The pain is finally leaving underneath my lower lip and just above my chin. It still feels a little tight but pain isn't a big problem now anywhere. I'm still feeling a weird, tingly numbness in my lower lip and all throughout the area under that --- all the way to my chin. But those pesky pains around my ears and jaw joints have cleared up. And over all, I'm feeling GREAT!

One of the reasons I'm feeling great lately is because I finally got the bands off on Monday. Hooray! No more Bummer, no more Bill .... am on my own. At least for a while. I heard that my ortho was planning to put new bands in so took a pass on my 6 week post op visit to ortho so that I could enjoy one entire, glorious week without bands!

I even at a soft piece of egg bread with butter today. Yum!

And here's a recipe you will love if you're into applesauce. I came up with it after searching the web for the best alternative to apple pie while still in the bands.

Wonderful Applesauce -- Satisfies the Craving for Apple Pie
INGREDIENTS:
3-4 lbs of a good quality apple (try Granny Smith, Fuji, etc.)
4 strips lemon peel
Juice of one lemon
3-inch cinnamon stick
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

NOW DO THIS:
Put all ingredients into a big pot. Cover and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer it for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stiks and lemon peel. Mash with potato masher.

Serve hot or cold over ice cream or just plain on its own. It's delicious.

TIP: Add butter if trying to add calories while you're banded. That will also make it richer and taste more like apple pie.

April 15 / 37 Days Post Op

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Wow! Has it been 37 days already!!??

No wonder I feel so good. Things are definitely looking up. At least for everything except my bands. They have been snapping off left and right and when they aren't coming off they are snapping every time I try to eat something. This morning, I was talking with my mom on the phone and she remarked on how amazingly clear I sounded. I thanked her for that and said that "yeah, I actually felt like I was talking almost normally again!" Then, I felt around in my mouth for my bands and noticed that both back bands had come off! I have no idea when or where. Was it while I was sleeping? Brushing my teeth? Did I swallow them with my Cream of Wheat?

The important thing is, I get them off on Monday and this is Thursday and I'm not going to freak out about it. I have a few extras and I'll try to keep putting them back in, but I'm assuming they aren't quite as crucial now as they were before or doc would have given me tight enough bands to stay in. These Bill's have a mind of their own.

I have to admit to a fear of swallowing them. Can't wait until they're off entirely.

Have started getting out a fair amount again. Getting lots of exercise again. Last weekend had Pho Noodles and loved every minute of them but couldn't eat the meat -- no loss. Tonight I had a burrito and managed to enjoy the entire thing. Last week made a killer apple sauce -- home made and fantastic. (Will provide recipe.) It's all looking up.

The only disturbing thing is that I noticed a small section of my left lower gum that's a little numb. I mean numb to the point that I can't really feel it when I touch it. That worries me. But even if it stays, I suppose it's a small price to pay.

I love my new profile. I love my new burst of energy. And I'm amazed at how quickly the whole thing about jaw surgery devolves into a thing about food.

(Made Pizza Soup again tonight. Yeah!!)

My first official day for chewing soft foods.

So, I've had a sudden burst of energy lately and feel like I can take on the world. Most of the pain is gone now, except that I still have that maddening numbness all around my chin and my lower lip. I have feeling, but the feeling I have is really odd --- very weird, sort of tingly, like I'm on Novacaine.

I've taken to wearing my tinted lip balm again (Vaseline by night but Bobbie Brown by day) and I've found myself having to really guide that tube around my lower lip so as not to end up looking like one of those old ladies whose lipstick is a little off the rails. Can't wait for my jaw to thaw!

I'm past most of the pain -- it's been more than a week that I've even thought about taking Tylenol.

Spring has sprung and I've started thinking about new projects I want to take on. So I met my kids after school and swept them off to the college campus where I'd planned to take some classes this semester. Driving was cool. Parking wasn't too bad....we actually found a spot. Waiting in the registration line started to get to me. Finally, when it came my turn and they couldn't find me in the database, I had to talk -- a lot -- to help the admin clerk find my name in the database. It's not that I mind talking -- but these rubber bands look stupid and fthey vibrate like violin strings every time I open up my mouth. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with self consciousness at the way I sounded, the way I was struggling to be understood, the way these rubber bands were strung over my incisors!

