Sunday, July 20, 2008

Minor relapse

So apparently I wasn't as recovered as I thought, because this week I had a minor relapse.

I had just a bit of pain and possibly a bit more swelling. I suppose it came from three weeks of insufficient sleep and extreme physical activity.

Of course, it's not like I stopped or anything. But I hope this week off helps me out. I'll be chugging milk like nobody's business.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Things just keep getting better

Improvement has been slow recently, since I'm almost completely better. I really don't have to think about my jaw anymore, except I still can't chew very crunchy things and I can't eat terribly fast. I'm a little swollen, but less than I was even a week or two ago, and my jaw aperture is widening little by little.

So life is good, and it's improving even more. I'll be in a computer lab this week - considerably less active, but I'll be making real money.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

EFY

So I was a summer camp counselor this week. I was quite a bit more active than I've been for the past six weeks.

I loved it.

I could go on for hours about how amazing it was. Because it was. Anyway, there's a bit of pain occasionally when I am particularly active, but I'm beginning to wonder if there's anything to be done about it. I'm not sure if I should just be active anyway, or if I should take it easy. I'm trying to maintain a balance and I hope I'm doing a good job of it.

And I'm not sure if I could have sat still for another week, anyway.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back in Provo

So I decided to move to Provo. I moved a couple of days earlier than I had planned on a bit of a whim and am now here.

So I got in, ate dinner with my sister, saw Horton Hears a Who, went dancing, went grocery shopping, and now will sleep.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I believe it's downhill from here

Well, I went dancing on Saturday night. I held back a bit, and even sat out occasionally because my jaw was hurting a bit. But I got home, I was less swollen, and things have only gotten better. In fact, I haven't taken a painkiller since before then, even though I still have the bands in.

Translation: I can actually do moderately active things without injury to myself. I should be able to live life normally (which is still fairly inactive for me) from here on out. And in a week, when I have official clearance, I think I can live like I always have - climbing things at random, running around 'cause I feel like it, dancing in hallways, ... Oh, yeah. Life is good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Whoops

I talked to my surgeon yesterday. Apparently, I'm not supposed to do anything "vigorous" for about another two weeks. "Vigorous" activities include jogging, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. Oops.

He also told me to start wearing the bands again, so now I feel like my braces just got tightened. I had gotten used to not having the pain, but now I have something to keep me on my toes. Actually, it's much less painful today than it was yesterday. So things are looking up.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Easing into normal life

I went to a restaurant yesterday and was able to eat a reasonable portion of food without making a mess. The taco salad today was a little more difficult, but it was surprisingly un-embarrassing. What all this means is that, little by little, I'm becoming a normal person again. I'll soon be able to eat, run, jump, and so on just like anyone else. I'm pretty excited about it, actually.

Which means that I'll be thinking seriously about exactly when I'll be returning to Provo. Now that I could theoretically take care of myself, even if something went wrong, Returning to Provo is actually a possibility. I'll probably wait until I've finished the job I'm working on from home, but that might be done as early as this week.

So my life is new and exciting. And I almost feel normal again!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jogging

I went for a brief jog today. I didn't run hard and I didn't run long, but I did run. It was nice.

I haven't had any painkillers for two or three days now, and I'm doing fine. Oh yeah.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cartwheel

I threw a frisbee around for a solid twenty minutes today. Including running and jumping. I even did a cartwheel. And it felt just fine.

A few minutes later, I jumped again. This time, I must have landed weird. I felt like I had jarred my jaw, so I promptly stopped and was indolent for the rest of the evening.

I haven't taken any painkillers in a while, and it doesn't really hurt, so I'm assuming that I didn't do anything terribly stupid. I'll need to be careful, though.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Plateau

I feel like everything has leveled off. Not a whole lot is going on. There's still pain from time to time, but nothing severe. There's still a tiny bit of swelling, but nothing that most people would even notice. I don't think I've been able to open my mouth any more or less since about two days after the unwiring, and I eat slowly.

