Wednesday morning I went under the dental knife making use of Tony Abbot and Campbell Newman’s money while I still can. As our fears grow with impeding budget cuts, as did mine while I sat in the waiting room watching Sunrise and hating every second of today’s TV journalism. It’s probably not a good idea to raise your heart rate before going into surgery, but at least I know for next time. And there will be a next time.
“You can officially tell your friends your teeth have become ‘worst case scenario’. These are some of the toughest I’ve seen,” my Doctor explained as I looked at the X-rays of all 4 impacted wisdom teeth, the bottom of which cutting into the nerve line in my jaw. Well aware of the risks – loss of feeling in the cheek, jaw, lip and nose; a tear between connecting the mouth and sinuses; infection and blood clotting; and the incredibly rare circumstance of death – I went into the chair and hoped for nothing more than some damn relief!
I was not allowed to go under with General Anaesthetic, instead I lay awake hearing everything with Local Anaesthetic as they cut open the gums, drilled into the teeth and tried to shatter the bone. I bled. With a hose in my mouth, it was not enough to collect the amount of blood that spilled out of my mouth and onto the bib and sheet they had me covered in. I felt each grab of tooth fragments as they tried to turn and pull the tooth out, and I heard them drill into the jaw bone to let the tooth loose completely.
Following orders, I pushed my head against as they angled fragments out of my mouth and controlled the bleeding. Then, well into the surgery I was told they would only be able to do half of my face as the teeth are so complex and as the doctor eloquently explained, “stubborn”. I left the surgery feeling fine, other than numb and a little sleepy. I walked to the pharmacy and caught the train home with Timothy feeling fine. About 30 minutes after coming home, when I was due to take 2 different kinds of strong pain killers and antibiotics, everything hit me.
I was woozy, sleepy, overwhelmed, nauseous, my head was throbbing and I just wanted to cry. I was in too much pain to sleep and required to sit upright to avoid infection. Every movement exhausted me, and my already sick body was not handling the pain well at all. On a liquid diet for 3 days, the first 2 days were awful. I would sleep and wake up okay, only to sit up and need to throw up. Nothing, not even water, would sit in my stomach and poor Timothy watched on as I vomited everything he fetched me, and writhed in pain on the bed, but refused to see a doctor shrugging it off as nothing bad considering my recent tendencies to vomit.
I couldn’t talk, could hardly walk and every time I threw up I opened the wound and spent an hour spitting blood afterwards. My face swelled like a chipmunk and I couldn’t close my mouth properly for 2 days after the surgery. Yesterday, over 3 days after the surgery, I still threw up. I still struggle with solid food and my face is still swollen. Now, the bruising is coming through and the left side of my face is a beautiful puss green colour. The painkillers still upset my stomach and I’m on bed rest again with a hot water bottle on my stomach, as orders from Timothy after yesterday he witnessed the colour completely leave my face, my legs begin spasming and my face re-swell before his eyes as I began to feel worse.
For me, the worst part is not being able to do anything – I hate not being in control and time wasting more than anything…the past 5 days have been hard!
My top tips for Wisdom Teeth and/or Jaw Surgery (that I will hopefully follow myself come June 4):
1. Rest. As much as you can. The more you rest the sooner you will get better and the easier the recovery will be. Stock yourself up on TV shows or video games, your head will hurt too much to read (Facebook is only good in moderation, and study is a complete NO-NO).
2. If you’re not feeling 100% – don’t push yourself! If, like me, you’re too keen to get back to normalcy, make sure you’re really up to it, or you’ll find yourself back in bed rest with a re-swollen face and bigger bruising than you expected.
3. Eat healthy. As much as you can. Although you will be on a complete puree and liquid diet ensure you’re getting nutrients in there or your body won’t be able to recover. Drink plenty of water to keep your fluids up and try having something like a smoothy or fruit yogurt to keep energy levels on the rise.
4. Have someone around to help you. I wouldn’t have survived the past 5 days without Timothy. From getting all my meals, to holding me up in the shower, he has gone above and beyond boyfriend duties and supported me completely. Every morning he has checked in to see if he slept through any vomiting, stomach pains or if I had enough sleep. He insists I eat (even when I don’t want to), making sure I take all my medication. The first time we tried to do something he was able to hold my arms as soon as it became too exhausting and guided me home. He’s stayed on top of my chores (for the most part) giving me more time to relax, and get better. Without someone else around, I would not have gotten through the last few days. As I type this sentence he came into the room to check if he could get me anything – what a gem.
5. Document what happens. Whether it is telling someone else, or writing it down, keep track of how you’re feeling when you feel it. That way, you know if you need more fluid, food or rest. If anything goes wrong during the recovery you then have a detailed analysis to give to a doctor ensuring the fastest treatment for you.
Now, I get to wait another 4.5 weeks to do it all again on the right side of my jaw. Hooray…