Finally, we headed for the cafeteria, and oddly, I could find nothing in the entire place to eat. They didn't have soup. I couldn't eat salad. I couldn't eat sandwiches. I couldn't do pizza. Even the lukewarm chow mien noodles I finally settled on kept getting caught on my braces, caught in my rubber bands, and finally, caught on my good mood! By the time I got home, two of my bands had broken. So much for Bill!

EggAndToaster01.jpgIt's been an encouraging week now that I'm off the Bummer bands and onto the Bill. It's the weekend before the Monday that I'm supposed to start chewing so I get a little giddy -- soft boil an egg, what the heck, I soft boil two eggs! Why not? I tentatively break into the delicate layer of shell with my spoon, break into the pure white oval surface, and dip into the golden, luscious, lovely soft boiled yolk. It is absolute perfection. I didn't even have to go through my usual routine of boiling and spoiling again and again and again until coming up with one egg of the right consistency. But I actually managed to get two. So, while my family is asleep, I indulge in this guilty pleasure. I can eat an egg. I eat two eggs.  But for the moment at least, my toaster with have to remain empty. Doc says it will be at least July, maybe October before I can really chew tackle toast!

Post Op appointment with doc again on Monday and the bad news was no chewing yet! Not for another week! The good news is I'm not out of "bummer" bands and into bands called "bill". Ask me how I like them? If I could smile without cracking my face in half, I would. I love these new bands!!!!

For one thing, for the first time in a month, I have actually been able to brush my teeth inside and out! All of them. I can open my mouth one finger's width now, and that's enough for me to get my teeny, tiny, baby toothbrush inside and really brush. I have to take care not to brush the bands off the hooks, of course, but this is really cool. I haven't had such a clean mouth in weeks! Still doing the salt water rinse every day, too. And a nice cool Tom's of Maine, no alcohol mouthwash.

For another thing -- I can eat!!!! Sort of. Even though I'm technically not ready for the soft food diet or chewing yet, these Bill's do allow me just enough room to slip a spoon or fork in there. So what the heck --- last night I tried a baked potato with butter and sour cream. Except for the skin it was sublime!

TIP: It's a good idea when your doctor starts to set your next appointment at the two week mark, to ask for extra bands. A LOT of extra bands. I found that none of my bands really wants to make it past a week, and the closer you get to chewing, the more likely your bands are to break.

Yesterday they snapped. One, two, three ... all day long it seemed I was hearing a snap, crackle and pop in my mouth as one after another of my rubber bands broke. Why? No reason other than the doctor didn't change them on my last visit and they apparently had been stretched to the limit --- Monday would have been their two-week mark.

But it was funny, because early in the day yesterday I'd asked my son whether he thought I looked any better after the surgery and he said, "From the side, yes! Now, from the front, if you could just get rid of those rubber bands...."

That seems to be all that it took because after that it seemed like every few hours a rubber band snapped until my jaw was left nearly totally unguarded, except for one little rubber band in the back left!

I was amazed at how strange it felt to be free (at least partly), and how creaky it felt to take a few little stolen little moments of moving my jaw up and down. I didn't do much so as not to throw anything off, but it was a kick moving my jaw again. My husband picked up new bands at doc's on the way in to work today, so I was able to experience one day practically unbanded. No big deal in terms of eating. Still thinned out oatmeal and such, but I did manage to get down one real dinner or the closest thing I've come to one in a LONG time before putting the bands back on.

We had chicken teriyaki over rice. I cut my chicken and broccoli into tiny, small pieces, and put mine with a little extra teriyaki sauce over mashed potatoes. Tonight, I actually ate with the family! Sure, I had to eat slowly and use chopsticks (which I love anyway, and which worked better than a spoon in these circumstances) -- but there I was chewing little, tiny pieces of real chicken and real broccoli, and the blender, for once, sat all alone on the shelf.

After dinner, I did my normal salt water wash and reluctantly stepped back into the new bands that the doc gave us. Know what they are called? "Bummer." No kidding.

This is day 22 post op and I can hardly believe that I've made it this far already. Time does fly. On the other hand, it would have been crawling if I had opted for my second offered surgery date, which would have made the surgery March 31 -- today!! No thanks. I'd much rather be on this end of the scale.

Speaking of scales, I've lost 12 pounds and haven't been complaining. My only worry is that I'll gain it all back the minute I can lay my hands on a piece of bread again. For now, about as close as I get to anything levened is to look, and smell, and move it around the kitchen offering pieces of toast and sandwiches made with fresh bakery bread to husband and kids who generally turn their noses up at it -- "sorry, not hungry." What an embarrassment of riches we suffer in this country!