Things aren't bad now, and although improvement will be slow, I'm confident that things will only get better. So life is good.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I almost look like myself

It's true. Most of the swelling is gone, and I recognize myself in the mirror now. There's still a little residual bruising, and the swelling isn't completely gone, but I don't expect people to pass me on the street without recognizing me anymore.

Eating is a lot easier than it was on Friday, too. There's still lots of room to improve, but I don't think I would be embarrassed eating in public anymore.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My jaws are sore

You know how if you don't use a muscle for a while, it atrophies? And then when you use it again, it hurts?

Welcome to my world.

Chewing isn't nearly as easy as it used to be. I'm learning how to do it quickly, but my jaw muscles aren't liking it. I am able to eat and talk and brush the insides of my teeth, however, so life is still wonderful.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Unwired at last

I can now open my jaw. Barely. I couldn't really clean the inside of my teeth because the opening was so small. It now feels like it's been a couple of days since I've brushed, which is a lot better than a couple of weeks.

I'm going to sleep for a bit and then try eating for the first time in what seems like forever.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's time

I hate to be impatient, but it's definitely time to get my jaws unwired.

Actually, I thought that I'd be going nuts just from being hungry all the time. I've been able to eat fairly well. I just ate some wonderful blended potatoes, cheese, ham, and veggies. I had some V8 and some pomegranate blueberry juice (separately) to go with it. That may not sound appetizing, and it sure didn't look appetizing, but it wasn't bad at all.

The thing that's driving me nuts is that I haven't been able to brush the insides of my teeth for eleven days. I use mouthwash all the time, but that only goes so far.

So bring on the wire cutters! 17 hours and 4 minutes to go!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

X-rays

I went in for some post-operative x-rays today. I, of course, had very little idea what to look for. I was able to locate the titanium without any trouble. I even found my braces ;-)

But the radiologist (or whoever took the x-rays; she may have had some other degree) said that the surgery was a very good one. She specifically pointed out a straight mid-line and said that my chin looked nice. I still can't see it very well because of the swelling. I hope that I'll get to compare the new to the old ones.

Anyway, it's great news - I sure would hate to have to have the surgery re-done, and it looks like that won't be an issue.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I wonder

I slept for eleven hours last night. That's a LOT of time sleeping. I wonder if I'm getting mine for sleeping so little during the semester, or if this a result of the operation. In either case, I hope I can get back to a more normal schedule soon.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Success

I have eradicated the mustache and goatee.

Now, to eradicate the swelling and bruising.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Something different: church

It was very amusing to see people's reaction to my condition today. Everyone was sensitive and kind, but some people knew that I would be having this surgery before it happened, and some didn't. And I think a lot of the teenagers hadn't seen the results of oral surgery before, so I think I got some odd looks.

My former bishop's wife pretended to hit me in the jaw, but I told her I wasn't allowed to box for six months (good thing I asked, huh?). So she said that the match is at her place around Thanksgiving. I like her.

I actually felt great the whole time, and of course, I'm much less swollen than I was a few days ago. So everybody's shocked reaction to how incredibly swollen I was turned out to be pretty funny.

I think it shocked just about everyone to have me in class without commenting on hardly anything. I did write a comment on the chalkboard during elders' quorum today.

Even though I didn't get to say very much, I was struck by how much the ward (congregation) really resembles a big family. We're all in it together. I felt like everybody's brother or nephew or the like while I was there.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hanging in there

I was able to eat more today than yesterday - for some reason, my stomach didn't really want anything at all yesterday. Psychologically, blended food just isn't that wonderful to contemplate, but I think it was something else. The same food was much better today.

