Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Jaw Bone is Connected to.... Chin Bone

Alrighty, so be forewarned that this post has entirely nothing to do with animation... I just feel like writing about my past week and other happenings. As many of you know last week was the end of class five for me at Animation Mentor and I will be starting class six already come this Monday! I can't believe it! Class 6 already! Holy smokes time flies when you're having fun! Anyways, I can't wait to start! But as I said, this post isn't going to be about animation... no, instead it will be about my one week break. lol, I always manage to find something to do on break that isn't.. well let's just say, not so much a good time sometimes and this break was no exception. ;)
(last year on this week break I recall getting my wisdom teeth out and well this year...I can safely say that I out did myself)

Last Friday I went in for double jaw surgery. Why? lol, I honestly don't know... ok, ok, ok, I do know sorta. lol. I got it to correct my bite. Now, from just looking at me beforehand you probably couldn't tell that my bite was off... it wasn't a major over or underbite... I liked to call it a straight on bite. Neither my lower or upper teeth were in front of one another, but instead straight on top and only two of my teeth in my whole entire mouth made contact with each other (two molars way in the back). Anywho, I didn't mind my bite, I have had it my whole entire life after all and I was use to being the last one done at the dinner table... and eating pizza with a fork, avoiding cup of those two were especially hard to eat. Anyways, I didn't mind it and I liked how I looked so why would I ever consider jaw surgery? lol, I didn't.... well, it wasn't on my own accord. My parents were upset that I had spent 4 years in braces and in less than a week my bite had gone back to normal even though I wore my retainer faithfully. It took them at least a year before they could drag me back to the orthodontist after a discussion with the dentist as well... I'll let you know that I didn't go quietly at all.. I put up a lot of kicking and screaming. As far as I'm concerned I would be quite content with my bite the way it was... it wasn't worth wearing braces again. Well somehow they managed to get me in the door and the orthodontist agreed at the major changes my bite had made since I had gotten my braces off. My teeth were still straight they just said that my jaw had grown and that it wasn't my fault so they were willing to correct it and put me back in braces free of charge... free of charge? shoot, that didn't help my argument at all... how could I convince my parents to not let me go through with this again? I couldn't.... so about a year ago I went in to get my wisdom teeth taken out before the dreaded braces were put back on.. and then I went in for records. Turned out that they felt that braces alone couldn't fix my bite, I would need jaw surgery. Wait a sec? Jaw surgery? your joking me? There is no way I'm going in for jaw surgery... braces were a bit of a reach, but jaw surgery? your joking me? I really can live with the bite I have now I don't mind... Well we did a lot of talking and lots of persuading and in the long run they convinced me that it would be worth it. Well, okay. I guess.... but I still wasn't 100% sure... so the braces were put back on and it began.

Right, so as I was saying last Friday is when I went in to get this surgery over with. (scheduled it on a break so it wouldn't interfere with school ;) Well it was completely and udderly miserable. I mean it didn't sound pleasant, but I'm a tough person and I figured.. ya know.. get in get out and get it over with. hahaha well... it turned out to be a bigger deal than that! ;)

I woke up at the crack of dawn Friday morning and arrived at the hospital for my 5:30am 2 hour check-in. That's when the fun began. lol, I received my one size fits no one hospital garb (2XL) hahah I was swimming in it. Anyways, and then I waited around for the blood test and IV thingy majig. I've donated blood before and I have veins that are really easy to find so I shouldn't have been nervous, but I hate needles and I couldn't watch. Then at 7:30am I hugged my mom and dad and went into "the room." (I've never had so much as stitches or a broken bone before, so the whole experience was quite new and intimidating). I had a really great doctor and anesthesiologist though so I knew I was in good hands. I had been told that they normally ask you to count to 10 and that you're out before ya get there... but I didn't even make it to that question. The last thing I remember was them asking me where I went to school. I said "I go to Animation Mentor for character animation." They asked me where I wanted to work... and I had planned on answering "Pixar or some studio like that"... but "Pixar" was the last word out of my mouth and I was out. :)

The recovery room is a blur. I don't really remember it. All I remember are bright lights and loads of people around me and I believe I was throwing up quite a bit. Then I remember all of a sudden being in a room and them asking me to move over onto the bed from the wheely cart. My parents came in before I knew it and I was still pretty out of it and throwing up I think. They seemed quite concerned because I guess that I was in ICU instead of a normal hospital room. The nurses said that was standard procedure with jaw surgery patients, but they didn't know that I would be in ICU beforehand and were a little upset no one had told them.

The surgery had only been 2 hours and I was in the recovery room for 2 hours. I slept quite a bit when I got into my room, but when I did wake up I had no strength to open my eye lids... so I just pretended to be sleeping. The last time I was in ICU I was standing by my grandpa's bed as he passed away... memories from that made me remember how we had talked to him like he could hear us even with his eyes closed... and now I am so glad we did, because you really can hear everybody talk when you're in there and they don't think you're listening. Anyways.... I did pretty well later that afternoon, I took a quick glance in my mom's mirror to see how funny and swollen I was and I also communicated via pen and paper. I even felt well enough to eat. However, I was banned to a clear liquid diet for the first 24 hrs. so I couldn't have a milkshake. :( My mom ordered me some apple juice, chicken broth, and jello though. Everything tasted delicious and went quite well... until I realized that it all left a horrible after taste in my mouth and my teeth were rubber banded together. I had a suction thing by me, but that could only get out the stuff in front of my teeth. Anyways, that night was horrible... by far the longest night I've ever experienced. First off the hospital bed was super uncomfortable! I was tired but I could only go back 30 degrees in the bed they wouldn't let me lay all the way down, so my tail bone was killing me. They were also pumping so much liquid through my IV since I wasn't eating that I had to go to the bathroom constantly and that wasn't fun. Worst of all though... I felt incredibly nauseas. I could have easily put up with the rest, but the nausea was murder. I shouldn't go into detail, lol, but I've literally never seen anything like it.. so if you're queasy skip to the next paragraph... but at 1am I all of a sudden threw up so much blood and it went all the way to the foot board of my bed and filled up 3 of their plastic containers... it was nasty. I had to change my gown and sheets and everything. They decided to ban me from jello so they could tell the difference between it and blood. I didn't particularly feel like eating anyways so I didn't mind... but the jello was my favorite out of everything. The worst thing was though that my teeth had been rubber banded shut during this whole ordeal, so just like earlier with the bad taste in my mouth I had a super hard time getting the new taste out of my mouth. I felt miserable. Not long after I had another episode, however, it wasn't near as bad except I couldn't stop convulsing and shivering and my monitors were going crazy. I spiked a fever and my nurse was worried that I could get liquid in my lungs and get pneumonia. Luckily I was fine after that and nothing else went too horribly wrong. (btw all the nurses I had were incredibly awesome)! My surgeon visited at 6 in the morning and cut off the rubber bands holding my teeth together and we were free to leave. hahaha and I was wheel chaired out of the hospital after jaw surgery, I thought that was pretty funny.

We were staying with my Uncle since I had a follow up appointment 5 days later. I slept for a great deal of it in his recliner (which was greatly welcomed after the hospital bed, much much more comfy..well for the first 3 days anyways). I quickly exhausted my whole collection of Pixar movies that I had brought with me to re-watch for something to do. I had taken my laptop and a book to read, but I never did get enough energy to ever read anything or work on animation. My mom and dad were so wonderful! They took turns sleeping downstairs on the couch with me and waking up every 2 hours to change the ice in my ice pack that wrapped so nicely around my head. I actually didn't mind the ice pack too much at first... but I started hating trying to sleep with it. The recovery wasn't painful at all.. just kinda uncomfortable I guess. Everything from my chin up to my eyes (except my nose) is numb.. and I heard that this lasts for about 6 months and sometimes it's permanent. I'm not worried about it being permanent though since I'm young and my chances are better, plus no place on my face is totally numb... I mean I can feel when things touch it sorta, it just feels plain odd. I was really regretting having gone through with the surgery in those early days of recovery. "why the heck did I do that?" was the most common question running through my head. Then I decided that I was stuck and couldn't undo anything so I would just have to deal with it and move forward. The self pitty didn't last long, because I thought "if this is the worst experience I've ever been through (which it was) than I am truly lucky to have such a wonderful life." Many people have been through much greater atrocities than that. I wasn't expecting to be so nauseas, but 2 or 3 days after surgery when my swelling peaked I felt awful and threw up some more. Once the nausea went away though everything else was much easier to handle. When my swelling peaked I think that I looked like John McCain.... Anyways, my appetite came back about 4 days after surgery and the commercials on tv for food were driving me nuts. I couldn't wait for my appointment the next day to see how long I had to be on liquids.

