eat, but not how to eat. Tomorrow I'm going to have two goals: increase my calories and eat thicker (blenderized) foods.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 9


Got up, had a smoothie, brushed, and showered. Then, two hours later... (Seriously.) Went in to see Dr. Kaban. First, and most importantly, they told me that I have the "best oral hygiene of any patient." I asked for a certificate. (I really did.) 

Despite my superior oral hygiene, I had the standard "freshen up" before examination. Is it weird that I'm really starting to like when other people brush my teeth? Btw, after my last dentist appointment, I came up with a new job where your hygienist does house calls to floss your teeth every night. It's called a "floss valet". If I get rich... Sorry, I digress. 

Stint Removal

Holy crap. First off, let me just say my nose is still very, very tender. I was nervous about getting the stints out. Dr. Schwartz very awesomely allowed me to videotape it for my sister. 

It's less gruesome than it felt. I edited out the first 5 minutes and 40 seconds of scissor penetration without success. (Look if I don't use phrases like "scissor penetration", how are you going to even get close to what it felt like? Seriously, reader. Just commit.)

The video is not too gross. View at your own discretion. Do you remember the red rescue cans that the lifeguards on Baywatch held as they ran into the water? Well, two of those were pulled out of my nose. [I strongly recommend you watch in full-screen mode.]

Let me just say – instant relief, intense odors, and air! I've never really been able to breathe through my nose (not without resting my head on my hand and pulling my face to one side opening my nose). Now I just breathe. And everything smells. I walked by a lady and she smelled like vanilla. Ha! Is this what you normal-nosers experience? Wild.

Menu, Please!

Stopped at the store on the way home. I've been craving some real food. I got stuff to make mashed potatoes with lots of butter and half-and-half. I also got guacamole and humus. Real (and typically blenderized in the real world) food. 

Walked home and felt pretty good. Also, didn't drool in public (provided I kept looking slightly up). Yay.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 8

Back to the Orthodontist

My in-laws came by with a cooler of ingredients and a stack of recipes. They were also nice enough to take me to the orthodontist. Very, very nice.

I sufficiently doped-up before I left in case Dr. Murthy wanted to poke around in there. Everyone at Dr. Murthy's office was incredibly nice to me. I could barely see pity or terror in their eyes at the sight of me. They really do make me laugh. So it was fun to see them. And Dr. Murthy barely touched me. (That sounded like court testimony.) But I mean he really just looked me over and recommended changes to the placement and direction of my elastics.

There were some concerns. The midlines (middles of my front two teeth) don't seem to line up. I'll follow up on that tomorrow.


Up until now I really haven't been in much pain. I had some trouble sleeping last night. I got up and took a dose of Tylenol 3. The good news is that I am getting more and more feeling. I've got cello strings being plucked in my lips and chin(s). The nerves are coming back. My chin still feels like a cadaver. What if it is actually the transplanted chin of a pyscho killer? I feel a movie deal coming on!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Speech Sample 1

Thought it might be helpful to keep track of my speech progress. (Oh God, graduate school ruined me.) Here is my attempt to read The Rainbow Passage. If any SLP friends see this, feel free to diagnose me in the comments. Who wants to do a Goldman-Fristoe on me? (That sounds pervy outside of a clinical setting.)

What a Difference a Week Makes!

Got up early this morning after a nice rest. The only current bummer is that I'm draining from my nose so it rolls back into my throat – the one I breathe from. I have to sleep sitting up, so periodically I wake up choking on... well as the doctors say, "I'm having trouble managing my secretions." Wait, that's grosser. Nevermind.

For breakfast, I had a nice, HUGE smoothie. Seriously, I ate for a good long time. It was blended strawberry-amoxicillan. MMM. Watch out Coldstone! Then I really cleaned my mouth hole. I even took off the elastics that hold it together so I could really get in there. The elastics are super hard to get back on, so it its an investment to remove them. When I'm done getting them back on I'm sweaty and have to lie down. Seriously. Spent the rest of the day updating the blog, doing laundry, texting friends. Ah, I feel a lot better.

The Thing About Oxy...

