Monday, August 18, 2008

2 weeks tomorrow

Tomorrow it'll be two whole weeks since surgery. What an experience. I'm still supposed to be shut tight with the elastics, but I can totally open my mouth. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, so I try not to. But sometimes it's unavoidable. Like yawning. I actually snapped one of the elastics from yawning yesterday. I hope that doesn't affect anything too bad. I guess I'll find out on Friday when I get them cut off.

So, not much to update really. I still eat a lot of soup and plenty of smoothies. Brushing my teeth is still not that effective. I think the first thing I do when I'm unwired (un-elastic'ed, whatever) is brush my teeth properly. Then I'm gonna go eat something solid. I can't wait.

I'm still bruised a bit... Here's a picture of me taken earlier this morning:

You can barely see my bruises at all, really... And the swelling is minimal. I'm healing fairly well I do believe.

I'm gonna go find some good before and after pictures.
Until next time,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

another update

Last you heard from me, I was in Halifax. We made it home, safe and sound. I have to say, flying with this kind of pressure on my jaw is one of the weirder sensations I've ever felt in my life. I don't know how to describe it at all. Anytime the plane shifted or changed position or altitude or anything, I could feel the pressure in my face change along with it. That, and the fact that I had to take plenty of pain meds, made flying a very interesting experience.
The numbness in my face seems to be going down each day. As of right now, it's a mere square that extends from the left side of my chin up to the middle of my nose and over halfway to the middle of my chin/nose/lips/whatever. If you can picture that. Basically, I can feel half of my lips, so I'm going around perpetually feeling like I just came back from the dentist. You know that feeling: your lip is so numb, you think it extends like thirty feet but really it's only normal, you just can't tell.
Right now, I can't pick up any wireless on my own computer so I'm using mom's. Unfortunately that means no new pictures. But I can't say I look much different than the last picture. Just a bit more bruised I think.
In lieu of pictures, I'm going to tell you a very... interesting... story.

When I first came to after surgery, Mom was just kind of sitting there, looking at me and my new pufferfish ways. She was examining this new face of mine when suddenly she asks, "Amy, did you pick a pimple or something right between your eyebrows?" I was still very out of it from the anaesthetics and such, so I mumble-grunted something to the effect of "no, wtf?" We didn't think much of it until almost a week later when we were in Moncton. We were killing time in the mall since our hotel was only a few minutes walk away from the place. We were sitting and enjoying Orange Julius - a godsend in my current state - when I felt a scab between my eyebrows, on the bridge of my nose. I thought maybe I had scratched off a pimple in my sleep or something. Unlikely, but not impossible. I tried to pick it off and I kept working at it and working at it and eventually I tugged on it. Ow. So I left it alone and continued on with my amazing new Strawberry Lemonade Julius. Heaven in a blender.
When we get back to our hotel room, I check the mirror in the bathroom to see why the heck this scab hurts when I try to pull on it. Upon further examination, I realize that smack dab right in the middle of my eyebrows, on the bridge of my nose, is... a... tiny... stitch.
A stitch?
Why in the world is there a stitch in the middle of my eyebrows?! So I yelled out to mom. "Mom!! Why in the world is there a stitch in the middle of my eyebrows?!" ... except, being elastic'ed shut and all, it probably sounded more like "Muhhmmm! Why in the wuhld izh the-uh a ssstitsh in thuh middul ov my eyebrowsss?" (I have an interesting lisp now, it's kind of fun).
Mom drops her knitting and comes over for a look at this stitch. She looks close... looks again... then cracks up.
We conclude, in between laughs, that it's defintely a stitch. We conclude that there are only two possible explanations:
1) Dr B dropped a scalpel on my face during surgery. Ouch
2) Dr B planted a homing device on the bridge of my nose to... track... my every move?
(Mom came to the first conclusion, and I the second)
But isn't that just... unbelievable?! My surgeon dropped a scalpel on my face. Blade-down. Cut me open, stitched me up and didn't mention a thing! I find it kinda funny. Really funny, actually. It's becoming one of those things when the more I think about it, the funnier it gets. But you'd think he would have mentioned it. Like, "Yeah, the surgery went great and all but whoops! Dropped the blade between your eyebrows on the bridge of your nose... Sorry".
I would have appreciated that. It doesn't bother me. Honestly.
I can just picture the surgical staff now...

Nurse: 50 points for right between the eyebrows.
*Dr B drops scalpel. I'm picturing a kind of vertical version of darts*
Dr B: Dammit, it's a bit off-center. Too low.
Anaesthesilogist: Only 10 points for you, B.
Dr B: Fine, but I'll totally get it right on the next patient...