Oy, turns out that the orders are not to eat any food that has to be chewed for 8 weeks! 8 weeks! What? That's a whole 2 months! :( If I would've known that bit of information beforehand I think I would've really considered not doing this surgery more. I love chips and salsa and sour gummy worms and food! I miss food! Anywho, November 14th is the day to look forward to. On November 14th I will feast like never before! I tried to eat as much as I could before the surgery to try and gain weight, because those of you who know me know I'm not too large to begin with.. in fact I'm muy pequeno. Well... one week later I have already lost 5 lbs. my goal is to not lose anymore. Oh, and my swelling has gone down so much I almost look normal now... now it just looks like I got my wisdom teeth out. I can't wait for all the swelling to go away! Oh, and I can't wait for the feeling to come back, especially in my lower lip. (I make quite a mess eating, but that's also because my mouth doesn't open too far yet either). One really annoying thing I didn't expect is that when you sleep and you're whole face is numb.. you drool... and it's really gross, I hate it and can't wait for that to go away.

Oh, but I forgot to talk about the appointment 5 days later. They took new x rays to see how the surgery came out and to show me what all they did and it was super interesting. My dad counted like 16 or 17 screws I now have holding my head together! They ended up cutting my chin bone and pulling it apart to align my bite sideways or something like that and make my chin wider? I didn't know they were going to do that, so that was a surprise. I now have a plate and screws holding that together until it grows back together. They also broke my lower jaw on both sides and scooted it forward, so 4 screws on each side hold that together. I only have stitches a little bit on the outside so they could get those screws back there at the right angle. Then they cut my gums or something along the top front to slide my palette forward or something? I have a number of plates and screws holding that up and they stitched it closed on the inside. Anyways, they said it's basically like any other broken bones in the body and will take 8 weeks to heal, so they don't want me to ruin it or off set it by biting and chewing or lifting heavy objects... so now I have 1 week and 2 days down... only about 7 more to go! btw... as each day goes by I get considerably better and now I'm super happy I went through with it. My bite looks like it's perfect now and I've never felt my teeth come together like this.. I really can't wait to try it out!

I doubt very many people, if anybody will read this since it's so long winded... but I really wanted to write about it since it was such a big experience and it just kept coming and coming and I kept typing and typing. :)

Thanks so much to everybody that has been here for me! You guys are all incredibly awesome and I love you all very much!
(lol, and my siblings know me all too well... I got some really cool Pixar stickers and I also got a Po stuff toy from Kung Fu Panda that talks when you hit or throw him) I'm having so much fun with him!

Anyways, until next time!
Teresa over and out ;)

1 comment:

Dhar said...

Now I wish I didn't read about your ordeal - I am squeamish and the words screws, plates, and stuff in the jaw...well, let's just say I'm glad I wasn't reading this standing up - ugh!

I really don't know wy you had this surgery, you looked fine to me. I think that's how hospitals make a living, by convincing you that there is something terribly wrong with you. I'd ask for some refund from your parents - that's just unacceptable.

Can doctors make your lower jaw move like that alien creature in Predetor? That'd be so cool ;o)

Well, I hope you get well soon - and take a picture of you drooling ;o)

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