Thursday, 7 March 2013

Recovery from Plate & Screw Removal


The first day after surgery was quite hard. The swelling started to develop and I had really bad tension around my head, jaw, neck and shoulders. Anytime I moved I had intense stabbing and throbbing pain around my whole upper body. I had managed to get some sleep on and off through the night. However, the level of pain and the stinging of the top palette was worrying me. I did not want to get an infection or to have my palette or jaw dislocate. Mum called Mr Matthews who advised that it was unlikely to be an infection or anything sinister and booked me an appointment to see him on 24th December.

Later on in the day mum helped me to have a bath and I used a rolled up towel behind my neck to support it. I was on maximum pain relief every 4 hours and was using ice packs and heat packs. My Aunt Denise popped around after but I was too rough to see her. I heard her saying to mum she was disgusted about what was being said on the internet about me and that she was going to report it. The pain situation was then made worse when I started crying. As you all know when having any type of face surgery the worst thing you can do is cry or over use the muscles. I got myself into a right state, mainly due to a number of evil, spiteful and nasty people. But that will be covered another time. Just know that it would not stop me from sharing my story or helping others. In fact you all did me a favour because now I am even more determined to succeed and can see that you are all nasty people who have nothing better to do than bully and intimidate people whilst they are defenceless.

I did not eat on the first day after surgery and just stuck to water in the plastic cup. I use plastic cups as I find it easier to guide into my mouth. I have permanent lower lip and chin numbness and after this surgery both my lips were numb. Additional to this, using heavy cups after surgery can cause pain on your lips or put pressure on your jaw. By day 3 after surgery I managed to have half a cup of soup and litres of water. Whoever says you can eat a normal diet after plate removal has obviously never had the surgery themselves. I was rinsing my mouth every 4 hours and alternating salt water rinses with Corsodyl medicated mouth wash. My teeth were really sensitive and the gums were obviously sore where the stitches were. I could not brush my teeth for the first 2 days. By day 3 I could brush lightly with a soft baby tooth brush. I also managed to put my retainers in for 4 hours. YAY!

By day 3 my muscles were still as rigid in my head, back, shoulders and neck, so mum massaged them using a moisturiser. This gave me great relief and I was able to get comfortable. I was still able to sleep on and off and use my phone for short bursts. My friends Sam and Mehmood were really supportive at this time and it helped to distract me from the feelings of hurt and disappointment of my other “friend’s” vile behaviour. During this day I had a hair wash and mum helped to dry my hair. It was good to wash out all of the iodine left over from the operation and to scrub off the monitor sticker marks. Some bruising had appeared but it was not too drastic. With this operation the swelling mainly resided in my neck and cheek areas. The stitch ends had started to drop down and were quite annoying dangling in my mouth. I knew not to touch them or otherwise I would be back up the hospital. I noticed that I had a bundle of skin/gum on my upper right of my mouth and I was concerned that the scarring would not be as neat this time.

By day 4 I was on a soft food diet of mash potato and other delightful wonders. However, due to the pure codeine I felt physically sick. I presume my stomach would have shrunk from the lack of food for the past 4 days. I decided by day 5 to go back onto my usual plastic coated cocodomol tablets. I have taken cocodomol in various doses since I developed extreme unexplained facial pain in 2010. So I had plenty of these pills in stock. With every day that passed I could see improvements and the recovery. I was still using hot and cold packs. However, the cold packs had started to cause nerve pain so I stopped these on day 5 and just stuck to the heat packs. The bruising and swelling had increased and my hair started to fall out. The exact same thing had happened in my first surgery. I was worried about losing all of my hair this time as it had not fully grown back from before.

On day 5 I was still having massages to help the tension in the muscles. I tried rice and curry on this day but the texture was not nice and the rice was too hard. I needed softer food. I really craved Bombay potato or saag paneer but I was too lazy to make it myself. Instead I stuck to cake and custard…. Not exactly the healthiest diet. In total I lost 6lbs with this surgery. Again, this was not as dramatic as my first surgery. This was attributed to the fact the recovery is more speedy and I was able to eat a soft food diet much quicker.  I could already see an improvement after this surgery. I felt a lot less restricted in my breathing and I could feel the difference with the plates and screws removed. I went for a walk around the block with mum and the cold did not hurt or sting my face as it did before. My friend Aashbir and her mum came to visit me and I was trying my hardest not to laugh or pull on my internal wounds. I was also able to bath and dress myself today and had a relatively good day.

By day 6 there was a little set back and I was feeling congested. I was scared of getting a cold and worried that it would set off more sinus infections. I felt really tired and drained. I decided to take Sudafed decongestant and I still use my Karvol capsules every night. My bottom jaw really hurt today but I was hoping this was due to over use when I was laughing and chatting to Aash the day before. I was still taking maximum pain relief.

1 week post operation I decided to go on to the laptop but suffered with pain later. I had a sandwich for the first time and really enjoyed it. But my face and shoulders really hurt. Later on my top palette was really painful and mum suggested that it could be the bread and the motions of breaking down the sandwich which had caused too much pressure on the jaws. I was still on maximum pain relief, using hot packs and mum was giving me a massage every day. Spoilt or what?

On day 8 I woke up in more pain and my cheeks, under eye area and palette really hurt. It felt like a sinus infection and I was extremely worried.  If it was another sinus infection, I might have to have more investigations and surgery. I decided to go on a bread free diet and stick to soft foods only for a while. By the next day it had improved a bit and I managed to wash and dry my own hair. To the average person that does not seem a lot but to a jaw surgery patient or someone suffering from facial pain or muscular issues this is a huge achievement.

On week 2 I was still on a soft food diet and rationing my bread intake. I had to drive to the doctors to pick up my prescription and this was quite tough on my neck muscles and face. I was proud I did it though. I was still taking the usual pain relief, heat packs and massages. Recovery seemed to have slowed down and I started to get frustrated with myself. I think after any surgery there is a point where you have a down and wonder when you will start to see improvement. In my case normally 2 weeks after surgery. I am really hard on myself and put a lot of pressure on myself to get better and be on the same level as other people who have had this surgery. You will often see me commenting on the internet groups and on twitter telling people that every case is unique and not everyone is so quick to recover and to be patient and go with what your body is telling you to do. But the saying “practice what you preach” never seems to apply when it is your own case hehe. I know it is true and really should take this fully on board and put it into perspective. My surgery was successful in terms of achieving the goal of removing all the plates and screws and I was safe and well. Nothing bad had happened. I was just being stubborn and wanted to run before I could walk (so to speak) or a better analogy swallow before I could chew.

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