Oh, how I amuse myself. Well I must go make another smoothie or something. I think my next post will be some recipes. I've quickly fallen in love with my blender, now that I'm home. So look forward to that.
Until next time,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

the journey so far... in colour!

We're stuck in Halifax, no thanks to Air Canada. With yet another night to waste in a hotel, I've decided to figure out my camera and upload some pictures of my progress so far. So here it goes!

Here I am, enjoying my last piece of solid food. That was damn good chocolate.

The hospital in Bathurst.

Modelling the lovely surgical gowns. I'm pumped. This was about two hours before the surgery and five minutes before I had to pee in a cup.

Now this a few hours post-op. Note the tape under my nose... that had to stay there for two full days!

One day post-op. I'm not that unhappy, I just can't physically smile.

Early morning, two days post-op. I had no sleep and plenty of nose bleeds, so I'm not the happiest camper.

This is my shirt. See if you can figure out what is supposed to be there, and what's my blood from a nose bleed, and what's my lunch (cheddar cheese soup).

Out of the hospital and into the hotel.

Still no smiles.


and finally, here I am today:

That's the biggest smile I could muster. Bruises are starting to appear. Woooooo!

So what do you think of my new face? Fairly round so far. Definitely shorter than before. I'm working on getting some before/after pictures worked up. I even have my x-rays so look forward to that.
Until next time,

Friday, August 8, 2008

as much as i can remember

(If anyone is reading this in order to figure out what the surgery feels like, I'm sorry. I basically just got discharged and I want to get this all down while it's still fresh on my mind...)

It's been about three days now... I want to try and write down everything I remember, but the pain meds are starting to kick in. Let's just see how far I get.

So Monday night, I came back to the hotel and ate a lot of chocolate. I figured since it was my last time with solid for a while and all that I'd go all out, so I bought those really great Belgian like starfish shaped ones. Mmm.

Tuesday morning, wake up fairly early... I would say I'm up by 6:30am. Mom and I travel over to the hospital and get checked in. Head up to the operations end we'll say, and I get my bloodwork done by this tiny little french nurse who won't stop singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I get changed into my hot little hospital dress and pee in a cup. Then mom and I are stuck waiting around for a few hours. Mom knits, I sleep... surprise, surprise. Around 9:30am, the anaesthesiologist comes and takes me into the OR. I don't remember much from here on in. I remember having to tuck my arms into some blanket. This guy puts an oxygen mask over my mouth, and the anaesthesiologist tells me he's gonna start the meds. Then bam - no more memory til a few hours later.

I think I wake up coughing. I remember there was a lot of coughing and I felt like I couldn't breathe. There's a tube going down through my nose, into my throat and into my stomach to suck up all the blood and it's making me gag. The surgical staff rush to get me to my room, but probably just so I don't cough on any of the innocent old french men just getting cataract surgery.

I'm out of OR around 2? I don't know... I know that by 6pm, that damn tube is out of my stomach/throat/nose. I couldn't handle that. Once that was out, things began to look up. The only real pain was from the IV... That was rough. I don't know why exactly it burned so much, but it did.

There are two other people in the room with me that night... another girl who pretty much had the exact same thing done as me, and this one girl who had her wisdom teeth out. To say I didn't sleep much that night would be such a bad understatement. I don't even know if I closed my eyes. I was miserable. Nights are always the worst. The blood pressure machine they had on my arm ALL NIGHT would randomly go off about once or twice an hour. The nurses were always shuffling about and talking. I had to get my ice packs changed like 843861398419 times a night. Nighttime at that hospital does not equal rest.

The next morning, my IV is taken out. That is seriously one of the greatest feelings ever, not being tied down to a machine all night. From there on in, it all seems like a blur. I got in the shower, and I thought I was gonna die coughing in there for the first time. I walked around, tried to read... even went for a little walk outside with mom.

That night again it gets really bad. I mentioned it to a few people that my only almost-fear about surgery was not being able to breathe... Well that was the only thing that got to me. I start having like anxiety attacks because I can't catch my breath. I'm crying, and that just makes everything worse. The nurses don't understand/can't do anything to help me, and that just makes everything worse. Bad times. This happened on at least two occasions, possibly three (one is a bit hazy in my memory, since it was like 4am and I was already all doped up on dilaudid and whatever else).

The entire hospital ordeal was just... unpleasant. I mean, the staff were nice. We seemed to get a lot of the student nurses, but they were all great. The food was okay. The beds were fine. But when you don't get to sleep for three nights in a row, you start to hate the place. And you just wanna go home...

That's about how I am right now. I'm very poofy. I have some massive cheeks, I'll tell you that right now. But as of right yet, no bruising. My lips are (if possible) even bigger than before. My glasses don't seem to fit nicely anymore. And finally, it feels like I'm always drooling.