What I wouldn't give for one lovely slice of fresh baked bread slathered with butter. I asked doc when that will come back into my life. "July, maybe," he said. "Except for Wonder Bread." He squished his fingers together. "That -- maybe, next week." I doubt that we could even find Wonder bread with the epicurean grocery stores we've got in our area. But even if we do, I think I'll pass. Or maybe order some flaky bake-able biscuits I saw on the Williams Sonoma website.

The whole food thing has really been eye opening for me. It's amazing, the hold food has over our psyche. It's truly incredible to be on the outside temporarily and to have a chance to reflect upon it. I have to admit that it isn't physical hunger that I have felt so much since having my teeth banded -- after all, there is always something you can find to fill your stomach with. (A day or so ago, I was having a terrible food day -- when absolutely nothing worked out. That may have been the day the blender broke.) Finally, I found salvation in 16 oz of buttermilk. Ahhh, that feeling of a full stomach. It put me at peace.

But there's something else about food that I'm thinking of that goes beyond a full stomach. It's more the absolute power that food (thinking about it, planning for it, shopping for it, preparing for it, eating it) has in our lives. The driving force it seems to be for some much of the day. And, I hate to admit it as I'm always psychologically hungry for something I can't have, it seems --- but it's also the sense of freedom from food that I have secretly appreciated. It worries me to know that once I am freed from the bands, I will once again be subject to the American way of food --- absolute, endless abundance --- a myriad of choices to make, and junk food at every corner.

Before I went in for jaw surgery, I wanted to taste everything in sight. And I started taking mental notes about how everything tasted. First, there was the "last" MacDonald's cheeseburger. Bun a little squishy and borderline soggy where the ketchup seeps out. Burger and melted cheese tossed in there like an afterthought, not even touching one end of the bun, fries hot for a change, but still not life changing. Then, there was that last pastrami sandwich. Piled too high with pastrami, restaurant style and I had to pick most of it off anyway. Bun, too soft. Too soggy. Too much mustard. That last croissant, a little congealed at the ends and too buttery in the crust. The only meal I truly loved every second of in the last month before surgery was the petite little steak grilled just right and the fresh, crisp salad.

Still, it's been an enormous struggle finding satisfying things to eat. Between breaking blenders, splattering Baby Cook steamer/blenders that are great but (as I discovered) not made for liquids, and the hit-and-miss nature of recipes found on the Internet, it's been "fun."

Cucumbers.jpg

Still, one thing did come through for me today. That is cucumbers ---- one of my favorite foods from childhood. I searched and searched and searched for a chilled cucumber soup recipe that would strike my fancy and finally just made up my own:
Peeled cucumbers (as many as you like)
One clove of garlic (or two if you use a zillion cukes)
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of buttermilk
salt & pepper to taste
and a blender that does liquify

It really hit the mark.

Now, if I can just find a solution for frozen ice block chapped lips, puffy, tingly chin and somewhat aching lower face.


21 Days Post Op/Pizza Soup it is!

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OK. Once the thought was there, I couldn't get it off my mind. Pizza soup. It got a hold of me and wouldn't let me go. I searched the web and came across a version of this recipe for crock pot pizza soup, and guess what? It worked!

Crock Pot Pizza Soup
1 jar pizza sauce
3 empty jars full of water
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup baby tomatoes diced
2 precooked Italian sausages
1 cup sliced pepperoni, sliced in quarters
8 fresh basil leaves
1 T dried oregano
1/2 to 1/3 cup dried pasta
shredded mozzarella cheese (to add later)

Directions:

Use a 5-6 quart crockpot for this recipe. Wash and prepare veggies. Put them into the crockpot. Cut up the sausages and add them to crockpot. Cut up pepperoni and add it, too. Add basil and oregano. Pour in the pizza sauce, and follow with three empty jars of water.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. Everything is already cooked so you are just heating through.

30 minutes before serving turn to high and add tiny pasta. Garnish with mozzarella cheese.

This soup smelled great and looked like it tasted great. I couldn't get enough of looking at it in the pot and savoring the wonderful smell of pizza cooking in the kitchen -- and it was liquid! I even ladled up a cupful without blending it and although all I could do was sip the broth, it was wonderful. Later I blended it and that was once again, the kiss of death. The wonderful clarity of the soup, the individual ingredients, the melody of luscious scents, once again came out to one blended mash.