So I was able to eat more for lunch today. And that's a good thing. I walked around a bit, and even did some stuff around the house. I'm starting to be less of a burden (although there's still a lot of distance to cover before I'm back to being a contributing member of the household), what with a few dishes done and setting up a new email address for my mom. I still haven't been able to shave my upper lip or chin yet, which makes me look rather ... edgy.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better and the swelling has decreased again. At this point, I keep hoping that I'll wake up to find that it's completely gone. No such luck yet, but then they said that it will resolve in 10-14 days. And I'm on day 6. So that would be surprising.

I feel like I'm reiterating a lot. I may write less frequently. Because unless I come up with something else to write about, I'll just be chronicling the types of blended food items I was able to consume and the size of my puffy cheeks. But when there's news, I'll write.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Not as fun as expected

I'm reminded that most people really don't like shaving. As a matter of fact, I don't like shaving. But I prefer shaving to looking scrubby.

Until today.

Long facial hair, a somewhat dull razor, the remnants of some adhesive on my face, and considerable swelling ... I had to take a seat after a bit. Now it looks like I'm trying to grow a poorly groomed goatee, because just the mustache and chin are unshaven. And part of my neck.

So I look like a goober, but I'm going to pull through. I sure hope I can shave better by Sunday, though. Of course, even if I am clean-shaven on Sunday, I half expect that some kid will ask what's wrong with me. My response, obviously, will be to mumble "don't do drugs, kid" through my tightly fastened teeth.

I feel nearly normal!

It may be an exaggeration, but I feel much closer to normal than I have since Monday. I'm still quite noticeably swollen, but not nearly as much as I was. The prescribed pain medications are more than enough for the pain, and I'm actually hungry. I feel like doing random, sometimes mischievous, things, which I'm sure you'll all take as a positive sign.

In a little while, I'm actually going to shave - I put it off yesterday for a few reasons. I'm quite looking forward to not looking like a swollen scrub. Now I'll look like a clean-shaven, swollen man!

I'm actually entertained by how much larger my head is than my limbs at the moment.

Once I went to bed last night, and all this morning, my breathing has been natural and easy. Life is great!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A little gratitude

Because of the swelling, I sometimes have a bit of difficulty breathing. It's not as if my breathing is totally impaired, but sometimes it's not as easy as I'd like. And since the inability to breathe is my greatest (physical) fear, the whole experience has been quite unpleasant in that regard.

The purpose of this post is not to focus on the discomfort, but on my blessings. On two occasions, I have received priesthood blessings (the same as Peter and the apostles of old gave in the New Testament - by the authority and in the name of Jesus Christ) that promised me that I would have health and that I would be all right.

I cannot say that my faith is so unshakable that I never felt any trauma for a moment. I hope that a bit of adrenaline when I had to strain to breathe is excusable. But I knew all along that the Lord was taking care of me. If I hadn't been sure of that, I'm sure I would have had a much harder time sleeping these last few days.

Any family will attest that I have been sleeping more than enough since Monday.

Baby steps

Every day is a little bit better. Yesterday, there was no more bleeding. Today, the swelling has gone down noticeably, and I have a much larger range of comfortable motion. I still have to move slowly and deliberately, and sometimes a movement will unexpectedly create tension in my jaw, which is not comfortable. But I am still amazed at how much easier this seems than the descriptions of what I was to expect. And even though it's going so miraculously well, I'm amazed at how unpleasant the overall experience is. I'm sure I won't mind in retrospect, but this really isn't much fun at all.

And I don't know how I'd be doing this without my family. My mother in particular has spent countless hours helping me out. I'm considerably more self-sufficient now than I was two days ago, and in a day or two, I anticipate being able to do just about anything around the house that I really need to do, but having Mom here has made this so much easier to take.