I'll be home on Sunday. Until then, I'll be killing time in either Bathurst or Moncton. I'll try to post some pictures tonight of the whole ordeal so far...


Monday, August 4, 2008

pre-op appointment

After the car rental fiasco, Aunt Jill let us take their van up here to Bathurst. We ended up getting here just on time. We went straight to Dr Bourget's clinic and went right on to my pre-op appointment. I got some x-rays taken. They were so freakin' cool! They were all 3D and digital. Then they took pictures of me from different angles and used this computer program to make a 3D version of my face. After that, they combined the 3D x-ray and the 3D picture to make this really interesting map-like thing of my entire head. Dr B said he would give me a copy of some of the freaky looking pictures, so when I get them, I'll scan them up here to show everyone. He also explained exactly what he's going to do to my jaws. He's moving the bottom right one over 2mm to make it centered and even. The top jaw will be broken and brought up and out to help fix both my underbite and my crossbite.
My surgery is tomorrow morning. I have to go to the hospital at 7am. At that time, I'll get some bloodwork done and then wait for my 10am surgery. I have to start fasting at midnight, so all today pretty much I've been eating. My last meal was at the hotel restaurant for supper. I had scallops, shrimp and rice. It was really good. Now all I'm gonna do is hang out in my hotel room, read and eat chocolate til midnight.
Next time you hear from me, I'll be wired shut!

curse you, discount

Saturday when we arrived in Moncton, we got picked up by Mom's close friends Linda and Wayne. We stayed with them that night and all Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening, my aunt Jill and her family came to pick us up. They were just passing through on their way home in Miramichi from a road trip, so they picked us up and we stayed with them last night.
Now, Mom had rented a car from Discount rentals and we were supposed to pick it up in the morning then drive on to Bathurst, where I'm getting my surgery done. She tries calling and calling and calling... There's nobody there. The place is closed, even though they TOLD us we could get a car. So now we're stuck(ish). My aunt Jill is gonna bring us up to Bathurst, thankfully, but what would we have done if we didn't have family out here? It's not like we're tourists; we're here for medical reasons!

Moral of the story: Don't EVER rent a car through Discount!

ps. Expect another post tonight. My pre-op appointments are in a few hours!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

the first leg of the journey

Today was the first leg of my journey on my way to jaw surgery, but it was definitely not the beginning.
Let me fill you in on my entire saga up to this point...

Back in March of 2006, I had my braces put on. Goodbye gum, popcorn and quick flossing times. I was then told I'd be a surgery patient. I didn't think anything of it, especially since the regular surgeon serving Newfoundland had died of cancer so there was nobody around to do my surgery. Around the summer of 2007, I was told there would be a surgeon from New Brunswick flying in to do a bunch of surgeries and I was booked to get mine done in November.
November of 2007, I fly out with my mother to get my surgery done in St John's. Everything is fine, I get the pre-op appointments done, get all the pep-talks and buy a decent blender. But then, the night before my surgery, the nurse calls. Something weird came back in the blood work and they cancel my surgery. I see a haematologist the next morning and they tell me I have this blood disorder called Van Willebrands. I have more appointments and fly back home.
A few weeks later the official report comes back and it turns out I don't actually have Van Willebrands. Lab error. What a waste! I could have had my surgery then and I would have even had my braces off by now!! (But I'm over it, I swear...)
Flash-forward to January of 2008, I'm supposed to get surgery in St John's... But the surgeon's office staff cancel that on me since they say I didn't inform them about the results about the lab error soon enough.
Now in spring of 2008, there's a new surgeon moving in to St John's who is taking over all the surgery patients. My surgeon, the one from New Brunswick and the one who I already paid to do my surgery, can't get any surgery times in Newfoundland anymore because of this new guy and so my surgery is postponed even more.
Summer of 2008, my surgeon tells me I can get an appointment for September in St John's. It doesn't make sense to agree to this since I'll be just starting my first year of university at that point. So my dad calls and convinces the surgeon to give me surgery time in August. The only catch is that it'll have to be in Bathurst, New Brunswick...

And that brings us up to today. My surgery is August 5th in Bathurst. Today I flew from home to Moncton, through Halifax. I slept the entire way to Halifax and dreamt about a weird mix of my jaw surgery and Harry Potter. In Halifax, I ate quesadillas and Godiva's chocolate while waiting for our connecting flight. I fully intend on eating as much as possible these next two days or so since it'll be the last time in a long time for solid food.

My pre-op appointments are on Monday, and the surgery is that Tuesday. I probably won't have much to say til then...
So until next time,