Still too early to tell, technically, but I’m hopeful.
The surgery itself went well. The doctor had to put in a few more screws on one side because my bones are old and brittle. Old bones means it will also take me longer to heal, but that’s to be expected. In what ways does your body not work against you as you get older? Presently it is 4:23 a.m., and I am writing this blog post because it will distract me from the searing pain that cannot be alleviated by narcotics. It’s not always like this. Just during the night, when I’m trying to sleep. During the day, pain comes and goes. Discomfort, on the other hand, is always with me. It’s not debilitating, just demoralizing. Like, now that it’s been a week and I’m allowed to bend at the waist and am not constantly on narcotics, there’s no particular reason why I can’t do the laundry and the dishes and other household chores, except that I don’t feel like it. I don’t know all the “medical” crap that’s going on, but there’s some temporary nerve damage that will take some time to repair. Probably more time because my nerves are old and frayed. Ha ha. That might be a joke, or it might be totally accurate. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. What I do know is that my entire lower jaw feels like it’s asleep. I can’t feel my lower lip, which actually presents a few daily challenges. Perhaps you can imagine what those are.
That’s uncomfortable. And there’s intermittent pain of varying degrees. It’s unpleasant, but manageable. Until I try to go to sleep, at which point it is extremely distracting. If I’m lucky, I manage to fall asleep before the horrible searing pain starts in. Well, the horrible searing pain wakes me up, but at least I’ve slept a little first. It’s very similar to the pain of an ear infection. Heck, it could be an ear infection for all I know. I really can’t tell. But it’s the horrible searing ear-infection pain plus the horrible dull ache of a jaw that’s been broken and put back together and was exercised too much during the day by doing things like talking, swallowing, opening and closing in order to brush teeth and spit out toothpaste, etc. Nothing touches it. It lasts for a couple, three hours, and then it eventually goes away and all that’s left is my sweet Percocet haze. That’s when I go to sleep. Until then, I just watch Law & Order: SVU and play Spider Solitaire to distract me from the pain. Unfortunately, I can’t read through the pain. Think of all the reading I could get done by not sleeping. But alas.
In other news, I have lost the will to eat. This was what I expected. I didn’t expect to be quite so demoralized by it. I don’t want to eat. I am not tempted to eat anything I ought not because the thought of using my jaw to do anything makes me want to cry. But I didn’t quite realize how not eating would make my life seem so empty. I’m not hungry. Not at all. I have to make myself eat things I don’t want to be eating. But without food, my existence really is quite barren. It’s funny. I’ve joked about these things in the past, but it turns out to be actually true. I would cry, but that would take away the one immediate benefit this surgery has given me: I can breathe much easier now. That’s to be expected, I guess, when you increase your airway by a centimeter. But it’s really quite remarkable. I never realized how compromised my airway was before because that was all I knew. For 44 years I was merely breathing, but now I am BREATHING.
This is why I paid someone to break my jaw and put it back together. Among other things, but those are to be fully realized in the future. For now it’s mainly breathing.
I see the doctor again tomorrow. The swelling has gone down considerably in the last week. I went from looking like Jabba the Hutt to looking like Marlon Brando in the Godfather, but as of now I basically look like Fat Batman. So no, the cosmetic benefits, if there are any, have not yet been realized. But we shall see, gentle readers. We shall see.
Now my pain has gone away and I’m going to fall asleep, if I can possibly ignore whatever stupid bird is chirping outside my window.