Fortunately, I saved some aside for my husband to eat the normal way, bits, pieces and all. And I strained the rest for myself which makes a fantastic broth, indeed.

TIPS: Mushrooms, for some reason, don't seem to blend well. And, blenders, for some reason, don't last well for people who are on jaw surgery aftermath. My trusty Kitchenaid bit the dust after heavy duty 3+ times a day major use.

Day 20 Post Op/March 29 2010

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Visited the doctor today and he said I look great. I'll take him at his word because when I look in the mirror I sure don't see it. I think I look better. Most of the swelling has gone done by now, but whatever residual swelling was left seems to have dropped to my lower jaw and chin area where it's still a little puffy and makes me look like I have insta-jowels.

The other thing that's been bothering me is the fact that I have a lot of pain along the stretch just under my lower lip and above my chin. I wondered about an infection but husband thinks that because my jaw was moved forward 1/4" there will be about 1/4" of stretching in the muscles of that area. I hope he's right and not me. I don't want this to be an infection.

Surprisingly, the doc didn't even look inside to check for infection but he questioned me pretty thoroughly about what type of pain I was experiencing and seemed content that it wasn't the sort an infection would cause.

Additionally, I got a whole lot of tingly quasi numbness in my lower lip. Nerves constantly dancing around in there. My chin also feels tingly and full, like there's water inside. More swelling and readjusting nerves I would suppose. I don't worry much about it and I feel utterly confident it will all come back together and be normal again. But I sure hope on this one, I'm right.

On Sunday we got a real sunshine day in. Took the kids rollerblading and we walked. Took them past the high school they'll go to someday and walked the path to the park where they tossed off their shoes and played. It definitely did my heart good. First real outing in a while. After a couple hours of walking and watching the kids play we were hungry. That's when I had my freak out moment. The last thing I wanted was more hot soup and Jamba Juice is just too many calories for one meal for me. We needed to feed the family but what about me!? Ended up at Hobees with a creamed poblano chilel soup -- good enough, I suppose, but it didn't alleviate my feeling of my jaws being in lockdown!

Today, at the surgeon's office, his big news for me was that next week, if all is going well, he's going to give me looser bands and voila! I will enter a new world. A world in which I can chew.

After 20 days in bands and on a liquid diet life, it would be an understatement to say that life gets tedious. Every day, I watch my husband and kids eat .... most days I still do a fair amount of food prep for them, only to finally sit down with my own cup of broth. Yes, I know I can get adventurous here. I've tried cottage cheese blended with milk and tuna fish. I've given in to the glories of chilli with shredded cheese (yum! almost as good in a blender as the real thing). And I've been thrilled to find Cream of Wheat going down so well. But in truth...lunch, snacks, and dinner for me have still mostly ended up being pureed soup or broth.

I've eaten so much broth, in fact, and heated soups that the tip of my tongue feels like it's becoming permanently burned.

But tonight --- I realized something else that's been missing from my life. Chocolate! Not just any chocolate, but deep, rich, dark chocolate -- the kind that melts in your mouth and takes very very little stimulate that lush, rich place inside that nothing but chocolate satisfies.

I can peek my tongue a little ways out of these somewhat looser bands and chocolate melts in the mouth, so what the heck, I start rummaging the pantry for chocolate. I find numerous bars of amazing varieties of deep chocolate, most of them the kind my husband likes. But I'll give it a go. I try to break off a smaller (much smaller) than normal piece and put it up to the little tip of my tongue that can make it between my teeth. Too big. Darn. Too chunky, although it's a very slim little sliver. Doesn't melt quickly enough to work. I try a smaller piece of the bar and it's still too much. Finally, I flake off tiny pieces with the edge of a knife and realize that it will take me the rest of the night to be able to enjoy one small square of chocolate at this rate.

Then, it hits me. Two days before surgery, when I was still in my food-crazed mode of stocking up everything I knew I would miss, I came out of a salon and walked past a tea and chocolate shop. Stopping inside to see what delights waited inside, I saw the loveliest cans chocolate mix that you can imagine...Arbuelo. It's the same wonderful chocolate we tasted last year at Legoland but generally stay away from due to the prohibitive cost. That day, I picked up two cans. Feeling a little more secure but nearly forty dollars lighter I brought the precious cans home and hid them on the coffee shelf.

