Saturday, August 14, 2010

a long and boring story about my broken jaw

My last trip to the oral surgery clinic, the doctor gave me some bad news. When I was first told that my jaw would have to be wired shut, I was told that it would be for five weeks. This, of course, was the last thing I wanted to hear. The next day, when I went back for the surgery, I was given the much more hopeful prognosis of two weeks of wires followed by two weeks of rubber bands. Still pretty miserable, but considerably better.

So it was on Tuesday that I went back with the expectation that the wires clamping my teeth together would be removed and replaced with rubber bands. While I would still have limited motion in my jaw, this would allow me to open my mouth and ingest soft foods. This would make a huge difference in my quality of life, so I was really looking forward to it— I would be able to talk more clearly, yawn without the discomfort of trying to wrench my wired teeth apart, and brush the inside of my mouth. Most importantly, I'd be able to eat mashed potatoes, yogurt, eggs, polenta... really anything that was soft and mushy.

In addition to being a rather unpleasant sensation, having to strain all my food through my teeth means I have to painstakingly remove all the seeds or bits of skin in all my soups or smoothies, which can take over a half hour at times. With rubber bands, this would be a thing of the past. Additionally, I'd be able to lick my lips again! Fit a spoon inside my mouth! All the simple pleasures of feeding oneself that we usually take for granted!

Alas, that was not to be. When I arrived, the interns consulted my chart, which said I was due to get the wires off. I allowed myself to believe it was almost over. Then my doctor, Whitney, came in and said she would have to double check before she went ahead and freed me. Uh oh.... Sure enough, when she came back, it was to tell me what I had been secretly dreading all along. Not only would there be two more weeks of wires, but there would also be two weeks of rubber bands after that, extending my healing process by 50%.

Even though I had suspected something like this might happen, I still couldn't believe what she was telling me. I had been so close to release, and it had slipped right through my fingertips, leaving me utterly dumbfounded and distraught. I was a total wreck after I left the hospital. Then on top of that, I tried to use my Optimum Rewards card for free tickets to Middle Men, and the movie was sold out a full two hours beforehand. So was Dinner for Schmucks, and pretty much everything showing before 8:00. At 4:30. I was absolutely livid. We're talking black out levels of rage. It was NOT a good day. I was a total wreck.

By the next day, I had begun to resign myself to being locked in the prison that is currently my mouth until the first week of September. It sucks, but it is what it is. That being said, I still don't understand why they didn't just give me the 6 week time line up front.

My jaw broke in two places. Up by my left temple, on the top, and on the bottom on the right front. The upper break is apparently held in place by the joint itself, or something, but if the wires holding my teeth together were to be removed, the lower break would shift around and not heal properly. Obviously, this is something I'd like to avoid, so I understand the necessity of leaving the wires on. What I don't understand is why anyone at the clinic ever thought that two weeks of full wires would be sufficient. The nature of my injury hasn't changed, so if two weeks aren't enough now, why would that have been long enough when I was initially wired? I wish they had just set me straight with this awful 6 week time line from the get go, instead of leading me to believe I'd be in the clear in less than a month. That made it that much worse.

Regardless, there's not much that I can do about it now. I sulked for a bit, and then I figured I had better cook some soups for myself since I was out of Ensure and not looking to buy more. (That stuff tastes funny.) I've gone on long enough for tonight, but I do have some food to talk about, not to mention the super sweet puree party my roommate Laura organized in my honor. I'm bummed that I'm still on all liquids, but at least I've got lots of food in the fridge for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment