Day 3: Silence is Golden and the Art of Breathing . . .

The swelling is significant today but as he pointed out I am almost 40 years old so it is to be expected. Lots of ice packs and I even added frozen green peas today in an effort to reduce the size of my lips. So far so good! My bottom lip is still A.J'-esque but my top lip is bordering on only slightly hideous so there is improvement!

I say silence above because that is what my surgeon told me I should be practicing! I had my first follow-up visit with Dr. Egbert earlier today and once again he told me how great I looked. The man is either an eternal optimist or just very good at visualising how his surgeries will turn out!

He said something to me today that I had never really considered - that I had always compensated for my lower jaw being so far back and out of alignment  that I always brought it forward sub-consciously. Consequently, many people would look at me (see right picture showing before-surgery profile shot) and conclude that I didn't really have a significant problem. I did however - 18mm of problems, out of alignment, and out of rotational symmetry.

He could tell just by looking at my splint that I have been trying to talk despite his orders to the contrary. So, he took any decision making opportunities out of my hands as it were and added a few additional death-grip rubber bands to my mouth and hey-presto, I can no longer talk even if I wanted to! He took some additional x-rays and compared them to the pre-surgery x-rays and it is quite amazing the difference! I will get copies of them next week so you can see for yourselves.Very cool.

One issue with the splint (there are many but perhaps I will deal with one issue per daily journal entry) is that it sure makes it difficult to swallow properly and so I end up suctioning everything in the back of mouth and slurping it down my throat. If this sounds inconvenient, it is because it is! Dr. Egbert told me to try drinking Sprite or Ginger Ale and this will help with my ability to swallow properly. Don't ask me how because although I wanted to ask how this works, he had already added the extra bands and so any questions I had were thrown out of the window! We bought some Sprite on the way home and don't ask me how or why, but it worked- much easier to swallow! I am going to have to remember to ask him about this once I can talk again . . .

It was a beautiful day outside and so I thought I would take my lunch (Sprite) outside and enjoy the weather; it was sunny, calm winds, and peaceful so instead of coming inside to take a nap (very sleep deprived) I decided to sleep on the hammock. Bad mistake. Although it started off being beautiful the winds started to blow and the next thing you know it was super-windy with the resulting pollen and allergies that my nose is now not best pleased with.

In just two days it is clear to me that my biggest adjustment  is concerned with breathing. I have to breath through my nose almost exclusively. You might think this is no big deal but given the fact that my lower jaw has always been situated back towards my throat, it resulted in my jaw inhibiting my airways and so I have always compensated by breathing through my mouth. Apparently, one benefit of this surgery will be that it will greatly reduce my snoring (much to my wife's excitement!) as the lower jaw is no longer impeding my airways and I should have more airflow.

That said, it is hard to change a habit overnight and so simply breathing through my nose is a different experience as I feel like I am unable to get enough air all the time. Sounds a strange thing to say but I think the reason I am not getting enough sleep (averaging  2 hours per night so far since surgery) is that I am a tad paranoid about my breathing! I cannot breath through my mouth and so it is kinda scary for me presently believing that I am getting enough air through my nose. This is especially true when you consider that my nose is super congested given the breathing tubes inserted in my nose during surgery. I take a nasal decongestant every two hours but it is almost as if an alarm clock goes off in my nose every 100 minutes which says, time to get congested! I sound like Darth Vadar quite honestly. Hence the allergies are an unwelcome addition to the festivities today . .

You can see additional photographs under the ‘Photo Journal’ section above

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7 Responses to “Day 3: Silence is Golden and the Art of Breathing . . .”

  1. Could be worse bro, but I am glad it is working out. The Darth Varder reference is a classic, if only because a friend of mine said to me the other day (whilst I was getting off my bike in my leathers) that I should say 'Lucca, I am your father'.....

    Take care, talk when you are able.

  2. So interesting that your surgeon didn't want you to talk and mine says to talk as much as I will be able to. I will be wired shut with a splint in place for 10 days. After reading your blog I asked about the bands and he said I would have those after the wires come off. He says the talking and moving the lips will reduce the swelling faster. But I am also 40 so I expect it to be pretty bad, like yours. Guess we'll see. Tuesday is coming up fast. Scared to death!

  3. The surgery will go great! Easier said than done I realise however (I was shaking uncontrollably as I was rolled in to the operating theatre!) but it is absolutely amazing how quickly time flies by!

    My surgeon was adamant about the 'no talking' rule in terms of no movement of my jaws but it is always interesting how many different opinions there exist!

    Try to relax and think about the long-term goal! :) Good luck!

  4. Thank you. Your blog really has been helpful. I have a wonderful support system to help me with the kids so it will be ok. I wonder how long it will be til I feel like I can be left to care for them all day. I see a lot of tv in their near future. :) Too bad I had to have this done on summer vacation. Argh. Will update you after I return home. I can't wait!

  5. I held it together in pre-op but was sobbing by the time they put me on the table. It is over now and just need to get through the first few bad days. Today is the beginning of day 3. So far not too much worse than Day 2...

  6. Sobbing is fine - blame it on the drugs! How is the pain level? Swelling? How is eating through a syringe? :)

  7. Days 3 and 4 were very much bad! As promised, day 5 is better. If things continue to improve I just might survive. :) those last two days were hell though. I am currently battling ,y addiction to Afrin and my hugely swollen lips and large amounts of phlegm. Gross!