So here's the thing. I am really sensitive to pain medicine. (I'm a cheap date.) But I actually tolerate pain pretty well. But when it comes to nausea I am a WUSS.

I mentioned to my doctors on 900 a few occasions that I did not want Oxycodone because it is too strong for me. Unfortunately, MGH did not "carry" Vicodin in its liquid form. Where am I headed with this? I am SO HAPPY to be off pain medication. Now that I think of it there were few times that I was in pain – ACTUAL pain. Most of the time I was just uncomfortable, hot, dizzy, nauseous, or something else. I know that I can look forward to some spasms and muscle pain as my nerves continue to "wake up" and I use everything more. I got some regular liquid Tylenol and some liquid Tylenol-3 if I need it.

Here is a picture of my current mug. Much less swelling. Still cannot close my mouth. See that really thick, course, black nose hair? (It's rude of you to have looked). That's actually a stitch holding in the stints. They come out Thursday. Can't wait. (I think.) Right? It won't be like a foley removal, right? Seriously, do not google that!

Peace out, non-droolers and droolers alike. My Class IIs and Class IIIs.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back to the Hospital (Early)

I'm not going to lie. I was freaking out a little. I wanted to get back and get looked over by the doctors and get some sort of spray/rinse/DDT or something to kill whatever was growing in my mouth.

I sat head-tipped, tissue to mouth in the waiting area hoping not to drool publicly and wondering if I was going to scare off any future business.

Dr. Smart/Mini-Tom Cruise saw me. He said I did not have an infection. My tongue was a little discolored from the special rinse they gave me and from just being dried out from my mouth not being able to close for so long.

Shoehorns, Boogers, and Tough Love

Two of the doctors took some time to clean up my mouth. They said I'd done a good job. I never brushed the roof of my mouth because I was: 1) scared to, and 2) not sure about those weird lumps. It turned out that the weird lumps were layers of dried medicine that had turned into some kind of stalactites that resembled Froot by the Foot when extracted with tweezers. If you don't know, they brush your teeth with shoe horns to get your enormous lips out of the way. Seriously. A little nuts.

Then he said he'd "clean up my nose". Ok, if you're not in this blog 100%, here's your warning, TURN BACK! If you find you frequently say or type the word "Ew!" then this is your chance to get out now. So, Dr. Smart takes a swab and goes up into my (tender) nose and begins to coax out what Jeff said was the biggest booger he's ever seen in his entire life. I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to get that out of there. I could use my nose again.

The final bit was some tough love. Dr. Smart told me to start talking more. He wants me to practice – reading out loud, reciting, whatever.

I have to say the visit turned around my whole perspective. I had been so scared of my face – scared to touch my jaw, scared to move, scared to talk, scared of pain. He told me the pain is just soreness from use. I got it. I came home, gave up all my pain meds and began working on my s and z sounds. Thanks Dr. That's just what I needed to hear.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Not My Best Day

I'm not sure what is causing this but I'm hot. Really, really hot. I have been on fire since the surgery. But I never got a serious fever and people keep pointing out, "It's not that hot in here." (Really? Did you think an objective opinion was all I needed? Thank you.) I've kept a bowl of ice water and rags next to me on the couch to try to cool down. But no one knows why I feel so hot.

I also have a white, creepy, pitted tongue and I have large lumps on the roof of my mouth that are getting larger. I am worried I have an infection and I'm bummed out.

Its been tough eating. I don't want to eat because it takes forever and even longer to brush my teeth. After I brush I have sweat on my brow. It's intense.

I'm just being a wimp. I dread my medicines except for the nasal sprays (they are like a saline party in a bottle).

I decided to try to get a nice full stomach, take my anti-nausea med, sip some water, and take a half dose of Oxycodone to help me sleep. About 2 seconds after I drank it, I felt super nauseous and BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Filled my little trash can with clear red medicines. I did feel better after barfing. Enough to clean my mouth and go to sleep. I'll call the doctors tomorrow.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

And a Little Dressing on the Side

So far the only thing I can really tolerate is vanilla-flavored Boost. I like my food like I like Kristen Stewart – plain and cold. Ok that was mean. Honestly, I just wanted the joke. Sorry Miss Stewart.

