Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Infection! Grossss

Hey guys,

So turns out all that leakage was an infection.  I noticed for the first time yesterday that the leakage had completely stopped even when I pressed on my face nothing would come out.  When I woke up today I was super swollen again on my left side.  Common sense would tell you thats because all the stuff that was leaking out, had no place to go anymore.  So when I got to the office for my appointment today, my surgeon knew right away something was wrong.  He told me to open my mouth as wide as I could and told me this might hurt a bit.  He stuck some scissors in my mouth and I guess cut one of the old stitches because nothing really hurt at all.  As soon as he snipped though all of this nasty ass pus came rushing into my mouth.  He was like yeah you smell that, thats an infection.  I couldnt talk because my mouth was full of it all but I wanted to be like smell it? dude that stuff is in my mouth.  So nasty.

So he put some guaze back there right away and I was able to spit everything out in another room where I waited for about half an hour until they came in and he put a drainage tube in the little hole.  He put me on an anti-biotic which I have to take 4 times a day for a week.  I'm going back in on Friday to have the tube removed.

On a good note, I feel absolutely no pain.  If anything I feel like all the tension that was on my left side is gone now even though im still a bit swollen from the infection.  I already feel like I can open my mouth a bit wider just from having all that stuff released out.  I'll update again on Friday after my appointment.

Monday, March 25, 2013

2 Weeks Post Op

Hello readers!

I am now two weeks post op.  I wanted to update and post some pictures to show my progression as far as the swelling is concerned.  I'm still mainly on a liquid diet.  I mostly am still eating different kinds of soups, oatmeal for breakfast, jello, ice cream, applesauce, and protein shakes.  I can open my mouth a bit more so that has made it a little bit easier to eat.  My lower lip is starting to get some feeling back in it although its not much but its enough that with the swelling going down as well, its much less messy to eat.

My chin is still numb and it might be the most annoying part right now aside from not being able to chew and eat normal food.  My chin even as I type this is like throbbing.  Its a mixture of pins and needles and I guess what your hand feels like after being in the cold for too long and then being in warm weather.  I think its gotten worse only because I think the feeling is coming back and the more I feel the more annoying it is cause its not all the way back yet.  I can feel the numbness if that makes any sense haha.

Other than the throbbing numb chin, my teeth still do hurt each time I re-band after eating and brushing.  I've been taking just normal pain medicine to help with the toothaches.  I'm sleeping completely fine and back to normal these days too, no issues.  I see the surgeon again on Wednesday and I'm kind of hoping he says I can stop wearing them to help work my jaw out a bit more and experiment with some other foods.

The stitches on my right side feel like they are almost completely healed, I just have some soreness when I touch my jaw.  On the left side its kind of the same thing as far as the soreness when I touch it, but the inside isn't as healed.  It feels like a fleshy bump and I'm still having that nasty leakage in the back.  I can press the outside of my jaw where the cartilage is built up near where the stitches were on the outside and press and all this stuff leaks out from the inside.  Honestly I still think its like food that gets back there into a little hole thats not completely closed, but it tastes like what a bad breath smells like.  Thats the best I can describe it.  I just hope that closes up eventually, I'm wondering if I'll eventually need another stitch or two to close it or if itll just heal on its on. I'm not tryin to have a hole in my mouth for the rest of my life haha.

Looking at these pictures up close is a bit gross because you can see how dirty my teeth are, and I took these right after brushing.  I had to push back my dentist appointment like a month and half due to the surgery so I should be getting a good cleaning 4/17th.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Meeting with Surgeon and Surgery Cost

Hey guys,

Just wanted to give a quick update.  I went to visit my surgeon again today.  He is again very pleased with the way things are coming along.  I can say between the last two days the swelling has reduced a bunch.  I still talk a little funny because my bottom lip and chin are still numb but everything else seems to be getting vastly better each day.

I told my surgeon about the leakage and he said thats probably due to just a small opening somewhere with the stitches but that its nothing to worry about.  He just said that I should really focus on applying the mouth wash to it with a Q-tip, and to make sure I brush my teeth after each meal to prevent any infection.  He told me I should be taking my rubber bands off for each meal to work the jaw a bit more and brush my teeth and re-band.  He told me that since I'm starting to get the tingling feeling in my lips and cheek (which is extremely annoying by the way) that I should have full feeling back in my lip and chin by next week.  So thats great news.  He didnt even mention the stitches on my face so I guess I can just go over them with a regular razor now and shave.

