My appointment last Wednesday gave me a shot in the arm, or rather the hand, literally and figuratively. I was extremely tired and weak, like I’ve never felt before, the morning of my appointment. Drinking my breakfast in bed, showering, and getting dressed absolutely wiped me out. When I got there, I received about a bag and a half of IV fluids through the back of my hand (my teeny collapsing veins are nearly impossible to find in the crook of my elbow) and some encouraging words from my surgeon and his assistant. They told me to see my primary care physician if the intestinal issues didn’t resolve. They also gave me permission to eat soft foods without chewing!!!!!!! They were hoping that adding some bulk to my diet would help the GI stuff and the greater variety would give me more energy and renew my gusto for life.
After the appointment, Mom and I headed to Boston Market for some real food. I got the Side Item Sampler (three sides and a piece of corn bread) with mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed spinach, and mac and cheese. I managed to get about 1/3 to 1/2 of it down. It was very odd trying to get the fork in between my elastic bands and swallowing non-liquid food. It was slow and messy, but absolutely wonderful! I was already feeling better since receiving the IV fluids (I cannot emphasize enough how much of a difference hydration makes), and the warm, savory, wholesome (i.e., high-Calorie) foods helped a LOT. Things no longer seemed as bleak or endless.
The weekend proved to be very eventful, with the main attraction being Mike’s mother’s 50th birthday. I was able to eat a wide variety of foods including bread, ravioli, French onion soup, a breadstick, macaroni and cheese, taco meat, cake, flank steak, mashed potatoes, asparagus, pizza (without the crust), more French onion soup, corned beef and cabbage, and shepherd’s pie. The ravioli proved to be quite challenging; Mike and my mom laughed because they had just about finished their meals when I proudly announced, “I’m done with one ravioli!” I got the hang of eating, though, and am getting better at it every day.
One unfortunate thing that happened over the weekend was slipping on the snow/ice/slush. I didn’t fall, but when all my muscles tensed up to keep my balance the muscles on the right side of my jaw/face spasmed painfully. It continued to spasm throughout the weekend, keeping me awake through much of Monday night. Tuesday morning, I wasn’t feeling well enough to perform my clinical duties; fortunately, the first years (with our supervisor’s assistance) handled everything just fine. (I later met with my supervisor to discuss a slower integration back into clinic; she doesn’t want it to be something I worry about from week to week).
I was feeling well enough, however, to go to class on Tuesday and Wednesday. I bought a digital audio recorder over the weekend and recorded my professor’s lecture on Tuesday. It was a much-appreciated suggestion by the priest at the church I attended during undergrad; now I can focus on paying attention and drinking/eating during class rather than doing all of that in addition to taking detailed notes. I have yet to go back and listen to the lecture and type up the notes, but I know it will have worked just fine (there are a few others in that class who also record the lecture).
I saw my PCP yesterday afternoon regarding my intestinal issues. She thinks it’s probably a combination of things (long-term use of NSAIDs, mostly-liquid diet, starting to drink coffee again, etc.) and isn’t concerned about infection since I haven’t had a fever and haven’t had pain or discomfort. She ordered a sample kit just in case the issue doesn’t resolve, but since it’s starting to get better she doesn’t think I picked up C. diff or anything scary like that at the hospital. She gave me some ideas on how to restart my medications post-op, and also suggested probiotics (which was suggested to me by one of my childhood best friends as well) via yogurt and/or supplements (specifically Culturelle).
I had another follow-up with my surgeon today. He is very pleased with how everything looks and how my energy and mood has improved since last week. He removed the elastic bands so I could brush my teeth very well inside and out, which I love. It’s tough going from using a Philips Sonicare toothbrush twice a day to using a baby toothbrush a few times a day with limited access. He told me that I can fly with Mike again at 6 weeks post-maxillary op, which will be January 29th (YAY!!!). He also told me that I’ve graduated from weekly follow-up appointments and won’t see him again for 3 weeks. At that point, there is a good chance that he’ll release me to my orthodontist’s care. It’s hard to believe! And bittersweet… I’ve grown really fond of my surgeon and his staff and enjoy seeing them regularly.
They gave me before (11/05/2014) and after (01/14/2015) x-ray images today. Technically it’s an i-CAT cone beam 3D image or something, but anyways… the “after” images are 27 days post-op, and 16 days post-revision.
The screws seen between my upper and lower medial incisors are actually external; the elastic band in the middle goes around them as opposed to on the surgical hooks on my arch wires. My surgeon says he removes them with just a screwdriver (!) and that they usually come out at 6 weeks post-op. Maybe they’ll come out at my next appointment!
I want to give my mom a huge THANK YOU for taking care of me, even though I’m almost 26. She’s been with me most of the time since I came back to school. She has offered to do anything and everything I don’t feel well enough to do: drive, grocery shop, carry my school supplies to and from class, prepare food, do dishes (and I don’t have a dishwasher!), take out the trash, do laundry, accompany to my appointments… she even rips up bread into tiny little shreds and butters them so I can swallow them effortlessly. I know Dad would be here if he could, but he has to hold down the fort at home with the family optometry business. He gives me excellent moral support via phone call, text message, and email 🙂