My doctors think that my chin dressing (which distributes the swelling) is pushing a lot of it into my ears causing the dizziness and nausea. I got to remove it tonight in the shower. Can't say I felt a big difference. I was dying to see my chin. Not sure that I see a difference yet. I was secretly (and unrealistically) hoping to look like a character in Superman the animated series.

The good news is I continue to see the swelling go down. Still cannot talk or STOP DROOLING. Seriously, I cannot be upright without drooling like crazy. I've started walking with a tissue held to my lip.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 2/ Day 3

Locked Up Abroad

After my stay in Trump's ICU and Casino, I got moved to "White 6". For those of you unfamiliar with White 6, it is the Turkish Prison of hospital stays. Ok. Perhaps I exaggerate. A record heat wave was hitting the East Coast and everyone said, "You're so lucky to be going into the hospital." Yes, dear friends. Getting your face sawed apart is a great way to get free A/C. You know another way? Going to see Spiderman. As for White 6, it was stale and hot. I was miserable.

I was in a "semi-private" room. Ok. How is something halfway private? Is that like being a semi-virgin? I digress. I was hot, miserable, and my level of care changed dramatically. Why you ask? Why? Because of her... Josie.


A good nurse makes all the difference in recovery. So to all the good nurses, let me just say, "Holy crap. Thank you!" For every profession there has to be a couple stinkers – the Sharon Stones if you will. Many dedicated readers of this blog may already know about my arch rivals: Abraham Lincoln and dolphins. Let me add one more to the list... Josie. 

Josie is a nurse who is comedically crappy at her job. I'd ask her to adjust the heat and she's say, "Let me check." She'd dart out of the room and come back 30-minutes later. I'd ask about the temperature and she'd say, "Let me check". And out she'd hustle. Ok. So I'm complaining. Let me say in my defense, I was very nauseous and the heat made it way worse. Also, Josie did everything slowly – except leave. If I had a question, she'd leave in the middle before I was done. She drove me crazy. At one point, I had to pee. Picture this. The door to the hallway is wide open. I'm confined to my bed holding a portable "urinal." Well, don't actually picture me peeing. Sicko. Anyway, I asked her to pull the privacy curtain. So, she slowly walked over, carefully extended her hand and reached for it, grabbed on to the curtain, sluggishly took a few steps to draw it closed – then, ran out of the room leaving it still gaping open. In the sitcom (entitled "Josie!") my catch phrase is angrily yelling her name when she unknowingly does some hilarious bit like leaving me to try to pubicly pee in a container. Comedic gold! 


When you get moved from one bed to another there is this big blue, weird-strong-fabric thing under you that they attach to a hoist to swing you into your new bed. My next nurse, LouAnne, noticed that they had left it under me. "You must be dying of heat! That thing is so hot." She rolled me around and got it out from beneath me. Sweet Jesus. Contact with a top sheet! It was a new (cooler) world. She brought me ice and rags and was awesome. That reminds me, I hate Josie. LouAnne and Claribelle were super intuitive and knew just how to make me feel better. And in case I was unclear before, Josie did not. In case there is a review board reading this now, if you're bored... Heck, I don't know, I might go do a performance review of someone. But who? I don't know... Maybe Josie? Ok I perseverate. Sorry.


I was set for discharge on day 2, but my doctors gave me the choice to stay. Because I was still so dizzy and nauseous they thought  I should stay another night. Later that evening they had me up and walking to the bathroom. In the middle of the night, I staggered the halls holding on tight to the rail. (Picture Cindy McCain or any Kennedy).

In the morning, guess who my nurse was. Loretta Switt? Nurse Jackie? No, that lovable nut from the hit show, "Josie!" She asked me if I had called for a ride already. Um, seriously? Sure. I dialed the number and held up my dry erase board REEAAAALLLY close to the phone. (Remember, I can't talk.) And also, lovably about Josie, she pretended to understand me when I tried to say something. I'd mumble for new ice for my face pack and she'd say, "Yes it is," then run of of the room.