I told them I would be going back to work on Monday so they completed all the insurance work for me.  She actually told me I could have off longer if I wanted to but we both agreed that it wasn't really necessary and I didn't want to take advantage of the system.  So it appears that at least my 2nd week out of work was covered by insurance and the first week was fully funded by sick time for those who want to know that.

Last night I got an e-mail telling me that I had a new claim update on Aetna's site.  I'm still not 100% sure on this because it wasn't an actual bill.  But I'm pretty sure the total cost of the surgery was about $10,000.  That includes all the surgery itself, hospital bills, shots, medicine and anesthesia, all of it.  My doctor was in the network and I believe I got a significant discount just for that, then my insurance covered the majority of it from there.  Pretty much I think I'm only going to owe $655.  Initially I thought all this was going to cost at least $20k and then my insurance would cover 80% of that so I would owe 4k.  So $655 compared to $4k is pretty amazing, I just hope that really is the case!

I'm feeling a bit lazy and don't really feel like taking pictures right now, maybe tomorrow.  I do have an appointment to see the surgeon yet again next Wednesday.


Monday, March 18, 2013

One Week Post Op


Today is the one week mark from surgery and what a week it was.  I still keep thinking back to the surgery day around this time when I was still feeling absolutely awful.  I'm proud of my progress to this point.  I haven't had too much pain the past day or two.  I still take the drowsy medication at night to help me fall asleep and I've slowly been working my way down from sleeping in an upright position.

My diet has also improved.  I went shopping again today to pick up some more stuff because I can now open my mouth enough to fit soup in.  I actually have been the last two days or so, but I just have to kinda mush up the chunkier chicken parts and once I get it into my mouth I'm able to just mush it up using my tongue.  For snacks I've still been eating jello, applesauche, drinking my milkshakes or gatorades and last night I just tried eating canned peaches which I was able to get down.  I bought oatmeal for breakfast going forward and that is awesome.

As far as my jaw, everything has been going well.  Today and I think yesterday are the first days where I really felt a lot of the swelling go down.  You can clearly see my left side is way more swollen than my right.  It feels the same way in my mouth too like there was alot more stitching that went on.  This is kind of gross but the past two days I've also noticed that if I turn my head to the right stuff like leaks out from the stiched area.  At first it was like dry blood it looked like but its weird because its like super minty, like the taste of mouthwash.  Not that it tastes good but it doesnt exactly gross me out.  I do this a few times a day and rinse my mouth out and then it feels like the swelling is even bigger.  The best way I can put this into words is it reminds me of a blister.  When you pop a blister all that clear stuff oozes out and then it really stings because theres no more lubricant between the skin and the blister itself.  I dont feel any pain when I do it but its just weird.  I see the surgeon on Wednesday I'm going to ask him why my left side is more swollen than my right.  My right side is hardly numb and doesnt really have any swelling at all, it even feels normal inside my mouth.

I'm still wearing the rubber bands, I take them out each morning to brush my teeth and eat and then I'll put new ones in.  The pain from those has gotten better as well so hopefully that means my jaw is learning to move into the correct position.  I've noticed now when I bite straight down, unlike before, everything seems to fit.  Before when I bit straight down my teeth still werent lining up correctly, I would have to shift my lower jaw to the left for things to fit.  I still have the rest of this week off and then I guess I'll be back to work next week.  I'll post again after my visit to the surgeon's office on Wednesday to see what the next step is!

The red mark is where the stitches are.  You can see the yellowish color from the swelling as well.

Whats up with the double chin? haha

I don't know what the white thing is back there but I just hope its not an infection of any sort?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 5

One of two things happened.  Either my swelling has gone down or the feeling in my lower jaw has come back some.  Or maybe both I think I can feel a bit more inside my mouth.  I took the bands out to brush my teeth today and was able to get some dry blood out from the back.  I put the bands back in and as I said I feel like the swelling has gone down at least on my bottom lip a little and I have just a bit more feeling in my chin than yesterday.

I'm still eating mush for food which is pretty bad.  I had mushed up hamburger helper last night and scrambled eggs this morning mushed up.  Neither was really too bad but I just miss the texture I guess its definitely not the same.

Sleeping is still a bit awkward because I'm trying to sit as upright as possible.  The pain hasn't been too bad but I take the pills at night to help me fall asleep and that seems to work.  I'm hoping the swelling really goes down over the weekend but we shall see.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 4

Hi everyone,

I just got back from my appointment with the surgeon.  Everything went really well.  Since the resident doctor at the hospital told me to keep that gauze wrap on my head I wore it to the appointment.  All the staff thought it was pretty funny and said they never saw someone wear that into the office.  Apparently the staff at the hospital was new or something and they said I only really had to wear the gauze for like a day.  They also said I should have had my X-rays done at the hospital.  I specifically asked the resident doctor about that when I was there and he said they would just take them in the office so who knows who was right.