Anyway, on a more positive note, I'd like to reiterate that I'm very little pain - the pain is almost completely negligible, all the time - and I'm not as hungry as I expected. I'm not as articulate as I might have expected, but with some patience I'm able to communicate. The swelling is receding, I'm able to move around on my own, and I think I'm technically legal to drive. Everything really is going swimmingly and tomorrow I should be able to take off my chin strap - and then shave!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Settling in

It's been another day. I've been sleeping a lot, for several reasons. One, I have some serious catching up to do after last semester. Two, there isn't a whole lot else that I can do. Three, I'm hoping I'll heal more quickly if I do. My mother said she's never seen me so inert. I think that includes the pneumonia episode in the fourth grade.

I seem to have stopped bleeding from my nose when I move around, which is definitely okay by me. That means that I should be able to walk around without fear, although jogging is still out of the question.

Those who have lived with me know that I am fond of brushing my teeth. Well, it's awfully hard to brush some areas of the mouth with one's jaws wired shut. I woke up this morning and noticed that the taste in my mouth was somewhat considerably less than ideal. Again, I'm hoping that when the swelling decreases, I'll have increased mobility and at least be able to use mouthwash a bit better.

I think I'll be more active today. I think I was so lazy yesterday because of aftereffects of the general anesthesia. I wasn't legal to drive yesterday, but as I understand it, I am today! Not that I have any plans to go anywhere. And I am getting pretty good at playing The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. Oh yeah!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The First Day

I'm now at home in Davis, just over 24 hours after leaving the surgery itself.

I had an adventure in the recovery room - it was hard to breathe at first because I was so swollen, and because my nose was bleeding. And because my jaw was wired shut. Anyway, that was quite uncomfortable, and I'm pretty sure they kept me there longer than they meant to, but all's well that ends well.

Once I got to my room, things were much better. My mother stayed in the room with me and read a couple chapters of The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia). My nurses were great, although some seemed overworked. After my experience in the recovery room, I really wanted quick responses, just to be sure that if something urgent happened, I'd be taken care of.

Once I got to my room, everything hurt less than I expected it to, and I recovered more quickly than I thought I would. I can walk around now, although I risk a nosebleed when I do, and can somewhat laboriously ingest liquids. I'm sure than as the swelling goes down, it will become easier.

That's all for now. I'm going to vegetate for a while, and then go for a walk.

The surgery itself

I was completely unconscious for the surgery. I remember cracking jokes with the anesthesiologist, nurses, resident, principal surgeon, etc., before going under, and then coming back up. Not a whole lot to tell.

The report is that everything lined up perfectly, and the surgeons were quite pleased. I did not get a scratchy throat, as is common after having a tube down it, and I have feeling in my cheeks, which means (I believe) that I will not have a permanently numb side of my face, resulting in unknowing drooling for the rest of my life. I'm really okay with that bit. I've had extremely little pain, and the bleeding in my mouth stopped quickly - it's a day later and I don't think I'll bleed from my mouth again unless I do something stupid (figure skating, anyone?), and I really doubt I'll be doing any of that for a little while. I still get nosebleeds pretty much any time I look down, but I really don't have much to complain about.

Into the Fire

Sunday night, I realized that I was brushing my teeth after eating the last solid food I'd have for a month. I'm generally either stoic or goofy about these things, but I admit to being somewhat daunted by the prospect.

I was glad that I was familiar with musicals, because I remembered a song from the Scarlet Pimpernel soundtrack. The Pimpernel tells his crew that there is always a dangerous situation that someone needs to enter. I decided that it was my turn, and that it was time to go, as he put it, "into the fire."

And, as is always the case, things were better in the morning.

Getting started

So many of my friends and family have expressed such concern and compassion to me as I've prepared to have my jaw surgery performed. Now that my jaw has been operated on, jaw is wired shut and my cheeks are very swollen. As a result, I'm considerably less articulate than I was before, and although any of you are welcome to call me, it's not likely to be very rewarding for you.

I'm writing this blog so that those who are interested in knowing how I am can easily access general information. I check my email regularly, and if you are in the area, you're more than welcome to come visit. I'll post about once a day to let you know how my recovery is going. And I appreciate all of the emails, prayers, good intentions, and other concern.