So, I write down a request for her to call the contact person listed IN MY CHART and she says she will. She comes back (much later) and says, "He'll be here at 10:50, can you be ready?" I look at the clock. It's 10:45. And I still have my IV port attached.


So, dizzy and frantic, I get up, dress, pack, and get in a wheelchair. I also have a ton of prescriptions to get, which Josie said she'd fax to the pharmacy in the hospital so I could get them before I leave. She tells me that I will be picked up out front. I ask, "Did you tell him we need to get my prescriptions here first?"

"You told me to fax them to the hospital pharmacy. So..." she responded in that adorable Josie way.


And off I went home...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 1

The ICU was like a hospital room in Star Trek. It was private. My bed faced a wall of glass which could completely retract. It was quiet and I shared a nurse with only one other patient. It was wonderful.

They woke me up a lot for meds, but I got some sleep. At 6 something, all the oral maxillofacial doctors come in at once to look at you. Its like a flash mob in your room. Dr. Smart is the Tom Cruise of the surgical team. He's confident, handsome, and 4'11. Actually, quick side note. All of the doctors were very good looking. My friends were even like, "Um, what's up with that?" I found it somewhat comforting, because I thought, "Well they won't make me uglier, right?" One recurrent nightmare I expect is Dr. Smart coming at me with two tongue depressors. He would force my cheeks open so everyone could see. Got it, guy in the back? No? Let me try harder. One (secretly) enjoyable part was when the doctor said, "Where were you before" and I said, "PACU." But because I cannot say m, p, or b yet, it sounded exactly like I said, "Fuck you." But they got it (and the joke too).

Here's my day 1 mug:

All the doctors kept saying, "Wow, you look fantastic." (which made me laugh every time.) I kept saying things like, "It's the lighting." But apparently I came through well, with much less swelling than most people (I never got black eyes or smooshy Renee Zellweger eyes).

Later that day, they removed my foley. If you don't know what that is, do me a favor, DO NOT Google it. Move on, dear reader. Move on. I will tell you that whatever it is, it's removal resembles the rapid pulling of a line to raise sails during a regatta.

They had me try to take some meds/food by mouth instead of just through IV. A small sip of water took about 7-10 swallows. It just pooled in the sides of my mouth. Actually, the first attempts just shot out all over me. If you can't close your lips, you just squirt. I got a hand mirror and clear cups (so I could see) and drank lying down which helped get stuff to the right spot. But I drank very little. The doctors were very pleased with the amounts though.

They also wanted me to try to get up and sit in a chair or walk around. I could not. I was extremely dizzy and nauseous. The pressure on my left ear was pretty significant. It was ringing and tight. I was way too dizzy to sit up.

Later in the day I got moved from ICU to coach class.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Surgery - Day 0

Surgery Day

We arrived at MGH and I changed into my "johnny" (aka sick people clothes). I was wheeled down to a bed in a basement with the other people awaiting surgery. I waited for awhile and was visited by a few people who asked me questions. Here's the weird part. I remember when they started to wheel my bed to the operating room. I remember the hallway, then, "Mr. Shull, your surgery is over." Just like that. It was jarring and freaky. They asked me if I was in any pain. I remember saying, "My foot! My foot!" Oh my God, my foot was killing me. It was horrible pain. OK. ok. What the what? They break your face into pieces and you yell, "My foot!" Well, apparently my foot was pressed up against something during surgery for 7 hours. My foot hurt more than my jaw for the next few days.

Here's what I remember of post surgery:

- A very nice nurse taking good care of me.
- Getting very nauseous from the anesthesia. Vomiting lots of blood. No, reader. I really need you to stop and picture it. Don't pull any of that romantic Twilight erotic bloody-thirsty crap either. Don't picture me as Robert Pattinson (I know. It's hard. Try.)
- They told me I had visitors, but I didn't want to see anyone. I was freaked out, bloody, and nauseous. They told me they were going to let one in anyway. (Ok. here's where you just have to know that some nurses just know best. )
- Jeff brought me a bunch of balloons and presents. (Which they did not let him leave with me.) I had pre-recorded messages on my phone in my own voice which was really nice way to communicate. 
Here's me right after surgery. See if you can spot me among my crazy-eyed friends.