The X-rays were pretty awesome to see though as you can see below.  I cant believe how off my jaw was.  Two of the assistants at the surgeons office were also in a bit of shock and said it was so hard to see that there was anything wrong from the outside but that things look great now.  Also the resident doctor said I only had 2 screws put in on each side when in reality it was actually 3.

My surgeon seemed awfully pleased with his work and he put some new rubber bands in.  I explained that it still feels like my bottom jaw has to move to the left to properly have everything fit like it should and he said thats normal.  He said that my jaw has been biting down like that, off center, all this time so its going to take some orthodontics to fix it and train it to bite down on center.  He said I won't be visiting the ortho until another 1-2 months though.

All the good news I got was that I don't have to wear the guaze warp anymore, he said no more ice, and he said the swelling should begin to come down from here on.  He said I could shower and also shave but just to be careful around the stitches I have on the outside of my face.  He told me to do my best to try to get my toothbrush back as far as possible and do super light strokes but just to help to avoid any type of infection.  They told me to try not to open my mouth when I talk so much.  I asked them about the surgical hooks since it didn't seem like he ever used them.  He said he used them for the entire surgery to hold the jaw where it needs to be when he screws everything in so that was good to know.

I'm scheduled to go back in a week to get the stitches on the outside of my face out.  Can't wait to shower right now!

This was post-op. Look at how straight the brim of my nose got haha. 

This was the day before surgery.  Pretty crazy the whole shape of my face changed!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 3

Quick update for day 3.  Today was very much like yesterday.  I had applesauce and jello for breakfast.  A milkshake for lunch and a blended up chicken wing with gravy for dinner which was pretty tasty.  I did sleep quite a bit since I have been keeping up with my pills.  The swelling is kind of annoying at this point.  I finally took off that hairnet thing that was holding the guaze onto my stitches on the outside of my cheeks.  I going to try to ice it for just like a half hour so I get some direct contact and then put it back on before bed tonight.   I have my appointment tomorrow with my surgeon at noon so I will update after that.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Surgery! Days 1 and 2.

Hey guys,

I made it.  I really want to try to put this post together so as to not scare everyone who hasn't had theirs yet but I'm just going to tell you how things went for me specifically.  Unfortunately my version might not get you so amped for yours although I'm glad I didn't know going into it how brutal the recovery was for the first ten hours after or I would have been dreading this a lot more.

I showed up at 6a and didn't have to wait more than 20 minutes before i was called.  They strip you all the way down and all you wear is a garment they give you and then a robe over top.  You can see the pics below for an actual visual.  As I said before I was only really nervous about what I was gonna do in my down time in the room for so long and the results.  Those should have been the least of my worries.

I don't know what it was but in my head walking into the room where all the people are getting prepped for surgery getting their IVs started and "loopy medicine" going got me super nervous.  You get to meet everyone else who will be in the room other than your surgeon before you get rolled in.  I just compared that walk into that room though like a cow who was about to get slaughtered and had no idea what he was in for.  Thats a terrible metaphor I know but I think the thought of not knowing what was going to happen next just got me so nervous.  They tried putting the IVs in both my hands and the girl wasnt able to hit either vein.   The anesthesiologist said it was because I was so nervous and my veins were retracting.  Eventually she had to do it herself instead of her assistant and they got me going.

After meeting everyone, they roll you into the room and thats when you start feeling the first drug.  Honestly I hardly remember seeing my surgeon, I think I shook his hand and said we'll take good care of you and that was the last thing I remember.  They said I talked to him afterward too but I dont remember that either.

So they asked me if I was in any pain and I remember saying no my joints were a bit sore like a 5, 10 being the worst. They took me up and was so in and out of it.  I drank some water and it felt like I had strep throat.  This was by far for me the worst part.  I don't know if something was unique about my case and they just scratched my through or they had trouble getting it in, I really don't know but thankfully now its subsided to a bad sore throat.

