There are a few topics I have not covered during the telling of my story. Plus there are a lot of pictures I still haven’t posted. My last orthodontic appointment is in three days and I should have comparison pictures then. Until then, I will do my best to wrap up everything else with this post.
This is the X-ray of my jaw post surgery. I still have the braces on my teeth but you can also see the titanium screws in my jaw bones, the screws and plates in my chin as well as those in my upper jaw.
During talking about my recovery the one topic I did not cover is one of the most obvious: how I managed to feed myself. Since my jaw was held shut for six weeks, and for half of that I was unable to move it despite the elastics, I was forced into eating on a liquid diet. It was eating through a tube.
To be exact it’s a rubber tube, about the size of a straw, attached to an over sized syringe. Anything I ate had to be liquid and fine enough to be forced out through the straw. I couldn’t produce suction strong enough to eat things like soup through a straw (for the first few weeks I couldn’t even produce enough suction to drink anything, let alone soup) so the syringe was the only option I had.
The big risk here is that being restricted to a liquid diet is not the most versatile diet, which means it’s easy to begin losing weight. When you’re recovering from major surgery losing weight is not ideal. My doctors didn’t want me to lose more than 10% of my body weight during my recovery and given that I didn’t weigh much to begin with I didn’t have much leeway. In the end I didn’t lose any weight during the whole ordeal, so that was a pleasant surprise, to both me and my doctors.
I ate a lot of soups and blended shakes, plus some of those soups were blended as well. For a while I had only tomato soup, since it is all liquid but after a while that became boring. Soups had to be blended very fine to make it through the straw without clogging. My mom started looking for powder based soup mixed so that it would be easier for me to have a variety. The shakes were more to fill in the gaps in my diet, with a lot of protein and Ensure to round out the vitamins.
All of my medication was liquid and taken through the syringe as well. There was a lot of them, and I had a schedule. Every few hours I was taking something. Most of them were diluted a bit with water just so there was enough liquid for the syringe to draw it into the reservoir. The red one is Oxycodone, the purple one is Tylenol and I don’t remember what the pinkish colored one is.
Given how messy eating through the syringe was, and how often I had to take medication as well as use mouth wash to try to clean my mouth I spent a lot of time over my kitchen sink. It became the most common place for me if I was awake since I was usually doing something there. Because it was a liquid diet I ate a lot in small doses instead of trying to eat a lot at once, a lot of that had to do with the syringes had to be cleaned after usage and I only had two of them and I believe one of them broke early on. All of the bottles of medication and mouthwash can be seen all over the bar counter.
I owe every easy part of my recovery to my mom, since she held it all together. She managed all the food and medication, making sure it was all ready to go and taken when it needed to be.
I cannot thank her enough for that.