ArbueloChocolate.jpgArbuelo is amazing. It's a chocolate mix that doesn't require milk -- just mix with water but make no mistake, this is no Swiss Miss. If you follow the directions exactly, Arbuelo whips up into the smoothest, silkiest, deepest, darkest, mellowest cup of hot chocolate you can imagine. Just a half cup. That's all one serving makes and likely all you'll need. I topped mine with a dollop of whipped cream and for a while at least, kept the tedium demons at bay.


Chili, Meds and Misting/17 Days Post Op

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Big breakthrough on the food scene yesterday. I realized that one thing that's been sorely lacking in my diet is fiber. Because I'm not big on throwing additives into my foods, I thought I'd try a simple packet of Quick Cream of Wheat made with an extra 1/3 cup of hot water and a touch of butter and brown sugar. It was great. No blender needed. And I wasn't about to stop there. No soup for dinner! This time I made chili, home made real deal chili, the way I always make it, and a fresh pot of home made mashed potatoes.

That was great!

I discovered that a small amount of mashed potatoes in the blender along with some chili thinned out with extra tomato sauce and chili powder is actually quite palatable. Throw some shredded extra sharp cheddar on top and a little of the chili sauce out of the pan and it's almost like having a real meal.

But this isn't all about food. It's about other things too, like the weird tingling that feels like ice cubes breaking over different parts of the chin and jaw, and the pain that seems to gather around my lower jaw, especially when I sleep. This morning I woke up feeling pain directly in the hinge of my jaws. Pain, too from my lower lip to my chin. But I'm not complaining because this all means I've got feeling back -- and according to my doc my bite is perfect -- words I thought I'd never hear.

I haven't used pain meds for almost 2 weeks except before bed. Then, I take 5ml of the oxycodon. Even with that amount I sometimes wake up feeling a little drugged, so I'm cutting it back now to 2.5ml before bed and soon I will stop altogether. Yesterday, we pulled the plug on the misting machine. I'm still a little congested but husband thought the mister was making him sick so we stopped and I'm ok with that.

What the heck --I'm ready to get out of the house. It's spring!

Pizza Soup, Anyone?

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This was supposed to be the big sunshine day. The first day back to normal.

Finally, today I woke without the massive low grade pain that seems to gather around my lower jaw as I sleep, and I felt clear eyed and ready to take on the day.

Took my daughter's hamster out for a run in her ball through the living room, kitchen and backyard. A windy, sunny, California March day. If it's good enough for a hamster and our basking-in-the-sunshine cat, then it's good enough for me. So I started to make plans.

In my fantasy, I was going to head for the track. Walk a few brisk miles, then head to the local outdoor market and pick up all the luscious goods for lasagna. I could almost smell the rich, bubbling mozzarella crust as I saw myself take the casserole out of the oven. But as I continued through the movie in my mind, I realized that once the lasagna had cooled enough to settle and been cut, and my family had settled into their places at the table with their portions, I would be at the blender deftly turning mine into mush. And I decided to skip it.

I can't seem to overcome my disgust with the thought of eating out of a feeding tube/syringe. Mine are still wrapped in plastic. My philosophy is if it's in a cup drink up. But keep it thin or it won't go in.

Never made it to the track as logistics got in the way. Kids bounced in from school starved and I fed them the reheated remains of a pizza which they savored and I found myself staring and considering the possibilities of making a pizza soup. Hmmm, now if only I could get past the thing about adding liquids, blending it up, and straining...

I settled for a cup of tomato soup with grated Danish Havarti and chili powder.

Bands off in 3 weeks which my daughter says to cheer up about as that's better than four weeks. So I carry on. Onward and upward. And all those platitudes. And in the end it was just another day of yearning to be put back together again but for now, still locked in rubber band land.

TIP: Keep lots of flavorings around -- powdered Japanese chiles, chile powder, tabasco, chilula sauce, 1/2 cup of curry from an Indian restaurant that can add amazing flavor to a soup! Anything to keep the fires burning.

12 Days Post Op/March 22, 2010

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I can hardly believe that it's already been 12 days since surgery. I've gotten into the flow of things I suppose but there are still challenges to be had. For one thing, the diet is a real drag. But I'm finding some things that really work.

First, I was really excited last week to get my first set of lighter bands on as I knew this meant I was ready for my blender diet. That is until I started reading about what a blender diet really is. And later, when I had time to experiment, I realized that not everything that tastes good together apart is going to taste good together...

I did find that take out Thai soup blended and strained works well. And today, I experimented with cottage cheese, milk and a little tuna fish. Not bad. A few days ago, I tried tempera udon with only a few of the noodles blended up and only the broth and veggies blended....very good, indeed.

