Friday, March 23, 2007

So Here's the Latest - 23 March 2007

To recap ... the day after the surgery (Wednesday, 14 March 2007) the Surgeons decided to use tight elastic bands because it appeared that my jaw muscles wanted to "pull" my lower jaw into a different position than the one it should be in.

This past Wednesday I had my first post-surgery appointment with the Surgeons. During the appointment they removed the elastics and, I kid you not, I literally felt my lower jaw drop open. It was kind of like the slack-jawed response you sometimes see people give when they've witnessed something they just can't believe. I'd say it was no more than 1/4 inch or so, no pain, no problems whatsoever. It just surprised me a tad and made me want to hold my lower jaw closed with a free hand for a bit until I was sure the blasted thing worked properly.

As I said previously, the Surgeon said they were going not going to replace the elastics because they wanted to see if the bite held the correct position without them ... she said that was their normal method although almost all of the other post-surgery accounts I've come across this is not done. They took more digital x-rays, set me up with an appointment for the following Wednesday (I've got a standing appointment every Wednesday for six weeks post-surgery) and I was on my way.

Well, it took less than one day for the lower jaw to move back into the same position it was in the first morning after surgery. Now, both the upper and lower mid-lines are in alignment with each other, the lower jaw appears to be in the correct position relative to the upper jaw ... the only thing is that the only teeth currently touching are one or two molars (hard to say how many due to the residual swelling) on the right side. I called the Surgeon Thursday morning (22 March 2007) and they set me up for an appointment first thing this morning (Friday, 23 March 2007).

So I leave the house at 5:30 this morning, two hours early due to the notoriously bad Northern Virginia / Washington DC traffic, and wouldn't you know it, there wasn't any traffic! I actually arrived at the hospital right around 6:15 am. I'd rather be early than late but my appointment wasn't until 7:30 am. I was in time, however, to speak with one of yesterday's surgery patients who was getting his morning after check-up / x-rays ... well, I did the speaking and he, because he had both upper and lower jaw surgery, just kinda looked at me. I told him to hang in there, that it was all down hill from here, that the swelling and discomfort were all temporary, and that it would all be behind him before he knew it.

I finally get in to see the Surgeon and, after a bit of consultation with the Chief Surgeon, they decided to take more x-rays and leave the elastic bands off for the weekend. I do, however, have another appointment Monday morning (26 March 2007) and this time I expect it'll be a meeting between me, the Surgeons and the Orthodontist (he's co-located in the same area in the hospital) in order to determine exactly what is going on and the best course(s) of action to take.

So here's what I think may be the issue:

1) My jaw muscles need to be "retrained" and I'll go back into elastics on Monday; or,

2) My lower jaw is in the proper position and the orthodontist (once he's been given the go-ahead to continue treatment) will do his magic to realign the possibly wayward molar(s); or,

3) *this one really concerns me* The Surgeons may have incorrectly decided I didn't need to have the upper jaw surgery and will now have to go back and widen the upper jaw (either with a SARPE device or a Lefort I procedure). I imagine the Orthodontist might be able to still realign the molars if this is the case so maybe surgery won't be needed.
On a positive note -- I can now drink liquids using a regular glass. I'll hang on to the Zip-N-Squeeze bags for now though ... just in case.


Aixa said...

Bill, lets hope for the positive stuff. I don't know what the SARPE or Lefort I procedure entail but I wouldn't think it would be fun. So now that the elastics are off for the weekend you should have a better time sleeping. How is laying flat? Do you still need the inclinded position?

Alice said...

Well, I'm with Aixa hoping for the positive, but we know that your jaw will want to go back where it used to be. I will pray that the doctors know the best plan for you and in the meantime, enjoy the freedom of being band-free. Danny really feels your pain with the breathing suffocation problem. He has had every bone in his face broken several times and he goes thru the same problems. Sleep well brother and I will talk to you later. I love you.

Kristen said...

Cross that bridge when you come to it. Take it easy this weekend and see what happens on Monday. There's nothing you can do in the interim anyway. Hopefully it's just something minor that they can fix easily.

None of my molars touch right now - they're telling me it's something my ortho will help adjust and fix. So maybe it's common (the gaps between teeth)?

Bill said...

Yeah, no use worrying about it. So far my bite seems to be maintaining the same position so I'm thinking it's an issue for the Orthodontist rather than the Surgeons.

Bill said...

Hey there Aixa.

Yup, still sleeping in the inclined position because I still have swelling. They say to sleep with your head elevated (at least above the heart) to try and limit the amount of blood that flows to the area ... less blood equals less swelling.

I'm hoping that within the next week or so I can go back to sleeping in a flat position. Can't wait until they give me the go-ahead to start sleeping on my side again!

Mrs. Shanton said...

Hey, Bill. Per your question over at my blog, I started using my Water Pik at about a month after surgery, or when most of my stitches had come out. I didn't want to blast open my suture line. EW! Maybe a marine could handle that? But not me. Anyway, I do like that li'l thing. My OD told me it was ok to use, not as good as flossing, but better than not flossing. Flossing is a pain with braces. Water Piks are fun.

Mrs. Shanton said...

By the way, YOU look awesome! What a difference. You look younger.
An' I'm not even trying to get anything from you!