Day 38 – Week 5
Now that I’ve passed 5 weeks and taken my bands out, and much of the swelling has gone down, I’d say from outside appearances I am looking mostly recovered to other people (not that I am going to take a poll on if I seem normal). But I feel far from healed.
On opening my mouth up (necessary for such things as eating and brushing teeth):
The doctor said yesterday I was not opening up wide enough. I was feeling semi-pleased with my progress before the check-up. At yesterday’s appointment I could open 18 mm. Before surgery I think I could open about 49mm, to give you a comparison. The doctor would like me to be opening past 30 mm by my next appointment in about two weeks. He gave me some exercises to do multiple times a day. Now not only am I practicing open and shut, but also side to side and forwards. I won’t deny it, these stretches are PAINFUL and leave my jaw sore afterwards. After doing them, I feel so flexible. Only to find the next time I do them it seems I am back where I was.
On training my jaw to stay put:
I mainly have to wear the two bands overnight now, and a little during the day. That definitely making it easier to practice opening, and for talking as well. But the point of the bands is to keep training my jaw where it is supposed to stay. I am doing a lot better at keeping my jaw in place even without the bands. However it does not feel natural to me it. I have constant jaw strain from this; I think it will take a while before it feels normal.
How does my face feel anyway?
My face does not feel right yet by a long shot! If I pay attention, the lower jaw feels shrunken and pushed back, and my upper jaw feels huge and stiff. My teeth feel like they have an overbite, although to be honest I think they are fitting together perfectly. None of this feels natural or normal, and when I look in mirror, it does not look natural or normal yet either. Thought it’s not that obvious, I still have some swelling in the face, evidenced by the pressure when I use my facial muscles. And just maybe (haven’t scientifically determined this yet) the pressure increases greatly when we get cold fronts. Or I guess it could be doing this randomly. Who knows.
How’s eating going these days:
Well, slowly. I can use a small fork (at home, privately) with plenty of napkins and plenty of time. I can also use baby spoons. I’m still drinking some of my meals; I just don’t have to thin them down anymore, which does make things easier. I can manage any food that’s small and is already ground up, or soft enough to squish around and swallow. Some types of things I can eat: scrambled eggs, baked fish, rice pasta, polenta, oatmeal, applesauce, sliced cheese. I don’t think I will attempt small grain things like rice & quinoa for a while; just too hard to clean afterwards.
On what keeps improving:
I’m just happy it’s much easier to clean my teeth! After de-splinting I quit using the prescription mouthwash; it’s back to regular now. I thought about continuing, but it says long term use can stain your teeth. I can floss most of my teeth with patience. (Flossing the back is painful since I can’t open far, and the wisdom teeth? impossible).
The pressure is slowly decreasing. Less pressure when leaning over (not that I do it much). Less pressure when smiling.
I’m slowly regaining energy. Still tired most of the time, but every week is better than the one before, and every week I can do a little more. Also I am dreaming dreams again. I notice I feel more rested when I have normal dreams (which granted for me are pretty weird). So I guess I’m sleeping better. Last week was my first full work week. I was pretty exhausted and a little overwhelmed. This week I managed a little better.
Here’s a pic showing how much I can open. I tried to add some emotion to the pic but not sure of the result.
And one normal one just so that’s not the only picture in this post.