Other than food -- there are other things. I still have pain but I don't take many pain meds any more. In fact, I am only taking the pain medication oxycodon at night and only a small dose of that. It helps me sleep and cuts the pain that could prevent me from sleeping. The pains I've been feeling lately are different from the original ones. Now, the pain is in my ears and at my jaw joints, and below my lips and above my chin like the muscle is stretched there really tight. I also feel a lot of weird tingles and prickly sensations in my chin and around my jaw line but this is a good thing as it means the sense are all coming back in my nerves.

Sometimes, I get little headaches -- nothing serious, but small headaches that feel related to the pain. And most of all, I've been feeling a little down and depressed. Not sure if this is some sort of a vitamin deficiency or not. I told the doctor that today and he said, "Sunshine! Get out in the sunshine." And I think he might be right.

FrogVaporizor.jpgTIP: Use a vaporizer for very dry lips and nasal congestion. I use my misting machine by my bedside each night. Experiment with foods but don't feel obliged to eat it when that Reuban soup that looked so interesting on the internet came out of the blender looking like dog food -- dump it and start with something new!

DAY 4 Post Op (March 12, 2010)

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This is getting old. Really old. I am tired of laying around and I get tired walking around. I think it's something about the lack of food that's getting to me. I am normally a fan of soup but broth is beginning to get very old. We've experimented with beef/veg broth, and tortilla soup broth, and lots of diff. kinds of chicken broths....anything that can be strained to a simple clear fluid, but in the end, it's all just broth.

I have come to realize that in phase II of this thing --- after the shock of getting through the surgery and the amazement that I can breathe and read and all of those things (I can even drink with a cup!) --- then comes the dreadful phase of seeing myself in the mirror and realizing that not only am I swollen up like a chipmunk, but that I cannot change my expression. No matter how hard I try, my face seems to be frozen into a strange Japanese Kabuki mask. Not only that. It's a kabuki mask with a frown. And my head seems to be about 6 times bigger than normal. And the lower half of my face and my neck are covered with bruises.

Now, normally, I'm a smiler. I smile all the time. But suddenly, I've got this weird, swollen, worried look plastered on my face and with my teeth so tightly banded shut, I can't change my expression.

Today, my three year old niece was here and she covered her eyes. "We don't need to look at that. We don't need to look at that!" she said peeking through her fingers. Even a homemade chocolate chip cookie couldn't entice her to give me a hug. By the end of the visit, she came around and even let me kiss her, but if I had any illusions of looking good (or even reasonably human) those were smashed today.

My doctor said, "Day four post op should be your peak swelling day. " My doctor said, "Do not speak!" My doctor said, "If you move your jaw around, you could end up with the pins coming loose and that would be a real mess! You could end up with more surgery!"

Not that, please.

In a house where I am the main talker, what to do.

Get tired. Go to sleep.

TIP: Don't invite company over on day 4 post op!

I don't feel too well today. There is some pain in my lower jaw area but I don't want to take the pain meds. Liquid Tylenol is too thick and yucky  and I don't feel I can keep it down well. Liquid Oxycodon is easy to take and keep down but it sends me right to sleep and I want to be awake. I've also heard from nurse (my sister) that it's supposed to be given with a stool softener as it's constipating...

Now, there is lots of bruising below my cheeks, especially on the left hand side but both sides have got it and also my neck. I look like a cross between a beaver and a hamster. Pain, pain, pain. Maybe, I should reconsider that pain medication thing. I want to be up and about but really don't feel like doing anything except laying around and then walking around the house. Everything tires me out. It's the clear broth/liquid diet that's getting to me. I feel weak. I did take a shower and that felt great. It definitely helps clear up the nasal passaged. Washed my hair. Drank a glass of ginger ale and had two cups of broth. Yeah, this diet is boring.

At least I can read!

STILL DAY 3

Jaw pain! Not searing pain, but noticeable. We're cutting up a Tylenol pill and going to put that in juice to see if it works. I just can't bear the thought of being knocked out by a narcotic right now.

TIP: get a simple Radio Shack intercom. Makes a huge difference and when you're banded, like me, you can just press the call button w/o talking. My doctor stressed that --- no talking. Keep the teeth clenched. I've got a notebook full of notes to husband, notes to kids, notes to self. Harder not to talk than you might think.

TIP: Keep your ice pack on for the first 24-36 hours. Keeps the swelling down later.

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