I look so terrified in that picture. If it helps, I took it myself. I look so crazy – the earrings, necklace, the red dress... 

They took me up to ICU because of my apnea. They wanted close monitoring of my breathing.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pre-Op Photos

Before and Well, Up to Now Pictures


Sorry for screwing with you. I couldn't resist. It's really too early really for before and afters. But with surgery tomorrow, I did want to show some up-to-now shots.

 This is my "moderately convex" profile. Btw, prior to this process, this is the picture that I avoided my whole life. Do you know how hard it is to avoid letting people see your profile? You have to quickly dart to face everyone. I call it "pigeoning." It's moderately effective.

The next two pictures were very early in the process. Notice no bottom braces yet. In the picture below I drew in a yellow line to point out the arch of my front teeth (which I had never noticed.) That (and my overbite) is why my bottom teeth used to rest against the roof of my mouth.

Doesn't it look like I'm biting down on a French Fried Onion? 

This is my current set of chompers. You can see that my upper arch is wider (less sort of v-shaped) and that my front bottom teeth are more of a straight line. They no longer touch the roof of my mouth.

Here is a (mildly horrific, fairly insane) picture that I can't believe I am about to post in the inter-web. You can see my overjet (which is going away tomorrow) and my severely deviated septum which will go away in another set of surgeries later (probably) next year.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Surgical Hooks in Place

I liked telling people I was getting my surgical hooks placed. They sound gruesome – surgical hooks. Yeah, that's right. They come with a wooden leg and an eye patch. They're placed with rusty pliers by the girl from the movie, The Grudge. Do I sound tough yet? If so, scroll down to the picture of me to undo that image.

Wires, No Elastics

So with one week to go before jaw dismantling surgery, they remove the elastics and use wires to hold everything in place. I love that Janine was apologetic about my not being able to pick out colors. Honestly, colored elastics are the last thing on my mind. Dried blood and sutures are really all I can picture right now. But, she was cool for putting in all the wires and letting me take the picture below which I LOVE. I also (quickly) played them like a musical instrument. (If they let you, take a chance to do that. WORTH IT.)

Surgical Hooks

So the hooks are these little tabs with an open groove at the bottom. She placed one on the wire then used pliers to squeeze the grove closed, locking it in place. She did this all the way around the top and bottom. These hooks will be used to secure my jaws together after surgery (with strong rubber bands).

I'd heard it was painful getting them placed. I was nervous because I didn't get a chance to eat before I went in and was afraid I'd be sore after. But it wasn't bad at all. There was a little pressure as she squeezed the hook closed to lock it in place, but nothing bad.

I also heard that they are bad for eating, brushing, etc. I'll let you know. So far I haven't even whipped out the old wax again. We'll see. I like them because they look like little antennae on my braces (and they help me hear the voices that tell me what do.)

More Importantly... Television

As you probably picked up, a major part of pre-op is selecting the entertainment for when you're recuperating. Obvious choices: Big Brother, Love in the Wild, Design Star. However, I'm branching out! I watched two episodes of True Blood on the way home from Hawaii (to wet my whistle). I was sitting next to a very nice older couple. Mental note: Don't watch an HBO show on a plane. Jump cut to: NAKED PEOPLE. I almost peed. All I could think was, "She things I'm watching porn on a plane." Sorry old lady. My bad.

Heather (who schedules my orthodontic appointments) has urged me to consider Downton Abbey in my convalescent television line-up. I thought it seemed too stuffy, but she promises "scandal." Ok I'm in. 

Follow-Up on the Picture

A couple posts ago, I put up the picture which I sent to my orthodontist of me pretending to forcibly bite down on a macadamia nut. Just so you know, he is an excellent orthodontist, but does not generally seem to appreciate my extreme cleverness stress-induced hijinks. He mentioned the photo and simply said, "Thank you for thinking of us." I'm not sure what he had to clench hard enough to get that out instead of what he really wanted to say. But that's why I like him. Have I mentioned he's a really good orthodontist? : )