I was being forced to eat jello in little spoonfuls which was also not fun since all I wanted to do was sleep and then after taking percasets about a half hr later I threw up all of it along with a lot of dark blood.  I stuck to morphine from then on and I had an oxygen mask on me to help me breathe cause I kept having shortness of breath and this machine would beep everytime I wasnt breathing in enough oxygen.  This didnt exactly help my throat.  The surgery was at 8a, at about 8pm my mom had already left so it was just the nurse and I and she had me sit up to use mouth wash.  I was able to use that and then the flood gates opened. I said I was going to be sick and she just left me in the room to do my business...I threw up a ton of dark blood I guess that was sitting in my stomach from the surgery.  After that I felt fine.  I'll be honest I wouldve preferred a really bad hangover than go through that again.

I was able to eat water ice and a crushed pennicilin in that at around 1am and I was in an out of sleep most of the night which was good.  Whether or not you want to, you will have to go pee every hr and half at least cause the IV pours in 100 mL of water into your body every hour so its kind of hard not too.  The nurses were greatly helpful though everytime and its vital to have someone there with you for the first 8 hours to help you everytime you want a drink or if you are being forced to eat something like I was. My mom was there for me.

So far I am obviously really swollen.  I have no feeling on my bottom jaw, chin, or lip.  I can feel just about everything else.  Most of the pain is coming from the joints/incinsions they made on the outside of my face to put the screws in.  Apparently they put in 2 screws on each side.  I should get the X-rays to see on Thursday when I go back to visit.

My bite feels great when I bite down like Im supposed to like everything interlocks and I can't stick my tongue out anymore haha. Right now though it just feels like I purposely have to move my bottom jaw to the left for everything to interlock.  The other resident doctor said that the orthodontics will eventually fix that and train my jaw how to bite down properly.  Hopefully this will fix my crooked smile that I had before.

I was able to scarf down breakfast which consisted of cranberry juice, apple juice, and cream of wheat and I had no sickness since that 2nd and final throw up.  I was not expecting it to be so bad from everything I've read but I'm just so glad its over.  Apparently the swelling is supposed to get even worse in the next two days and then gets better from there so we shall see how it goes.  I was able to check out of the hospital at 10 am today, the day after.  I'll have plenty of time to kill so I'll post once each day with pics to show my progression.  Let me know if anyone has any questions if you're reading this now or even a year or two for now.  Sorry if I scared anyone!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Night Before Surgery

Hi everyone,

Well this is it.  My last night with a bad bite.  I guess I don't really have much to say but I wanted to at least make a post and load some final pics up.  Everyone keeps asking me the same questions pretty much.  What exactly am I having done.  How long will I be out for and how long is the surgery.  Am I nervous.  So I guess I'll answer those.

I'm having lower jaw surgery only.  My jaw will be moved back 2-3mm and to the right 1mm.  The jaw will be turned counter clockwise to go up and behind my front teeth like they are supposed to for the proper bite.  Both jaws should fit together like a puzzle piece.  The surgery is 2 hours long and I will be sedated for 3.  The surgery is at 8am and I have to be at the hospital by 6 am.  I don't even know if I'm gonna be able to sleep tonight.  I am staying over for one night and that brings me to the "am I nervous" question. 

The only thing I'm nervous about is being bored in the  hospital since I should be awake by like noon I think.  I'm just going to be laying there with nothing to do I feel like.  Perhaps I'm underestimating the power of the drugs they will give me since this is my first surgery ever.  A lot of people told me I will probably just sleep all day, but I'm the type of person that once I'm up, its very difficult for me to fall back to sleep.

The other thing I'm nervous about,and honestly I don't think it would be normal for any person not to be about this, but I'm nervous about the results.  The surgeon said that it is going to be very hard for people to notice any outside physical change to my face.  I feel like something has to and will change though even if its subtle and I just hope its for the better.  Otherwise I'm really not nervous about anything else.  I donate blood like 5-6 times a year so needles don't bother me at all so I wont have any problem "going under."

It's funny to me how impatient I've been with this whole process and now that the day is here I want to say wow that was really fast haha.  After this is over, I feel like it will just be a countdown until the day the braces come off, but I understand there is still a lot of orthodontic work that still needs to be done to fully fix my crossbite and get everything aligned.

If anyone is curious as to how long its been since I first got my braces on and doesn't feel like scrolling back to the first post like I've done viewing a lot of blogs I'll make it easy for you.  I got my braces on 12/1/12 and my surgery is 3/10/13.  15 months and ten days.  I feel like that is a little bit longer than normal, but I think I said before this ortho and surgeon are perfectionists so I guess I can't complain too much.

Alright well once again this is all new to me so I have no idea when I'll be good enough to post some pics along with an update but I will as soon as I'm able to. Wish me luck!