It's been a while since I made a post. The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of changes and new experiences, and I've had a hard time adjusting. Here are some updates.
- We've cleaned up the "recovery room" here at home in the basement where I spent most of 9 days. It offered cooler temperatures, comfortable flexible sleeping or resting arrangements, a DVD player, the iPad, a variety of pillows, blankets, tissues, handkerchiefs, etc, quick access to a freezer (gel packs) and bathroom; everything I needed except food. It feels like a scary kind of graduation to be moving back upstairs and into a more normal life. I need to stay connected to some of these comforts: for one, easy opportunity to rest.
- I've finished all liquid medications, so that 3-times-daily trial is ended. I'll do a follow-up post soon about what I learned about medicating via syringe and catheter. I came a long way from some of the difficulties I outlined in my post 8/21, and have some tips for anyone who has to do that. Once I've shared my two bits, I'll put that topic to bed for a good long time, I hope.
- Yesterday (Friday), my surgeon cut all the rubber bands holding my mouth together. I can open my mouth at will. I can't overstate the difference this makes in easing my sense of suffocation, as well as helping me regain a feeling of autonomy.
- You've seen those horror-images where the bottom part of a face is torn away to show the bone structure beneath (or a Terminator skeleton)? That is how my face feels right now. I'm not in a lot of pain, though it's certainly a constant. I'd call it more like my nerves are "irritated" in that area of the face. I'm continually feeling pulsing patterns that change in the degree of irritation - say, a relatively 'painful' sensation cycles to 'irritated', then cycles to 'numb', and so on. It also seems that the patterns of irritations relate to the shape of the muscles in that part of my face. [Update, evening: these sensations have been constant all day and have made things a struggle. I haven’t had any success distracting myself from them. Also tried icing and massaging, but it’s hard to say if that makes them better or worse.]
- I can touch my teeth together. Where they meet is unrecognizable from before. These changes mean that now I'm sometimes biting myself inside, especially when I'm not paying attention to the teeth, like when I’m trying to drink. Because I'm numb back there, I don't know when I have bit myself, except when it really crunches.
I have some scarred areas building up by my molars, as a result of several bites, I believe. This isn't that different than what happens with braces anytime there's a change in the hardware. Except, one big difference is that I can't feel the pain and soreness that comes with those wounds, and so I don't have a system warning there. This one might read, "Repeatedly damaged area. High probability of more incidences. Open wound? Back, side area of mouth; low mouth traffic area. Good chance of infection." It has definitely become somewhat inflamed. I'm treating it with Peridex, which I'm supposed to be rinsing with regularly now (and am). I'm giving special attention to this area, laving it with the toothbrush, and rinsing/gargling in such a way that I know it's getting lots of exposure. I'll take care of it.
And now, a lighter comment:
Gargling is one of those things that's pretty much impossible to do gracefully. Especially right now with numb lips and chin and stuff, it isn't pretty. It's something I do absolutely privately, and I am grateful that I am able to do that. Now, here's the best example of gargling I know.
Gargling Gargoyle Gurgles Gershwin (Courtesy of The Muppets, with Mark Hamill.)
Dr. Adam Burdick has been a professional musician for over two decades. Teaching, conducting, and performing in various music genres, he is also a perpetual student with interest in a wide range of topics. He loves to ponder and share his discoveries with anyone interested!